To business majors out there planning to run and own a business one day: I advise that you take advantage of one prime example made public recently of how not to run an organization.
The following is a list of things to avoid when conducting a business venture, particularly if you are constantly in the public eye.
If you are privileged enough to be hired to run an organization with a rich tradition, the first thing you would want to do is make sure that you don’t do anything that would derail the successful standard which your predecessors have already established, both financially and morally.
If you are looking for the example of a former first-class organization that has become a laughing-stock among other professional organizations, look no further than the New York Knicks.
Financially, having the highest payroll in comparison to other organizations while producing the lowest result is a problem.
However, that problem can be solved by hiring quality leadership, such as a dedicated president or general manager. You would want to hire someone who has a history of rebuilding an organization. The first mistake made by the company was to hire Isiah Thomas as the president of basketball operations.
Hiring someone with a documented history of not getting along with coworkers to run your organization could result in that person’s negative energy infecting your organization like a virus.
Furthermore, any high-quality people already in the organization and capable of making positive contributions would be at risk of being excommunicated. Hall of Fame coaches Larry Brown and Lenny Wilkens shared such fate with the Knicks under Thomas. The treatment has led to difficulties for the Knicks in finding consistent lower-level management at the coaching position.
Another concern is building your organization around a staff cornerstone known for having poor work habits.
This led to the Knicks’ second failure: Stephon Marbury.
Marbury is very talented at his job, but his attitude and work ethic at the price he commands is among one of the most disparate differences in sports. When your senior-level staff worker sets such a low standard of excellence, that attitude filters into your younger middle and
The next thing you should acknowledge is that your work environment has become a circus act.
The faulty president, Thomas, has traits similar to the underachieving senior-level staff. He spends his free time socializing with players and other staff. Because of the personal relationship between the management and the players, implementing any kind of discipline becomes difficult.
Your future company president, because of poor performance, could be forced into doing lower-level management duties, in addition to his front office duties. Similarly, Thomas finds himself taking on additional work, such as coaching the team.
This leads to destruction from within.
Thomas has also been involved in a public sexual harassment scandal, which implicated other staff members engaging in inappropriate behavior. The Knicks’ highest-paid staff member, who is married, had sex with an intern in the back of his SUV. Then, when the authority figure finally wanted to implement some long-overdue discipline, the staff member who had been buddy-buddy with the authority figure allegedly threatened to tell all about their scandalous extra-marital activities if he didn’t get his way.
These situations are most likely coming to light because Thomas, as the president of a company, never established defined standards for appropriate behavior between employees on every level.
I guess the No. 1 lesson to learn from this issue is not to mix business with pleasure.
Ryan Watson is a graduate student majoring in mass communications