Apparently, we all miscalculated our response to Dennis Rodman’s recent trip to North Korea. It seems that crazy is contagious, or at the very least empowering, as reports spread stating North Korea’s desire to “engulf Washington DC in a sea of fire.” So, what do you do?



Use a stretch in the imagination to picture Kim Jung-il as a “problem” employee. Because of his unpredictable and volatile reputation, he’s mostly left alone by those stationed around him, albeit within certain parameters, i.e. “don’t attack anyone.” The United Nations Security Council will play the part of Human Resources ~ they continue to tighten the parameters incrementally in an attempt to rationalize with an irrational employee. Three and four different “warning” messages are sent to emphasize the seriousness of the situation. The result of each is to see the “employee” gradually turn a deeper shade of red. Now the employee is threatening to bring a bazooka to the workplace.

What do you do? It’s obviously a highly flawed comparison, but it does strike a chord with me as it relates to enabling behaviors. The more bizarre and unsettling the employee, sometimes the less likely he/she is to actually be confronted (or terminated…it’s still a metaphor, remember) about their behavior. “Memos” are sent. Written warnings are delivered. Second, third, and fourth chances are given; I can’t be the only Human Resources veteran to have heard a manager (or HR colleague) exclaim “I just don’t want to be on his list.” At what point is the continued behavior no longer tolerated?

Or, maybe, we’re missing the obvious & creative solution ~ call Dennis Rodman.

John “Whit” Whitaker is the Founder of the HR Hardball™ movement. 

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