The football world online was thrown into a tizzy this week when the NY Football Giants traded away Odell Beckham Jr. (OBJ), their star wide receiver whom they just signed to a massive long-term contract. Most were shocked, and couldn’t understand what happened. After all, you don’t generally sign someone to a $90,000,000 five year deal and then trade them one year into it. The comments about General Manager Dave Gentleman and the Giants were relentless.

“The Giant’s are crazy.”…”Gettleman should be fired.”…”I can’t understand their plan.”

And my personal favorite “#LongLiveDaveGettleman”….written by a rival team’s fan page.

While the Giants have made some questionably horrible moves this past week, this one perplexed me as a business owner and not a sports fan. After all, they are losing so much money on this deal. How could the very traditional and deliberate acting ownership allow it? There had to be more to it, right?

The press was decidedly against this deal on every level. Then, a couple of days later, some articles started discussing how Odell was a on-field distraction with his antics and the team had just gotten tired of it. How OBJ had supposedly said “FU” to his coach twice in one game last year. How he threw his QB under the bus in a recent interview. How the three highest paid (and arguably biggest prima donna) wide receivers in the NFL have 22 seasons among them and zero super bowl wins. All of a sudden, the discussion had shifted and it made me think of my practice teams over the last 27 years and my willingness to “trade” a superstar, prima donna employee when they weren’t acting in a way I needed.

However, unlike the general manager of an NFL team, we’re often afraid to let go of an employee who might be hurting our culture. When I was a younger practice owner, I operated from a position of fear. I was fearful to let someone go because they seemed too valuable. It would hurt my practice. They meant too much to the office operations.

Nonsense.

Nobody in your practice is too valuable. Culture and teamwork are the number one priority for long-term happiness and productivity. Nobody is above that.

That employee who feels they may know it all, who has done all the ordering, or tracks all the lab cases or scans faster than the rest but has openly displayed hostility or undermines your authority must go no matter how valuable you think they may be. No, another 15 conversations won’t change it. No, you’ve given them enough chances. Yes, you CAN go on without them. You’ll actually thrive without them and it should a simple decision. As the old saying goes: “There is no ‘I’ in ‘Team’.”

So, maybe the NY Giants ARE in freefall and maybe trading OBJ will turn out to be a huge mistake. In the end, I don’t really care. But, if we use this moment as an opportunity to examine our own handling of our practice teams, and a chance to upgrade our practice culture, that would be an amazing thing.

So, don’t drop the ball on this one.

All the best,

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