How Your Best Employees are Hurting Your Business


It sounds counter intuitive, but such is the nature of life: things change. In a recent piece, the notion that your very best employees, the ones who have stuck with you since the very beginning and helped make all your progress and success possible, are actually the ones who are holding you back.

Sort of. And maybe.

There are no universal truths in this world, so, don’t think you have to go discipline or fire your best workers. That’d be dumb. The problem identifies is the tendency for the people who white-knuckled it with you for years to bristle at changes that regulate the business. Stuff like requiring everyone to fill out the same forms. To sit in the same meetings. To be treated as an equal to the newest, youngest, greenest pup to join the fold. calls them Maverick Big Dogs. And these particular dogs can spread rabies, well, rabidly: 

Because at their worst, MBD's don't just buckle down and work through the new situation they find themselves in. Instead, they rankle at the process-driven, cross-functional approach that’s required. They cavil, whine, whinge, complain, undermine, and generally make life difficult for everyone working with and around them. They cause dissension, build an insurgent group of like-minded people and force onto the organization a ‘them and us’ mindset.

So, it’s definitely something to think about as you grow your company. If you don’t want to lose and alienate your best people – or, worse, have them alienate your people – keep an eye on it as you’re all coming up together.

If they pose a threat or a problem, well, has a suggestion that’s pretty sound: Let them off the leash.

David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.

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