Don’t Blame the Culture for Being an A-hole! | Tolero Solutions
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Don’t Blame the Culture for Being an A-hole!

Don’t Blame the Culture for Being an A-hole!

Richie Incognito, Jonathan MartinSo by now you may have heard the news regarding Miami Dolphins offensive guard (ironic position to play for a guy who is so – offensive) Richie Incognito, suspended for his racist slurs toward fellow teammate Jonathan Martin.

In addition to the racist slurs allegations emerged that Incognito had been bullying Martin and threatening him with him not just racist voicemails but homophobic texts – way to be a role model buddy! One of his messages to Martin – and you’ll excuse my non PG language, however I’m taking the quote verbatim…

“ Hey, wassup, you half-nigger piece of shit. I saw you on Twitter, you been training 10 weeks. [I want to] shit in your fucking mouth. [I’m going to] slap your fucking mouth. [I’m going to] slap your real mother across the face [laughter]. Fuck you, you’re still a rookie. I’ll kill you.”

In a recent interview Incognito deflected his actions and accountability by blaming the culture – the culture of the NFL is to blame for his stupidity and poor judgment– lame excuse! Now, as an avid football fan, I understand the NFL has a culture all to its own – however “the culture” itself is no excuse for an individual, and public figure, to act like such a – well A-hole! Many media outlets are even reporting that Martin is a wimp, a coward, and not a tough guy for not sticking up for himself and challenging Incognito’s behavior. Perhaps he should’ve spoke up, told Incognito where to shove it, and handled the situation directly – though that doesn’t change the fact this type of behavior – which even requires retaliation of any kind – is deemed “ok” within NFL culture.

That being said, this is a great example of how the culture of an organization can perpetuate certain poor and negative behaviors. It’s also a great refresher of what makes for a high performing culture:


As an Organization Development and Culture practitioner, I’ve seen firsthand the impacts culture can have on a business, both positive and negative. For your business to succeed you can’t maintain a “locker room” culture. I mean really, even if you want your team to succeed it’s a bad idea – just look at the Miami Dolphins standing in the AFC East – I’m pretty sure the culture and team dynamics are a contributing factor. Here’s hoping that most of you desire to be part of creating a high performance culture (see our checklist for tips on how) –and strive to create and maintain an organization where people feel they can be themselves and give their all to help the organization succeed!

Oh, and I can’t close without adding my personal 2 cents…leadership, culture, and team dynamics issues aside…an A-hole is just an A-hole…and Incognito…well…you get the gist!

About Scott Span, MSOD: is CEO & Lead Consultant of Tolero Solutions – an Organizational Improvement & Strategy firm.  He helps clients in facilitating sustainable growth by connecting and maximizing  people –> performance –> profit™, creating organizations that are more responsive, productive and profitable.


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