There’s a statute in the legal community referred to as “fruit of the poisonous tree” that states that evidence gathered with the assistance of illegally obtained information must be excluded from trial. Simply put…once something is established as “bad” – everything from that point forward, as a whole, is also bad.

I believe this principle applies to business and leadership equally as well. Once leadership goes “bad” – all that comes from that will eventually fail. John Maxwell puts it like this, “everything rises and falls on leadership” – therefore, if you’ve got bad leadership…the culture within your organization will follow suit. I firmly believe it’s impossible for an organization to be successful under “poisonous” leadership. You simply won’t win. Period. And no matter where the breakdown occurs…it affects everything from that point. It doesn’t always mean that the person at the top is the problem…but it’s absolutely the person at the top’s responsibility to recognize the issues and make adjustments accordingly.

It’s not to say that an organization with bad leadership can’t have good people, but that organization won’t have good people for very long. You don’t have to worry about the bad employees turning the good ones into bad…the bad employees will simply run your good people off. Remember: people don’t quit companies…people quit people. The best thing you could ever do for your best employees is eliminate the bad ones.

No matter the tchotchke your company sells (cars, TVs, medical devices, or ham sandwiches) your only true appreciable asset is people that make up your organization.

Think of it like this…if you’re a car dealership, the sales people’s product are the cars. However, the sales managers’ product are the sales people!

Avoid the “fruit of the poisonous tree” by committing yourself to not only doing what is right for your business, but more importantly, doing what is right for your people. Hire good people, invest in them, treat them well, and they’ll see to it that your company is successful.