Environmental science project manager Ian Bartoszek and biologist Ian Easterling were walking through the Florida Everglades this past December when they heard a rustling in the bushes. What they found was a shocking discovery. The team found an 18-foot Burmese python weighing a remarkable 215lbs. This was the largest invasive species ever caught in America, shattering the previous record of 140lbs. It took their team 20 minutes to apprehend the snake.
What also surprised the scientists was what was found inside the python. The snake’s contents included the remains of a white tail deer and 122 python eggs.
After being introduced into the Florida ecosystem in the 1970s as a result of the exotic pet trade, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) now estimates tens of thousands of pythons live in Florida. The Burmese python is now considered Florida’s apex predator, even more so than alligators.
Florida governor Ron DeSantis said in a June 17 press conference, “It’s just unbelievable what they will ravage when they’re there. These snakes are destroying the natural food chain, and you can’t have a healthy environment without a healthy food chain.” The USGS called the Burmese python “one of the most concerning invasive species in the Everglades National Park.” Florida has set aside over $3 million for the removal of the species.
So what does this have to do with leadership? Well, it has everything to do with leadership and establishing a healthy culture in your organization.
Culture is who you hire. Let me say that again, culture is who you hire. You may currently have a healthy workplace culture. Warning, it should be protected and intensely guarded. By inserting an “invasive species” (hiring the wrong person) into your ecosystem, your entire culture could be disrupted or destroyed.
The wrong hire could destroy trust, lower performance, create divisions in the organization, cause good employees to leave, change your message, create negative or sideways energy, lose customers, and harm your brand.
There is much to learn from the state of Florida. If an “invasive species” enters your workplace ecosystem, immediately deal with the issue. Otherwise, your problems will grow to overwhelming proportions and your entire culture will be severely impacted.
This article originally appeared here and is used by permission.