|Joe Paterno, the beloved Penn State football coach, died early Sunday at the age of 85.|
2. Address problems immediately. The public will never know how much Paterno ultimately knew about the alleged child abuse, but business owners can learn a valuable lesson: Problems will smolder and grow if they're not stomped out as soon as possible. Take action immediately. "Don't look away or hope that something that troubles you about the organization will go away," says Mike Starich, president of Orion International, one of the largest military recruiting firms in the U.S. "It will always come back somehow bigger." More important, though, is the perception by employees if a business owner looks the other way from an inappropriate action. By doing that, an owner is likely to erode trust among employees and foster a "contaminated" culture, Starich says. "One thing leads to another. If you learn to be tolerant then it tends to breed this idea that
employees can get away with stuff or ... that you will allow certain things to occur. It never works in the long run, in my opinion," he says. 3. Develop a strong culture with employees. On the other hand, Paterno had an enormous amount of loyalty to his team and his staff. "It's a very positive trait he had ... maybe almost blind loyalty. Those are guys he loved unconditionally. His staff and his members -- they knew they were part of a bigger family," says Craig Libis, CEO of Executive Recruiting Consultants. Such loyalty and teamwork is powerful, especially at a start-up business. If your employees are as focused on the mission and vision of your company, you're likely to see increased productivity and a sense of determination from them in making the business succeed. "It was a culture of trust and a culture of not every man for themselves, but every man for the better of the company or the team," Libis says of Paterno's Penn State. -- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York. To contact Laurie Kulikowski, send an email to: Laurie.Kulikowski@thestreet.com.