Jim Irsay wanted more than winning, Greg Cowan tells us why Bill Polian didn't fit into the owner's new vision.
Colts owner Jim Irsay sat and watched his team struggle through a painful season. He read all of the negative headlines written in their honor, he heard all of the experts proclaim the end of the Colts amazing run of success. He felt the glow of the spotlight that had shone on them - as if to make all of their flaws glaringly apparent to the entire world - since the team lost QB Peyton Manning prior to the regular season opener.
And when the dust had finally settled on the 2011 season, when the Colts had earned their 2-14 record and secured the number one pick in the 2012 draft, Mr. Irsay wasted little time in assuring that the spotlight would shine directly on him in the upcoming days, months, and years.
On Monday, shortly after 1 PM, the world would learn, through Chris Mortensen's twitter feed - and please note the divine irony of the situation where a man who was hated by the local media for being left out of the loop on breaking news had news of his firing broken by the national media - that Jim Irsay had fired team President Bill Polian and his son Vice President and General Manager Chris Polian.
In that instant the direction of the Colts had changed, Jim Irsay had cleaned house. Gone was the man who drafted Peyton Manning, the man who built the team that won 143 games between 1998 and 2011, the team that went to 3 AFC Championship games, 2 Super Bowls, and won one Lombardi Trophy. We would later learn, through key phrases in his 5 PM Press Conference, that the house cleaning was merely a prelude to tearing down the house in preparation for rebuilding it.
While this off-season will be the most important off-season for the Colts since 1998, the rebuilding process will be long and involved, and will be discussed and scrutinized for years to come. There will be a time in the future to analyze where the team is heading and the best way to get there - it won't be a fun conversation, unless you really enjoy losing - but for now we want to focus on one question: was firing Bill Polian the correct decision?
Bill Polian, a man whom no one could logically deny was great at building football teams, was not without flaws. He was stubborn, seemingly arrogant, and set in his ways. His dealings with the local media are well known. The Colts routinely leaked information to national media outlets - most notably Chris Mortensen and John Clayton of ESPN - while keeping the local media in the dark. He would deny simple interview requests, citing a lack of interest in the requested topic. And while it may seem self-serving, the fact of the matter is, Bill Polian was dismissive of blogs during his tenure with the Colts.
While many people would probably respond, "so what?" to all of this, the fact is, the media - both mainstream and blogs - was the one group that could have made the 2011 season go smoother. Had Polian fostered a healthy relationship with the Colts, had he treated those that covered the team with respect, there is a very good chance that the tone and nature of the coverage would have been different, and that he and Chris Polian would be the ones in charge of the rebuild.
Aside from his dealings with the media, Polian, appeared, at times, unaware of either how to deal with fans or just how seriously they took the sports and the Colts. Look no further than Week 16 of 2009. The Colts, in the eyes of their fans, gave up the chance for the perfect season and for history, by pulling their starters against the Jets. And while the Colts would eventually make their way to the Super Bowl that season - and lose it - their post-season success did very little to relieve the sting some fans felt from Week 16.
Compounding their pain was the fact that Polian seemed to go out of his way to dismiss it. He noted that the Colts made decisions based on what was best for them, and that they weren't concerned with outside influences. To many, this seems like the logical, practical approach to not only running a sports franchise, but to running any business. The problem with Polian's message was polish, or lackthereof. He could have handled the situation in a manner which conveyed regret and remorse - even if he felt none - for a decision that clearly angered some of his "stockholders", a term Jim Irsay would use to describe fans during his Monday press conference.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there are rumors that Bill Polian's actions and attitude were not conducive to a great working environment. Some have suggested that Polian was so stubborn and set in his ways that he would isolate himself from other front office employees, that his temper would create angst and nervousness on a day-to-day basis. While some may dismiss this by saying, "I don't care if the General Manager of the Colts is a jerk, as long as the team wins," remember: the Colts were 2-14 this season. A lot of people were concerned about their jobs on a daily basis. If the rumors are true, Polian did little to help his staff through a difficult time. As President of the Colts, Polian was a leader, and compounding stress in a stressful situation is not what good leaders do.
Much has been made about why Bill Polian was fired. You'll hear mention of failed drafts, of an inability to find a backup quarterback, and of a man that has lost his ability to really build a great team. That is merely looking for a zebra in a herd of horses. The truth is, Bill Polian was fired because he failed to remember the golden rule of success, "Be nice to people on your way up because you meet them on your way down."
Look no further than Jim Irsay's press conference for proof. Irsay spoke about the vision of the next General Manager,
"One organization pulling in the same direction. Unity. Realize the community and everything has to work together. In a smaller market, you need someone who has a vision of how the organization is connected."
"One organization pulling in the same direction. Unity." Jim Irsay looked at how his organization was run, he took the mood of the office, and he decided that it was time for change. Time for a new voice that could unify the organization - with no angst, drama, or politicking - through the tough rebuild that lies ahead.
"Realize the community and everything has to work together." Be nice to the fans. Perhaps you don't like the fans, perhaps you don't like dealing with them, but our jobs are nothing without them. Foster those relationships, foster that trust, and they will support you, in the good times and the bad.
"In a smaller market." The Colts are the biggest draw in town right now. Indianapolis lacks the distractions you might find in Boston, New York, or Los Angeles. Be nice to the media and - even if you don't like them - treat them with respect. They are the voice to the fans; they can help you if they like you, and they can make life difficult for you if they don't.
When Irsay announced that he was firing Polian and, for the moment, retaining the services of Jim Caldwell - the coach whose game management has cost the Colts some of the most important games in their history - citing how well loved he is in the organization, he made it clear that he wasn't interested in winning, but in "winning the right way."
The house has been cleaned. The roof, walls, and floor are about be torn down. A new foundation is about to be laid. The spotlight is squarely on you, Mr. Irsay. The coming days, months, and years will determine whether or not you made the correct call by firing Bill Polian. You've made it clear that there is more to what you do than just winning. You want to win the "right way."
And fans will always support "winning the right way"...
As long as you are winning.
Very self serving write-even if most was based on rumor-hope people treat you more fairly--many blogs think their opinons are above reproach. What if you are wrong? Facts speak loud and kicking people when they are absent-hmmm just seems wrong. I am not a fan of Poliian's, but I saw him build a great team--more than one. How many have you built?
? Self serving? If you want self serving, I can direct you to another blog that I've pretty much stopped reading. Mostly this post is information, and then some opinion based on information. Fairly docile stuff, I would say. And what, you can't comment on something unless you've done it yourself? Explain that to anyone writing an article on NASA, or a moon mission. "Sorry, unless you've been to the moon, you can't write about it?"
I don't understand the point of your post - because it doesn't really bring any additional value nor insight. What is the laziest thing one could respond with.@Blue@Heart
@buymymonkey Loosen the headband--My point is Polian has a proven tract record of putting very high quality teams together Fact point two rumors are a poor and unfair way to judge people--Point three unless you have skill and history of putting together high performance teams your opinion of what it takes is guessing! And, I did not even like Polian-but the Colts were great under his tenure.
@PancakesPodcast great article Greg
@PancakesPodcast thx I will be more diligent about reading your articles and the site in general. Dealing w/ personal stuff past few weeks
@JasonSpears_410 oh, you don't need to be more diligent, I just ... Ive talked/podded/written about Polian a lot, and I'm worried about
I head up a crew of 70 software developers and managers. My peer retired last year, and he had about 20 of my folks (before they were moved to me). His idea of management was being a bully, insulting, denigrating and autocratic. He was a former military man who felt the only appropriate answers were "yes sir" "no sir" and "no excuse sir". His last project was a miserable failure that was in a tailspin for 6 months. His team was shell shocked thru the whole process and forced to work tons of extra hours to try to "catch up".
Anyway, he "retired" in that my boss (the CIO) forced him out. He was able to retire gracefully, though everyone knew that he was being forced. Now his group works for me. I prefer a friendly environment that's collaborative, with team work and sharing of ideas. We all succeed or we all lose, and my staff is no less important than I (or my managers) am/are. And we're successful. That doesn't mean I demand quality work and don't tolerate poor performance, but it's a different atmosphere.
Polian, though certainly a smart guy, I think is cut of the same cloth as my peer. But rather than being allowed to leave (retire) on his own, he was fired. I suspect what others posted is correct: he was trying to force Chris on Irsay. But again, unless there was some massive argument, I think Irsay could have made it look like Polian was retiring and Chris was moving on. I would really hate to think the firing was simply to appease some of the simpler-minded blogs and local Indy Reporters.
Anyway, just my two cents.
@buymymonkey "valuation is a little high"
@buymymonkey The problem with that analogy is, doesn't the person who made that person in a management position deserve any of the blame? Clearly he's not good manager material; he should have never been put in that position. Secondly, there's the assumption that there's a replacement who is nice and has equal or better talent.
What if neither is the case? I work in an industry where MANY of the main profit makers are every bit as much of an asshole has Polian is. Our solution is to NOT have them in a position where they directly interact and poison the atmosphere for others, who generally can't quite handle how abrasive, rude, condescending, arrogant, and insensitive they are. We manage to keep hundreds of these people on the same few floors as thousands of other generally more "normal" people without (much) issue by hiring people to mediate their interactions with others. I'm sure if we could hire only nice people but who had their skill sets to make us the same billions, we would. But that's just not possible.
I hold Irsay ultimately responsible for the breakdown in employee relations. And until he proves that he can really hire someone as talent as Polian and is also all warm and fuzzy, I'll question his decision to fire rather than find a way to retain talent without having it negatively impact the rest of the employee. It's incredibly doable.
Yep! I neglected to say that ultimately it was my CIO who tolerated the poor behavior and that he needed to be held responsible. Of course, he was not, he was heralded for getting rid of the jackass.
Sometimes the people who are most effective lack some basic interpersonal skills - but more and more, I think people are finding that you can have successful people who are not complete jerks.@flores_salicis
@19>18@buymymonkey Where do you read that I'm saying this is absolutely the only way? I thought it was pretty clear that the point of my examples are that it's worth reconsidering whether firing talented people because they're not nice and personable people is really the way to go, as there is plenty of real life examples that this need not be the case. There was clearly enough media coverage around Polian being as asshole as though that is very obviously a 100% good reason for firing him that it warranted a contrarian point of view. I don't get your proof comment either. When it comes to management styles and business decisions, proof is a poor word choice. It's not like there's a series of absolute axioms you can derive some incontrovertible truth from to begin with. But the sheer number of case studies one can point to for peaceful coexistence of assholes and more normal people in a company is a perfectly valid reason to question whether you absolutely have to fire someone merely on the grounds that they're an asshole.
the problem with your continuous stream on this is that your example is just an example. Not proof of anything and certainly not proof that your way is the only way. We all have read/heard what a horse's ass bullying disruptive demoralizing boss Steven Jobs was but he is lionized. All that proves is that it worked for Jobs, didnt work in your company and worked on the field but not in the office for Jim Irsay. Voices here tend to speak in absolutes as if there is only one right answer and best or right is their sole purview There is always more than one way to skin a cat @flores_salicis @buymymonkey
@buymymonkey If you can find even 1000 rockstar traders, all of whom are nice, calm, rational, sweet, understanding people, please let us know what alternate dimension they've been hiding in. :)
Until then, I think we'll continue communicating with our current border-line sociopaths only through administrative secretaries or their analyst lackeys.
GregC... that is such a great point!!! I too loved The Polian Corner every week. (Even though being out of market, I just had to read it at Colts.com) But as you say, after it became blatantly clear that certain blogs and the Indy media had an agenda, I always thought why does Irsay continue to let him go on the air.
As someone that likes Polian, and thought that, if you listened to the Bill Polian show without an inherent "expectation" for the uselessness of his message, he was actually very good at "talking shop" with Colts fans.
That said, for the life of me, I cannot fathom why, after 2009, he remained the main focus of the show and the face of the franchise. Even if is what he desired, Irsay needed to be strong enough to say "no".
At that point, the situation had deteriorated to the point where, no matter how good his words were, the negative effects outweighed any possible gain. Once it became clear that some blogs and indy media had a specific goal, the franchises mission needed to be to remove as many opportunities for problems as possible.@buymymonkey @flores_salicis
I think Irsay commented about that. Didn't he say something to the point that Bill was given the option to "retire" or at least release it to the media as a retirement but instead chose to have it done this way?
I wish Polian (Bill) could have been here forever, but if he was just trying to push Chris into the role and Irsay didn't want it that way, then the decision had to be made. The past season made it much easier on Irsay to make the decision, but it is what it is.
Remember how Bob Knight (at Texas Tech) retired and had made it so Pat Knight would take over for him? Pat ended up being a total failure and was correctly let go in due time. We can't just assume that Chris would have been a great GM just because Bill was, and Irsay didn't want to wait for him to fail before it was too late. As Irsay said, sometimes you just have to go with your gut and make a decision that you live with.
I am confident that Irsay will find a more than adequate successor and the team will move forward and continue success without Polian.
I am in the process of cleaning my own house. After 5 rather successful years, we have experienced a lot of turnover and a lot of negative attitude. It breeds like weeds. Or as my owner calls it; getting infected with the zombie bite. Once bitten, in time , you will turn into a zombie. I had a few rock stars. All save but one are gone. Things starting going bad (economy), we had to buck up, sales weren't as easy and the money didn't flow like it did. The stars turned negative and infected the whole lot. I hate turnover. I hate having to train new people again.
But I hate a corporate attitude of negativity. I need people to want to come to work. And if I can infuse new people with the positive energy and sell them on the upside, we can do it again. Sometimes you reach a plateau. Sometimes, you have to tear down to rebuild.
I appreciate Polian for all that he has done. But when Irsay only got 2 wins from them this year, it was time to go ahead and just pull the trigger. I understand it. And I admire the decision. I hope it doesn't mean five years of losses. The next 4 months are sure going to be interesting.....
Wow, I didn't realize this was the Bill Polian Fan Club. I can't deny his past successes, but the way he's handled the team of late doesn't get my vote. And then to hear him continually defend positions that are obviously wrong (defense isn't too small, we run the ball well enough, Painter is a good backup, etc) made me wonder if his ego had finally overwhelmed his common sense. Perhaps Irsay realized, after this season's disaster, that the team wasn't being managed properly, that too many good people were leaving and that Polian's cantankerous demeanor — combined with an inept team — would eventually start affecting the fan base. Yes, executives can be jerks but that only works as long as you have a product people want to buy. Polian's treatment of the local media is well-documented. I read the Indy Star often and neither Chappell, Wilson nor even Kravitz strike me as guys looking to grind axes to promote themselves. They deserved an occasional audience with the Wizard of Oz. And if the reports of Polian's treatment of the Colts' front office personnel is true, then he got what he deserved but only a year too late. Go Colts ... been with them since the '60s.
I dont think that Polian defended small as a philosophical statement.. It was Dungy's defensive philosophy, not Polian's. IIRC, he said that the system prioritized quickness and penetration. Given the choice he said that while his preference would be big and quick and good, he would take a good quick smaller guy over a bad, slow big guy,
Several times we lined up with DTs as large as Sapp and Booger in their heyday. The issue clearly was quality, not size.
I would be rich if i had a nickel for every time I remind fans that the NFL in the cap era is a zero sum game. How do you fit a $7M or $8.5M cap hit (Suh and Ngata) into our cap situation? That is going rate for big AND quick AND good.@jtgolfer
@jtgolfer Problems with your argument:
1) Give actual proof "small" defenses are bad. There hasn't been any conclusive studies that this actually results in higher injuries. Find proof, otherwise, it's just a meme.
2) Running the football has 0 correlation with winning football games. It's really easy to find all the research that demonstrates this statistically. ESPN is not a really good source for actual football knowledge.
So if it's not his "management" of the team that's a real issue, then it's his personality problems then.
Guess what? I blame the owner for that. I've written it before below, but brilliant people are often just like that. I work with hundreds of people every bit as rude, arrogant, and horrible as Polian is alleged to be all sitting together in a space that's probably smaller than than the Colts complex. But we know we'd go bankrupt if we only hired cuddly, friendly, nice people to do the job they do (which is, make billions of dollars for our company) because quite frankly, not enough of them exist. So we hire people who can babysit and manage their interactions with the rest of us other thousands of employees who support their jobs. We've had a terrible year profit wise and and tons of really stressful outside events with bad impact to our industry. Our work environment is fine, thanks to these "babysitters" and "buffers". Even better, these buffer/babysitters come really cheaply.
If my company followed the philosophy Irsay did, we'd quickly be run out of business by our competition snagging our best profit-makers and finding appropriately ways to buffer their interaction with everyone else and kicking our asses. I'm terrified that this is exactly what is going to happen to the Colts.
@flores_salicis I offer no proof other than watching the defense not being able to get off the field for years except for the their Super Bowl run in 2006-2007.
My sympathy if you have to work with jerks. Life shouldn't be like that.
This isn't actually true either. I ran the numbers down some weeks ago, and don't feel like looking them up right now, but in terms of points scored and yards allowed the Colts were in the Top 5 / Top 10 for several of Dungy's years. They also set the record for fewest passing touchdowns allowed one year.
Now I have no problem with your argument as it relates to the Coyer-2, because that was just an all around disaster.
I realize that there may not be statistical proof that small defenses are bad, but is there any proof that small defenses are good either? The Colts are the only defense thought of as being "small" year after year, and the Colts are consistantly ranking near the bottom of most statistical categories year after year as well.
@jtgolfer@flores_salicis But it´s not really proof of anything. The defense is too small for what, exactly? Winning? As flores_salicis is saying above, there´s no proven link between the size of the defense and its effectiveness. Keep in mind, this defensive scheme was actually implemented by Dungy, one of the most gifted defensive minds of the last 15 years. If you´d rather have a huge, dominant defense, that´s fine, but resources allottment means you have to choose between that and the Peyton Manning offense. Is that what you advocate should have been done?
@jtgolfer But you'd have to prove weight correlation on defenses getting off the field. Until I see statistical proof of that, I'm not buying into "larger defenses = better". That's like the "3-4 defense is better" meme. Looking at actual top defenses over the years, there's plenty of 3-4 defenses at the bottom and 4-3 defenses at the top.
Actually, my work environment is fine; I've never been verbally abused or treated in any manner that crosses the line of professionalism. That was kind of my point. I've heard stories and had some brief interactions and occasionally overhear how the "rock stars" at my company are. Really awful people. But I've never had to deal with that. That's what good ownership (well, I guess in this case, it'd be the executive board, really) does. Find a way to make these people keep producing without making it impossible for anyone else to work there. I, and many other people, can't handle dealing with total assholes, but there actually are a lot of people who are very good at doing just that, and hiring them to help mediate interactions isn't even expensive! Cutting brilliant people because they don't play nice with others is the best way to drain talent and ability out of your corporation when there's a cheap solution.
Kravitz has been openly bragging/celebrating this on twitter. I'm not sure how you can come to the conclusions you did.
Also, I hope when you say 'This was the Bill Polian Fan Club" you're not referring to this article. I don't think this was a great endorsement of someone that actually HAS the history and accomplishments to deserve a great endorsement.
@GregC No, I was not referring to the article. I was referring to the comments. Other sites I've been have been more balanced in their "Bill is Good/Bill is Bad" commentary. As I said, Polian has accomplished much for the Colts. My opinion is that Irsay did the right thing.
I'm sorry you feel that way, but... I've been to other Colts sites, and I really don't think they have been more balanced. Most information on Bill Polian has been negative. @jtgolfer
@jtgolfer Kravitz not having an axe to grind to promote himself? I can´t fathom how you can think that. He´s certainly not concerned with enlightening his readership, I´ll tell you that.
Jim irsay and Chris Polian...
Both are the sons of very difficult and arrogant fathers.
Both have their father's to thank for their current positions.
Jim Irsay learned from his father who by all accounts was a terrible owner. Chris has also learned from his father, who by popular opinion is a future Hall of Famer.
Jim Irsay has made it his life's mission to distance himself from the sins of his father. Chris Polian, well, we don't know because after 14 years of service and one year in the position of GM, Jim Irsay fired him for the sins of his father.
... or did Bill get fired for the "sins" of his son?
@kc6624 I'm open to this, and in a way I hope you are right. (As it would mean that Irsay deserves more credit than I am giving him.)
But Chris Polian didn't just walk into the front door of the Colts offices... he has been with the team as long as his father has. He was not an unknown commodity to Irsay when he was made GM.
It is still my believe that Irsay succombed to Wormtongue Kravitz and his ilk,
Still, I maintain that if Peyton had been healthy this year, the Colts would be in the playoffs and the Polians wouldn't have been fired.
If in Irsay's mind, it was right to fire the Polians now, it was right last year, or three years ago or five years ago...
I'm sure the losing made it worse (even though I thought the Colts were suppose to be tanking the season) but BP has not suddenly changed his stripes.
And in a totally unrelated note, I knda feel bad for thinking bad things about Phil B. all year. He obviously has some very serious personal issues from his past.
I don't take back a single thing I have thought or written about Wormtongue Kravitz though.
Phil B's piece is probably as accurate as anything about why this went down. It had nothing to do with drafts, QBs, or records. It was all about the environment they created at West 56th and how unbearable it all became when the losing started.
No one there could live with them any more. It's pretty much as simple as that.
I wonder how keen Irsay was on the promotion of Chris from the beginning. Maybe he never wanted Chris as GM, but as long as Bill was actually running things, and as long as the team was making the playoffs with 10+ win seasons, maybe Irsay just didn't want to rock the boat.
This year Chris takes over and the wheels fall off, and maybe Irsay saw this as his opportunity to get rid of Chris and find a GM he was more comfortable with, unfortunately Bill had to go as part of the package.
Apparently I've been confused all along -- I didn't realize Polian's job was to go desk to desk and shake hands of the Colts office employees before the start of every week. I thought it was to do that before the start of every game to the "employees" on the field. I'm obviously just making a point here, but it is interesting to me that there was some definite "gray area" in the evolution of the roles of both Polians over the past couple years.
I'm not sure that an NFL franchise can be compared straight up to a corporate entity, as the "product" is also part of the employee base. Or is the "product" actually wins and losses and rings? I know one thing for sure -- I wouldn't gauge the success of my company based on the satisfaction of its critics. After all, it's their job to be critical, no? Stating all of this would lead one to think that I believe that Irsay buckled to (some) public opinion. I don't... I don't know. Doubt I'll ever know.
The only thing I know for certain is that I've been a Colts fan since this team rolled into town. I can still remember the funky print smell of the bandanas / towels that you'd get at the Hoosier Dome on game day. I can still remember my vantage point from the 3rd row of the upper level, always wishing it we were sitting on the Colts sideline. I can remember having high hopes for Andre Rison, Quentin Coryatt ... plenty others.
What I can't remember is how it felt to be *this* unsure of where my team was headed.
@matt_has This is the thing I wonder too. I work in an industry where the people who make the money (billions annually) are complete and total assholes that are awful, awful people to deal with, AND they're at the top of the totem pole. But of course no one sane would think to fire them because we'd pretty quickly go bankrupt, chances are. That's why we have other personnel designed to insulate the rest of us in more support roles from having lots of unpleasant interactions with them, PR departments, ER departments, etc. I guess I wonder, if the Polians WERE creating a toxic atmosphere, why is that even THEIR failing? You could say that, sure, everyone to some extent is responsible for employee relations and all that BS, but since when is it news that supremely talented people are often nasty, arrogant, and insufferable? If my industry can make tens and thousands of such assholes reside in one building and not have the rest of us hundreds of thousands of employees commit suicide en masse, I wonder why the Colts couldn't manage something similar.
I do believe a lot of it comes down to what another comment said: Jim Irsay desperately wants to be better than his father - and, really he is. But he wants the business to be a family. He wants everyone to get along. He wants there to be that love, peace, etc...
I think most people know that I believe what I wrote - I believe Bill Polian was fired because of his personality, not his football ability - but I don't agree with the decision making process. There should have been a better way to handle it.
@19>18@GregC@matt_has No one here once stated that he didn't have the RIGHT to do whatever he wants. The team is privately held. Like any privately held corporations, as the owner, he can do whatever he damn well pleases. All we did was make a value judgement on whether we thought his decision was a good one or not. I don't agree with it, I don't like it, and I presented why, if in fact it was a personality-based thing, his choice was a poor one. I absolutely do not disagree with his RIGHT to make wrong choices though.
It worked for Ben and Jerry's lol Let's not forget that his comment aside, the fans are NOT stockholders. He owns the team. It is his property. He can run it inefficiently if he chooses without a Board of Directors firing him. It is entirely valid IMO for him, if he hated Polian's personality, was tired of dealing with bad PR creating the team's image, and putting out fires Bill started, to use the timing of this debacle of a season as cover for firing BP.. I dont think it matters whether Bill was just as pompous three years ago. This season provides cover for him to do what he wanted, perhaps for years. @GregC @flores_salicis @matt_has
@GregC@matt_has I will never agree with that decision either, if his personality is indeed the reason. Maybe that's why I work in the private sector. If the toxic personality is good enough at making you money, it's worth investing in personnel for damage control for the fallout from that personality. It can be done. And if you're dumb enough to let them get away because of something fixable, your competition will profit and then kick your ass for the next decade.