How I Fired the Wrong People & So Can You!
I see you need convincing. I understand. I needed seven years of convincing. And then, the wrong person finally quit. Seven years. Of my money. Of my life. Of their life. I squandered it all.
Working with the wrong people is, according to Jim Collins and his research team at Stanford, the number one reason other businesses fail. I say other businesses because after you read this article and go fire that individual… you are going to fire them, right?I see you still need convincing.
It’s the scourge of industry. I talk to people every week that are struggling with the exact same thing. They’ve hired the wrong person and they can’t think of a good reason to fire them. Well, here are a few.
- You’re wasting their time. If they’re the wrong person for the job, and you can know it, then you’re actually doing them a dis-service by not releasing them. Obviously, your own business is suffering too, but as important, their potential is being squashed. When people are set free from the wrong opportunity, they can then begin the hunt for that right opportunity. The one that fits. Or as Dave Ramsey puts it, “Free them to pursue their passion.”
- You’re showing your other employees you can’t make the tough decisions and that you don’t appreciate them. It’s so hard to be the bad guy. But so much of that is in our heads. My business changed direction dramatically when I released the wrong people and found the right ones. My team and partners saw that change and recognized it’s source. You can exhibit strength without having to resolve to volatile responses.
- You’re being short-sighted. Outside of their passions, it’s difficult for people to change. Don’t expect the wrong individual to somehow, magically evolve into the right person for the job. That’s gambling the future of your business on a statistically low return. How many more years of the wrong person can your business take? Are you willing to continue that risk?
- It’s not compassionate to keep the wrong people. Yeah, it sucks. There will be therapy involved. Anger, regret, tears—it’ll all flow. But you’re imprisoning that round peg in a square hole. It’s stunting their future and dumbing down your own.
- You’re not empowering them. You’re enabling them. There is a huge difference. Teach a man to fish, etc. If you are constantly making excuses for them, paving over their failures as an employee and defending their multiple opportunities to make up for those failures, then you’re enabling them. Enabling employees will lead your business towards failure and it’s a huge waste of your own time and mental resources. You’re teaching them horrible habits which only reflect poorly on you. This is not leadership. Or I should say, this is bad leadership. Stop. Now.
- Hire Talent. Don’t Partner. Talented, artistic, and creative people are liquid. They bend and fold, and flow and ebb. It’s their strength (and their weakness). They don’t make the best business partners, because frankly, they don’t care about business. Hire them. Pay them their due.
- Develop a system for firing. Hire well! 90 days probation max. If they don’t have it by then, they won’t get it. Communicate clearly and in writing as much as possible. Write down what you want to watch for before firing. Ask those you trust what they think. Act quickly but not recklessly.
- A good leader is relational—Leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand. Get to know your people fast so you can ensure they drive your culture and have the ability.
- Don’t leave them alone just after you hire them!! Most entrepreneurs are so excited to bring in their first hires so they can get back to work producing, that they put them to work and don’t check up on them. Training them is paramount for both culture and productivity.
- Hire slow, fire fast. Take the time to get the right people. Act quickly once you know you have the wrong people.
This is one of the most important factors in the success of your business. Take the time to write out procedures for hiring and firing so you can follow them. It will save you a lot of headache and heartache. Don’t leave this area to chance. Do the homework. It will serve you well.
Make it a great day,
Luke & Royce
p.s. the reason I used a photo of Steve Jobs is because his was perhaps one of the most famous firings of the past three decades. After being removed as CEO of Apple in the mid 90’s, he went on to create PIXAR and NEXT – an operating system software that would become what is the current Apple operating system today. He came back with a vengeance and you know the rest.