Fire them Already

Jan 30, 2024

Let's get to it... FIRING someone. It sucks but realistically it's best for both sides. 

When it comes to firing, I see 2 extremes… firing too often and taking too long to fire.

Which way is right… well they both are right, and both can be wrong too.

Here’s what I’ve seen on the side of keeping people too long.

  • Want to give them a chance
  • Fear of hurting culture
  • Too hard to train someone else
  • They are nice
  • Everyone likes them

The list of excuses could go on and on. What it comes down to is 2 main things…

  • Lack of clear expectations
  • Lack of accountability

They might be nice and everyone likes them but hurting your overall team performance because everyone else has to make up for them. Or worse (which I’ve lived through), overall performance goes down because you are going to have to “fire Bart the bad performer before me”

Reality… if they aren’t a right fit for the role, it’s best for them and you to move on. They need to go do something that is a better fit that they can succeed in rather than feeling like they are failing.

I’ve had sales reps over the years that were struggling and feeling like absolute failures. They weren’t failures… they were in the wrong role. Helping them move on was the best thing for both sides.

Let’s now shift gears and talk about firing everyone because no one performs.

Don’t get me wrong, if someone comes on and shows that they are not the right fit early on, I wouldn't wait and see how it plays out. To do this, I have milestones to show progress as they are onboarding and ramping. If they are showing they can’t do the job, part ways earlier than later.

Let’s talk about those that have a constant revolving door. NOBODY can get the job done. This is where I would take a step back and first look at myself as a leader.

  • Have I given them the tools to succeed?

This could mean, they need

  • more training
  • defined process
  • actual tools to do their role
  • clear expectations

If it’s a YOU (as in leader) problem, it doesn’t matter who you bring in, you are going to have the same frustrations. No one gets it done.

The biggest problem I’ve seen here is with founders or leaders who have built the success from scratch. They have a personality to figure it out. They expect someone else to come in and figure it out too.

The problem is… not everyone can have that entrepreneurial mindset and ability to figure it out. 

To fix it… drill down on

  • What have you done to be successful?
  • WHY have you done it that way?

If it’s not yourself but have a member or two on the team that are successful… do the same thing with them.

Often times we think… well they all have been given the same training and they just aren’t cutting it.

Reality… they all have the same training but those that are succeeding are actually doing their own thing and it has NOTHING to do with the training.

If when you ask the question if you’ve given them everything and the answer is yes… next question is, do they have it in them to do what it takes?

If the answer is no… it’s time to move on.

Now my process… I have conversations with them. Help them see where they need improvement. Help them with how to get there and have regular meetings to see progress.

I’ve seen plenty of people when given the chance, succeed. They just needed that extra help and accountability.

On the flip side, I’ve seen plenty just flat out not be able to or WANT to get there.

That’s fine… just need to part ways and not have it be personal.

The bottom line… firing someone doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It’s part of business and holding people accountable to the expectations of their job. You are paying them for a job… it needs to be done.

Before you do… look at yourself and make sure you’ve given them the way to succeed.

If they aren’t capable of doing the job… then part ways sooner rather than later. It will help them and the rest of your team see how much it matters that they do their part!



PS... rarely in my career has the person not seen it coming. It's not because I put them on a "PIP. It's because we are having conversations regularly about where they need improvement and what needs to happen. We both see that it's not working... it's rarely ever 1 sided. 

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