Who You Should Fire Next
It may not be the people or person you’re thinking of …
Some of the hardest decisions a young or starting entrepreneur must make are hiring and firing decisions.
When it comes to selecting the right time to add staff, a tsunami of questions flood your mind and can render you impotent unless you sort it all out. It usually comes down to the question of, whom do I hire first? Do I hire someone for the office or someone for the field? If that is the question you are seeking to answer you are asking the wrong question. The right question is, whom do I fire first?
It’s always difficult to fire somebody. It’s a task I’ve come to despise, yet it’s a task that must be done from time to time. When the person who must be let go has done a deed that clearly warrants termination, it makes the duty easier. I don’t need to go into details here about the kind of deed that warrants immediate termination. Let’s just say you will know it when it happens.
It’s a little more difficult to terminate someone when their behavior is borderline and you know they are not serving the best interest of your company and you would be better off without them. But they’re not really a bad seed, it will just be better for the company if they’re gone. I have had the displeasure of having to let people go, and from their perspective there is no apparent reason. With tears flowing and confusion swirling, they have walked out the door.
By far, the most difficult person to fire is the one who is dedicated to you and to the future of the company. This person comes in early and stays late with no complaining. This person is the one who is willing to hold off getting paid when funds are short, again without complaint or resentment. This person is the one who will stay up late at night crunching the numbers. This person will spend countless hours shopping insurance quotes and comparing the prices of toilets. This person washes the service vehicles on a Sunday afternoon and makes sure everything is in order for Monday morning.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking: why in the world would I fire such an amazing person? It’s because this amazing, overachieving, compulsive individual is getting in the way of progress. This person is a roadblock to growth. This person is a fool. This person must be fired.
What makes it so difficult to fire this foolish person, is that this person is you.
Let’s face it. You may be the best truck washer on the planet and nobody pays attention to the detail of buffing and polishing like you do. So what? You may be the best price shopper there is when it comes to toilet purchasing. So what? Anybody can wash the truck, shop for a toilet and pay the bills; if you let them and train them.
Read this next sentence three times or until you memorize it. If you don’t let somebody else do the tasks that anybody can do, you will be stuck doing the tasks that somebody else should do, and you will be neglecting the tasks that only you can do.
Let’s break this dilemma down. There are certain tasks that need to be done in an organization that could and should be done by somebody other than you. On the other hand there are certain tasks that should not and cannot be done by anybody other than you.
By way of illustration, think of the child development toy, where the square peg fits into the square hole and the round peg fits into the round hole. Child development issues occur when the stubborn child insists on pounding the square peg into the round hole. Their solution to the problem is to pound the peg out of shape, get a bigger hammer or to move on to another, easier challenge.
The same thing happens in entrepreneur development. The stubborn leader will do one of two things. One, he will force fit a solution and call it a “workaround.” A workaround is a non-technical term for just making it work. It’s not right, nor is it a best practice. It is not efficient, and it certainly is not conducive to growth. It just “kind of works.” Two, he will walk away from the problem and do something else, such as wash the truck, shop insurance or pay the bills.
When you find yourself in this predicament, somebody needs to get fired and that somebody is you. You need to remove the stumbling block and stop creating workarounds. You need to fire and hire. You need to fire yourself and hire your replacement.
Be careful here. I’m giving you a simple rule and a fair warning. Don’t fire yourself until you hire your replacement. There is a good reason for this rule: The tasks you currently perform, need doing: they just don’t need to be done by you.
In order to achieve your growth potential, you must take a look at all the duties, tasks and responsibilities you perform and design a strategy that will take some of these tasks off your plate. Once you identify the duties that can be performed by somebody else, you need to hire the person that will become your replacement.
This strategy is a necessary step toward growth and success. Now go fire somebody.
The Doctor Is Out.