Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Know When To Hold Them And When To Fold Them

This Blogger CEO has often waited too long to terminate ineffective employees and or business initiatives.  In reference to employees, there is always the hope that with just a little more training, or direction that a "C" Player can be turned into a "B" or even "A" Player when the reality is that it will never happen.  Further, hope is not a strategy.  And to be candid, I have always been too loyal to long term employees to take action when action was long overdue.  When I finally did approve termination,  I have always been sorry that I did not do it sooner to end the misery.   

Specific to business initiatives that have achieved poor results, the thinking has often been that with just a little more time, or tweaking, the concept could be turned into a success.  The reality is that cards talk and numbers don't lie.   At some point and not in the distant future, it is critical to put emotion aside and recognize that the numbers tell the story.  Whether dealing with an ineffective employee, or a business initiative that has failed, a good manager knows when to hold them and when to fold them.  And, most likely by the time the typical manager takes action to end the misery, it is long overdue. 

The signs are easy to see.   A salesman who is a nice person that everyone likes; but has not closed any deals in a year or more, probably isn't a salesman.  A manager who can't manage people, causing high turn over among direct reports, probably isn't a good manager.  And, people who make excuses for their own failures and or who seek to blame others for those failures are just not good employees.  Finally, someone who is has a disruptive personality style is incapable of changing.  All of these employees should be dealt with sooner, rather than later and invited to leave the company. 

Business initiatives that fail to produce results measured in profitability, or real process improvements probably need to be discontinued long before the plug is pulled.  Good managers should move to terminate both ineffective employees and failed business initiatives much sooner than normally occurs.  But in many cases, as a result of emotional attachment, or the general inertia that exists in many organizations, it takes an economic downturn, or bad times to rid the company of both ineffective employees and business initiatives that have failed because when it becomes necessary to cut expenses, neither can survive the axe.  It would be better if this was done in the regular course of doing business, using reason and facts as the basis for decision making.  In the long run acting to end the misery will be better for all concerned.    

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