Fire Fast!

Tony Morgan gave a talk at a conference recently about 10 mistakes he's made in leadership; Tim Stevens blogged the list and ironically (for a reason you'll see below) the very first one was:

#1 Hiring Too Fast. Firing Too Slow.

I have scene first hand the carnage that firing too slow leaves behind. At my company all new employees get a learning period. After that learning period it is very difficult to let people go. Therefore it is extremely important that people are evaluated and decisions are made about their performance in a timely manner. And in the unfortunate times that things aren't working out, people have to be let go. If this doesn't happen you get stuck with people who hold others back, frustrate their leaders, accomplish little, and are detrimental to the rest of the team.

Today, for the first time, I had to bring an employee into my office and inform them that they were being terminated. It was unpleasant. I was nervous and my stomach was kind of feeling weird. But I had to do it. The person had shown, over an extended period of time, a pattern of behavior that was hurting the team and they had done nothing to change their behavior after being coached on it several times. I knew that letting them go would be tough, but in all honesty, the pain of letting someone go is much less than the problems that come when someone is kept around too long.