It’s the holiday season. Celebrate. Go fire somebody.
We’re often surprised how many business leaders we see putting off painful but necessary changes in their business because it’s just “not the right time”. More often than not, this paralysis involves a problem employee. I get it. It can be hard to provide tough feedback to an employee who isn’t cutting it, and harder still to let someone go, but you need to work on your assertiveness skills if you want to be a good leader. You know it needs to be done, but you want to do it at the best possible time.
And that time just always seems to be sometime in the future. During the holidays business leaders are especially prone to kicking problem employee cans down the road. We often see leaders hesitate because they think there’s something particularly insensitive about having a tough conversation when they think they’re supposed to be handing out bonuses and turkeys. Who wants to be Scrooge?
Well guess what? That’s the philosophy of the timid. Of the scared. Of the doomed.
When we teach the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) to leadership teams, we constantly challenge our clients to ask whether they have the right people in the right seat. First, we develop clarity around core values and the major accountabilities for every role in the company. Then we hold up every person in the company to the bright light of core values and non-negotiable role responsibilities. If there’s a gap, we highlight it as a critical issue and we flog it like a horse track matinee nag until a decision gets made about how to solve that issue.
Why? Because if you don’t have the right people in the right seat you sentence your entire team to underperformance and frustration. You compromise your culture, and you undermine an organizational commitment to accountability. You give your company the gift of stagnation. Until you make hard decisions about people who shouldn’t be in the role they’re in, you’re sowing the seeds of mediocrity and dissension throughout your organization. And if you sew those seeds, I guarantee you will reap that harvest.
Be honest. You know there are people in your organization who don’t have the horsepower to get the job done. And you probably know what you need to do about it. And yet you postpone the inevitable separation, perhaps rationalizing that you need to wait for a slower season or until you’ve identified and trained a replacement. Or until the holidays are over. Or whatever.
There’s always a reason to put off a painful but necessary change in your organization. There’s just never a GOOD reason to do it. The delay is costing you in the form of decreased productivity, distraction and angst. If you know what needs to be done, then do it. Give people the gift of honesty and opportunity to find a role where they can thrive. Give your company the gift of leadership and decisiveness. Celebrate the season. Go fire somebody.