Some time ago I had a conversation with a client’s Integrator. This was one of those lessons-learned conversations that are painful to have, but are fertile soil for learning and growing. They had just fired an employee and it didn’t go well.
In our conversation, I learned that this was a person we had people analyzed a year and a half earlier, in an Annual Planning Session. He had failed the People Analyzer™ at that time, but the leadership team was reluctant to let him go. Instead, they decided to start a “three-strike” process.
As it turned out, they never followed through. They talked themselves out of it, and 18 months later, the employee felt blindsided by the termination.
It was a painful and difficult termination, but the leadership team’s actions had farther-reaching effects as well. Not only did this People Issue impact the company’s internal operations, but it also impacted their clients.
External Repercussions of a Bad Hire
Sometime before terminating the employee, the leadership team creatively used the People Analyzer to evaluate all of their clients, to determine whether each client was a good fit. While this isn’t the intended use of the People Analyzer, it was a creative way to gain some helpful insights into their clients.
The exercise also revealed a pattern: the clients that this person worked with proved to be the company’s most difficult clients. It was evident that they weren’t the right fit, because the clients didn’t appreciate what the company did for them.
The leadership team knew that the employee was impacting the company’s internal operations, but now it appeared that he was also impacting the external operations in working with clients. The leadership team was struck by the realization.
As they began meeting with several of these non-ideal clients, my client learned that there were several gaps between the clients’ expectations and what the company was delivering. These were issues the leadership team had never heard before. It was very eye-opening.
Clearly, this person had impacted external operations in a significant way. While he was good at getting new business in the door, clients were going through frustrations that weren’t being addressed.
Nip Your People Issues in The Bud
Now the leadership team has a new opportunity, as they realize in a new way the importance of Right Person Right Seat—both for internal and external operations.
After the events of talking with clients and terminating the employee, the Integrator shared with me the lessons he learned from that difficult experience. Here’s what he shared with me (and gave me permission to share with you):
- We need to be honest when it comes to the People Analyzer. The leadership team was reluctant to be brutally honest about the employee’s shortcomings because he was well-liked. People wanted to see him succeed, so they gave him too much benefit of the doubt.
- We must communicate that honesty to the team member at their Quarterly Conversations™, or sooner if it necessitates that. In failing to discuss the People Analyzer with him in an open and honest way, his supervisor gave the impression that everything was fine. This perpetuated his shortcomings.
- By doing 1 and 2, tough conversations will go easier and be less of a blindside.
- I need to be better about being accountable for 1-3.
It is critical to follow through when somebody doesn’t GWC™ their seat or share your company’s Core Values. While it is never easy to let someone go—especially a likable person—you may be doing more damage than you realize by keeping them on your team. It’s not fair to your company, your clients, or the person who needs to be let go.
Solve Your People Issues—Fast!
The speed of your company’s success is in direct proportion to the speed of addressing your People Issues. Leadership teams that have been running on the Entrepreneurial Operating System® for years still make Right Person, Right Seat mistakes from time to time. The good news is, EOS® gives you a way to learn quickly from your mistakes and solve your People Issues for good.
Previously published on the GPS For Small Business Blog
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