Pull the trigger

One of the toughest decisions owners and managers have to make regards people.

Rarely do employees have to be removed because they committed a crime or showed some ethical flaw. They are usually nice, and letting them go isn’t easy. So we procrastinate.

Recently, I ran into a business owner who’d attended a seminar where I’d spoken. He told me he had followed advice I gave him with regard to an employee, and a month ago replaced him. The problem was that the seminar was 10 years ago, and it took a little too long to pull the trigger.

As tough as it is to let people go, it is sometimes necessary. The company should benefit, and it is often better for the employee. He or she is not prospering and may have a better opportunity in another organization.

But there’s always rationale for not following through. Sometimes it is the devil you know versus the devil you don’t know. Or you are concerned how other employees will feel.

Jim Collins, in his book “From Good to Great,” stresses the importance of having the right people doing the right jobs. Great companies become great only after they have the right people.

He describes it as “getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus and the right people in the right seats.” Until this happens, the chances of becoming a great company are not good.

Companies strive to achieve great things. They set their sights high, then wonder why they have difficulty getting there.

The answer is often their people. They want to achieve great things but don’t have the best people. They endure mediocre performance and expect great results. It just won’t happen.

Should you fire everyone and start over? No. But the situation does require removing those who are not right for your organization, then looking for talented people who are right. Businesses should continuously recruit, finding people who can improve the organization and removing those who are not contributing.

A good company with a team of good people can always attract more good people. Why not take advantage of the economy and make someone else’s loss your gain? Joel Strom ([email protected]) is director of Joel Strom Associates LLC, the growth management practice of C&P Advisors LLC. The firm works exclusively with closely held businesses and their ownership, helping them set and achieve growth objectives while maximizing their profitability and value. Contact him at (216) 831-2663.