Who You Fire Shapes the Team (Part of Series on Firing)

In recent postings I have discussed specifics of hiring and firing and making sure that you seek out strong subordinates. (If you missed any of those just scroll down).

While not firing under-performers soon enough is the most common unforced error relating to dismissing people there is another one: firing the wrong people. This happens all of the time, particularly in tough times with a near-ten percent unemployment rate. When budgets are tight, companies try to save money by trimming payrolls. When this happens, it is easy for the manager to surrender to the numbers and cut the most highly compensated employees. This can be a huge unforced error.

 

firing-businessmanCircuit City provides a perfect example:  In March of 2007, its CEO, Phil Schoonover fired 3,400 of its most seasoned and productive salespeople. The company was losing money and the CEO felt the best idea was to get his highest-paid salespeople off the payroll. That decision proved to be an unforced error of the worst kind. That’s because these were the company’s most talented and knowledgeable salespeople. Eighteen months later CEO Schoonover was out of a job and three months later Circuit City was in bankruptcy.

Building a first rate team is not just about choosing the right people to hire. It is also about choosing the right people to fire. And getting rid of the wrong people can be just as harmful as hiring the wrong ones. So when the time comes when someone has to go, do your due diligence and be sure to choose very carefully.

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