The statement about hire slow and fire fast has been around for ages and most of us in a leadership position can say that we all agree with the idea.  Even though we all may say we believe this statement we need to ask ourselves if we really live by these words.  Last week I talked about the article written by Eddie Jackson that talked about how Alabama football stays at such a high level every year.  This article made me look at all of my teams and ask the following question: who is raising the bar and who is lowering the bar on the team?

  • Most of our team members come into their job with a great attitude and a desire to succeed.  Not all of them, but I believe that this statement is true more often than not.  It is interesting (sad) to see this level of excitement slowly fade away at some stores.  Our retention and growth of our newest team members can really be a true reflection of how our long term team members treat their daily tasks.  Over the past couple of years we have tried to pair up all of our team members with mentors.  Our hope was that not only would new team members feel more welcomed but existing team members would also have a direct line of communication with leadership.  Looking back at the past year I can say that we didn’t fully embrace this ideal.  Even though we didn’t have 100% commitment for the entire year we did see some wins and loses along the way.  We did notice some trends with certain leaders and how many people that they were mentoring had either moved up or moved out of the organization. 
  • This brings me to the main point of today’s post.  One of the hardest decisions we have to make in any company is to let someone go.  Typically the longer the person is in our organization the harder that action becomes.  It is sometimes our veteran team members that we feel that we cannot live without so we let them get away with actions that we would stop immediately in a new team member.  The problem is that once we accept certain behavior from our veteran team members, the newer team members learn this is how we do things.  This attitude can spiral out of control if it is not addressed quickly and convincingly.  Performing a life raft exercise at least once a quarter is a good way to evaluate who is really part of your inner circle.  List all of your team members on a piece of paper and then pretend that they were all floating in the ocean and you drove the life raft.  Who would you pick up, in what order and why.  Is there someone that you would not pick up?  Sometimes we get too comfortable in our daily flow and are afraid of the change that will come with letting someone go.  At the end of the day we will experience much longer pain by keeping the wrong people in the company versus the short term pain of letting the wrong people go.  Think about how much time and energy the wrong people can take from you, imagine if you put that same time and energy into the right people that always move your team forward.    

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