Several months ago I was faced with a problem that urgently needed to be solved: I had a team with many C-Players and to become a champion the team needs to have A-Players. What do I need to do? Fire all C-Players and leave only the A? Can I afford to continue losing any A-players because the C-players were nice people, loyal to the company for a number of years, etc etc??
Finally I took the decision and then I felt relieved and of course exausted in an effort to «re-establish» the team simultaneously with good production and encouraging the survivors.
I felt very relieved when a friend suggested me an article with ten tips on firing non-performers at New York Times.
1. Do it fast – I was late
2. Be authentic – Only when I really understood what made me delaying the decision I was able to make it.
3. Cover your legal bases, and be financially fair and reasonable. –We always need to do that.
4. Be binary – The moment you feel that any support to them would not produce any dramatic change then you should know that the end has already approached.
5. Understand why your A-Team managers need you to do this – It’s part of the game to have to fire at a point of time; it is not the easiest neither the happiest part but it is absolutely necessary…
6. Understand that the person you are firing could be an A-Team player somewhere else – This is the role that a good consultant could play with an outplacement programme; I think it is very difficult for the firing manager to advise the person who is fired for a career transition or generally for the next step. Unfortunately not all companies offer this benefit.
7. Understand why the person under-performed, and make changes to ensure this type of person doesn’t make it on to your A-Team again. – Many times it is easy to know what it did not work but it is very difficult to identfy what it is going to work. Who said that life is easy?
8. Over-communicate to the rest of your team and other stakeholders – Honest, immediate and clear communication is always a key component to retain trustworthy relationships; especially in today’s conditions.
9. Have a transition plan- Always have plan A and plan B and in some cases you will need a plan C, but in my opinion above all be ready to work hard.
10. Use this transition to make other critical changes – Firing and especially firing top management in a company is not the best thing to happen – for anyone; at lest when it happens we need to use it as an opportunity to build a sounder and more robust environment. In other words, do not repeat the same hiring mistakes during replacement.