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Firing for Retention

Retaining Your Best People by Firing Your Worst People

If I could give one gift to most of the firms I have worked with, I would give them the gift of firing people. At Ingenuity, I was the CFO: Chief Firing Officer, not because I am heartless, but because I reserved my heart for the “A” team.

Each time I had to fire someone, I was usually the last to know. My “A” squad knew it weeks or even months before. Finally one of them would come into my office and just look at me and I would know I had to do this for them. Because the worst thing for the “A” team is the “C” team. They ignore the “D” and “F” squad completely and let them play solitaire on their computers. The “B” team they usually tried to mentor or put in a spot that works. But the “C” team? No matter what you do to help them, they just cannot be trusted to get work done well and on time. Or their interpersonal skills are so bad they are painful to work with. They say they know what needs to be done, but really they are not reliable. They obfuscate, deny and fake it. They get assigned less and less work because they are untrustworthy. And they are not going to make it.

As a manager of people, the very best thing you can do for “A” team retention is fire those “C” people. Fire the complainers, the whiners, the deniers. Let go of the ones who sow discord, complain, and never met a deadline they could not blow. Stop feeling sorry for the sad, the disheveled, and weak ones who keep promising to get it together. If you really want to keep your best people, put on your big kid pants and let those people go.

Would you like someone to come in and objectively assess your team, acknowledge the “A” people, maybe have a hard conversation or some training with the “B” squad and or even help you fire your “C” people? Send me an email or call me at 651-274-6461 and we can talk about how to keep your best team.

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