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Articles > Positioning Systems Newsletter # 73 9-25-07 “$1000 a Day”

I’ve got several employees that aren’t performing at the standards I expect. Can you provide any evidence that their performance is affecting more than just the specific area they work in? Can you give me a more encompassing reason to release them?

One of my clients recently had been battling himself with the notion that he needed to release his brother from his employment. It was a difficult emotional struggle that he and I discussed a number of times. My job I felt was to help him see the objective element of his decision, or lack of decision so he could maintain a higher perspective on how keeping him in his position was hurting the business much more than the influence he had on the areas he managed.

I shared with him many of the important revelations from the book, Good To Great on when to let a person go. One of those was “if this were a hiring decision would you hire this person?” Another was “if this person came to you and told you they were leaving would you feel disappointed or relieved?” In every case my client could feel the right answer was to relieve his brother from his employ, however in cases of the heart, where family is involved it is never as easy as just the pure objective reasoning.  
My client eventually let him go but not after much soul searching and even some criticism from his family after he had made the decision. I admire him greatly for his decision. It took a great deal of courage to release a family member, despite the admonishment he knew he would receive from his family. What finally led him to do so was the realization that his brother was unwilling to follow the systems he had established, incidentally some of these were systems he had helped to create, and that his attitude was too laissez faire. He felt that he was never going to get the kind of commitment and sincere desire to succeed from his brother, and if this wasn’t his desire then it was better he found something that he truly could be inspired by somewhere else.
Here’s the best part. His brother held a position of some authority in his business. Apparently his dismissal had a major influence on at least one of the managers of the locations my client owns. In just one week this manager finally decided to take action on some of the suggestions the owner had been making. The result, through the influence of one Saturday’s observation by my client on the operations, he made several moves that reduced the number of employees he had on site and improved performance to the point that expenses have been reduced $1000 a day. That’s right $1000 a day. 
Can one employee have that kind of influence on your business? Is having the wrong person on your bus hurting your business? The outcome of that one decision has resulted in a $30,000 improvement per month for my client. That’s just the tip of the ice berg he feels. These are just the obvious things he needed to change. Now he feels this manager will be open and willing to work on other more subtle but necessary improvements and more progress can be made.
What were the thoughts of this manager before? Why would he not have made these changes previously? Did the brother have that much influence on his decision making and on how he managed? I offer the following paragraphs from Good to Great as evidence as to what might have been occurring: “Letting the wrong people hang around is unfair to all the right people, as they inevitably find themselves compensating for the inadequacies of the wrong people. Worse, it can drive away the best people. Strong performers are intrinsically motivated by performance, and when they see their efforts impeded by carrying extra weight, they eventually become frustrated.
Waiting too long before acting is equally unfair to the people who need to get off the bus. For every minute you allow a person to continue holding a seat when you know that person will not make it in the end, you're stealing a portion of his life, time that he could spend finding a better place where he could flourish. Indeed, if we're honest with ourselves, the reason we wait too long often has less to do with concern for that person and more to do with our own convenience. He's doing an okay job and it would be a huge hassle to replace him, so we avoid the issue. Or we find the whole process of dealing with the issue to be stressful and distasteful. So, to save ourselves stress and discomfort, we wait. And wait. And wait. Meanwhile, all the best people are still wondering, "When are they going to do something about this? How long is this going to go on?" ‘
Having the wrong people working for you can make a significant difference. In my client’s case imagine how much money he lost and wasted by having his brother working for him for so long? Is there anyone on your staff who is not committed, who is influencing others to not be as committed as you need them to be. Can one person on your staff be costing you as much as $1000 a day? Isn’t it time you had the courage to release them so they can find a place where they can be inspired? Don’t let your business be the victim of uninspired employees any longer.

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