This week’s question from our portal “Ask Us Anything” comes from Val.
My question is about leverage and doing the right thing, even if it’s the hard thing to do. I see how I can create more revenue in my business. In order to leverage and create the revenue I want, I realized I have to make some hard decisions—I have to let certain employees go. I put them in the wrong spots in the company; they’re continually under-performing, and they don’t fit with where the company is going anyway.
Basically, they need to exit the business. So, I need to have some hard conversations with them. How do you let someone go from your organization, so that you can grow in a gracious and elegant way? Right now, I feel guilty that I have to let these people go in order to get where I need to go.
There’s an old saying: “When it’s not working for one person, it’s not working for both people—but only one is usually conscious of the problem.”
When you let someone go, you’re not doing something “to” them—you’re setting them free to go do something that will make them happier, make them more money, or give them more opportunity.
Nothing is set in stone forever. Things change.
It’s actually part of your responsibility to recognize when things need to change, so that you can let people go accordingly. This allows them to continue moving forward with their own life.
The way to have a conversation around letting someone go is to keep it really simple.
My CEO, Steph Tuss, says when you let someone go, you don’t have to go into a whole lot of detail about why. Instead, you can offer the person a chance to have a conversation with you about it later. That way, the emotion of it doesn’t distract from you giving feedback to that employee.
Use the phrase, “I’ve decided.” Don’t ever start firing someone by saying, “I’m thinking about…”
Say, “I’ve decided that you’re no longer a fit. We’re going to offer you such-and-such as a severance package, in exchange for employment release,” or whatever the technical term is.
And, “Your last day will be X. Happy to have a much more detailed conversation with you about why it came to this decision. But let’s schedule that for a couple of weeks from now.”
My recommendation is always to just do the clean, simple, easy thing—make the decision based on what’s best for your business, and have a conversation about “why” later down the road.
The success of your company is your foremost priority. You know that for the company to be as successful as it can be, you need somebody better in that position.
Your standards are getting higher. You’re becoming a stronger leader, so you’re holding people more accountable. There’s nothing bad about that, nor should you feel guilty about that.