Tip From A Business Coach: Fire Those You Cannot Inspire

Business Coach Step 3: Inspire or Fire

This part of the hiring process can really wear you out if you are not intentional about inspiring your teammates and if you approach the management of your people without a business coach plan. When you manage people, you must understand that most humans behave in a fairly predictable way and that for the majority of people, their emotional state controls two thirds of the actions they take on a daily basis. The bestselling author of Emotional Intelligence, psychologist Daniel Goleman, once said, “If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.”

This business coach quote used to make my brain explode because I’m old school. If I’m paying you to do something, I personally believe that you should do it and be happy to do it because you are being paid. However, today’s generation doesn’t care what they are supposed to be doing until they first care about why they are supposed to be doing it. Simon Sinek once wrote in his bestselling book, Start with Why (Penguin Group, 2009):

“There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it. Very few people or companies can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do. By WHY, I mean your purpose, cause or belief – WHY does your company exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care?

People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it. We are drawn to leaders and organizations that are good at communicating what they believe. Their ability to make us feel like we belong, to make us feel special, safe, and not alone is part of what gives them the ability to inspire us.”

Although this entire quote irritates me personally, Sinek is correct. So as an actionable item, I encourage you to fill out the Define Your Why Team Inspiration Worksheet available at www.Thrive15.com/DefineYourWhyTeamInspirationWorksheet. When you finish filling out this worksheet, you will have clearly defined why your business does what it does in such a way that it will resonate with your new hires and your entire team. When you learn how to consistently inspire your team, things begin to change.

Schedule Time for Culture Building Activities

As a doer who does not have a strong need to emotionally connect with everyone every day about my or their deep feelings, this is the part of management that I personally do not like, but I know I still have to do. You must schedule regular times for your team to get to know each other. At the Elephant in the Room (one of the businesses I own), we do this every morning. Each morning, the store manager huddles up the team for 15 minutes to go over the following items:

  • Big wins and positive stories from yesterday
  • Burning fires or issues that need to be resolved
  • The game plan for the day

These morning huddles keep everyone connected, everyone inspired, and any small fires from spreading. My friend, you must work very hard to develop a business coach culture of excellence, positivity and proactivity or your business will struggle.

“We have been successful because we’ve had a simple strategy. Our people have bought into it. Our people fully understand it. We have had to have extreme discipline in not departing from the strategy. We basically said to our people, there are three things that we’re interested in. The lowest costs in the industry — that can’t hurt you, having the lowest costs. The best customer service — that’s a very important element of value. We said beyond that we’re interested in intangibles — a spiritual infusion — because they are the hardest things for your competitors to replicate. The tangible things your competitors can go out and buy. But they can’t buy your spirit. So it’s the most powerful thing of all.” -Herb Kelleher (The co-founder and former CEO of Southwest Airlines)

Step 4: Fire Those You Cannot Inspire and Who Cannot Do What Is Required

If you can’t inspire someone or if they just do not fit into the company culture, you must fire them quickly. When people think about Zappos, they think about a great company culture where everyone is happy, yet their CEO bluntly said, “I fire those who don’t fit our company culture.” Elon Musk, the billionaire inventor and entrepreneur once said, “One lesson I learned [at PayPal] is to fire people faster. That sounds awful, but I think if somebody is not working out, it’s best to part ways sooner rather than later.  It’s a mistake to try too hard to make something work that really couldn’t work.”

I can keep giving you quotes from super successful people all day, but ultimately you must accept that it is important to quickly part ways when a team member shows they cannot be inspired and cannot do what is required. The longer you take, the tougher it gets and the more hurtful it is for the person being fired. However, because of various labor laws and for ethical reasons, I wouldn’t recommend just hauling off and firing somebody unless you have given them some type of previous warning known as a “write-up.”

[1] Fill out Define Your Why Team Inspiration Worksheet

[2] Schedule daily, 15-minute huddles for the entire team

Marshall Marination Moment: Continuously Fire the Bottom 10%

This action step may seem intense and unfair but let me break it down for you. Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric who grew the company by 4000%, argued that every year, the employees and managers performing in the bottom 10% should be fired. I’ve seen many business owners look at me with shock on their faces when I’ve pointed out this principle to them, UNTIL I point out the facts. A 2014 Gallup Poll (“Majority of U.S. Employees Not Engaged Despite Gains in 2014”) showed that a mere 31.5% of employees are engaged at their jobs every week. This leaves 68.5% of employees “not engaged,” 17.5% of whom are “actively disengaged.” By “actively disengaged,” I mean this 17.5% of employees go to work AND LOOK FOR THINGS OTHER THAN THEIR JOB TO DO! THAT IS CRAZY! Who is the harsh person? The manager who only cuts the bottom 10% (when he could cut the entire disengaged 17.5%)? Or the manager who allows the disengaged employees to stick around wasting the business owner’s resources? You should accept that firing will become a part of the regular operation of your business as it scales, so it’s important that you take note of what’s being discussed here.

December 11th, 2017

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