Momentum Podcast: 361
Redeployments Should Be Real
by Alex Charfen
One of the most difficult parts about building a team, bringing people together so that they can all work together is that sooner or later you're going to have to redeploy, terminate. That's right, fire someone. If you make it easy on them you're going to make it a lot harder on yourself.
I want to be clear, redeployment is not easy, it's very frustrating. If it gets easy for you then you're probably doing it wrong.
When you find yourself in a redeployment situation it's important to be clear, transparent and real. Going in it's one of the hardest conversations to have but once it's done the feeling of relief is massive. Be real and you will thank yourself for it.
Full Audio Transcript
Alex Charfen: One of the most difficult parts about building a team, bringing people together so that they can all work together is that sooner or later you're going to have to redeploy, terminate. That's right, fire someone. If you make it easy on them you're going to make it a lot harder on yourself.
I'm [Alex Charfen] and this is the Momentum Podcast made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution.
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This is one of those tough concepts to grasp when building a team and when employing people, is that redeployment's or terminations should be real. You should tell people what's really going on and you should tell them how you really feel. Here's the challenge so many entrepreneurs open themselves to. They have someone on their team. They stop performing or they're not performing the way that they want them to. They meet with them, they work with them, they do what you should do as an employer to get somebody to move in the right direction and it still doesn't happen. Then they come to the decision that they need to terminate that person, to no longer work with them, and they try and do everything they can to make the termination easy on the person. They don't tell them what's really going on. They're not transparent with them and they're not real with them. Here's why this opens you to such massive liability. Let's turn the chairs from you being the employer to you being the employee.
Let's just say you sit down with your CEO and the CEO says, "Hey, you've done a great job here. We really love you. We respect everything you've done, we've just decided to go in another direction." As a team member what are you thinking? "What, are they crazy? I've done a great job, I've done everything I should and they want to go in another direction? Why would they ever do that?" It makes you look completely incongruent and inconsistent as a CEO. Here's the challenge. When you do that, that person's going to turn around and tell people, "I have no clue what they were thinking. I don't understand what they were thinking. I shouldn't have been terminated. In fact, in my termination they told me how great I was. What were they even thinking?"
You don't want to open yourself to this type of criticism from a team member. Here's what you should do when you're terminating someone. Be as transparent and real as you can with them. Sit down with them and say, "Hey, here's what we need out of this position. This is what we've been looking for. This is what we really need. This is what we want. Here's where you've been missing on those things and this is why we can't move forward. So, we've decided to terminate you." Be as clear and as real and as transparent with them as you possibly can be.
One, this saves you from them sitting there thinking, "Why would they have terminated me?" Two, when you're real in a deployment and you're clear with somebody, there isn't a lot of discussion there. They know exactly what is going on and they know why they're being terminated. Three, you want to make sure that the person knows they have responsibility here. You as a team member, as an employer, you're actually doing them a favor. You're letting them know that they need to work through some stuff, either with you ... You know, they tried to do it with you or they're going to end up doing it in their next position. So, the more transparent you can actually be, the more you insulate yourself as an employer. The more real you are with them, the better it is for you.
I want it to be very clear, this is not easy. It's actually frustrating to terminate someone and if it gets easy for you and it's not something that's hard then you're probably doing it wrong. Every time I've ever had to move someone along on my team, to redeployment someone, it's the hardest conversation I have in any given day. It usually is one of those conversations that I'm anticipating and worried about and frustrated about and I don't really want to have. Right before I do it I'm sitting there thinking to myself, "Is there any other way? Can I change this decision? Should I do something different?" Then, realistically by the time I've decided to terminate someone it is time that they need to move on. Here's what happens in every termination conversation for me. Every single one.
It's one of the hardest conversations I'm going to have going in, and it's an incredible feeling of relief coming out because when you finally do sit down with someone and you're transparent and you let them know what's going on and you let them move onto a place where they're going to be happy and you no longer have to take responsibility for them being on your team, the relief is massive. When you're blunt in your redeployment, when you're real, when you let them know what's really going on, they'll understand where they need to correct and what they need to do next and you let them move along with real information and real understanding of what's going on.
This is a graceful way to do things. When you are transparent with someone and you're real with them, you allow them to move on gracefully. When you do terminate someone, be really with your team as well. Let them know why the person's no longer with you. If you terminated a sales person say, "We let this sales person go 'cause they weren't making enough phone calls and they weren't getting the conversions." If you terminate a customer service or member services rep, "We let this person go 'cause they weren't dealing with our clients in the way that we wanted them to. They weren't following up in the right way." You terminate someone in marketing. You tell them, "We let this person go because after repeated attempts we just weren't getting the leads that we want and we had a gap in our process and we needed help there that they just couldn't fulfill." Be real with your team when you terminate. Be real with the person, be real with your team, and you will thank yourself for it because when let people know what's really going on it makes things easier.
Now, I'm not saying gossip about that person. Don't talk about them negatively, just be factual and clear as to exactly why they're no longer with the company because when you terminate someone everyone in your company, no matter who they are, thinks, "Could I be next?" You want to let them know there's a reason this person was terminated and the reason is clear. So, everyone in the organization knows. Take away anything that's left to the imagination so that people know exactly why you let someone go. So, be real when you terminate the individual and then be real with your team afterwards and terminations will go that much easier.
By the way, they're never easy, they're never fun. They're always going to be one of the hardest meetings going in and one of the most relieving meetings coming out, but we have to do it as employers and sooner or later it's going to happen to you. So, make your redeployment's real and they will be easier in the long run.
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