Cutting ties with the knots that snag your growth


Knowing when to make tough, but healthier personnel decisions 

One of our favorite parts of working with our clients is getting to know some of the different personalities from each organization. We enjoy being the “fresh set of eyes” that can bring a new perspective to a business. But sometimes that means needing to open a tough dialogue with our clients when we realize that someone they rely on isn’t the right fit.

Now, this isn’t the type of feedback that anyone wants to hear. It often leads to terms like “involuntary termination” or “letting someone go.” But hear us out — as your business evolves, your personnel needs will, too. Let me share a few scenarios that identify when it’s time to think about having that awkward conversation:

The non-proactive administrative assistant. This person gets things done, but is more of an introvert than an extrovert. Perhaps that was exactly what you needed as a start-up, but now that you’re growing, you want someone who can take on a more interactive role.

The overwhelmed Controller. You brought in more and more clients and hired more and more people. Now you’ve started a new division or entity. Your Controller, who used to work an occasional late evening, is now coming in on weekends and staying later than you. You haven’t seen your financial statements officially closed in a few months, but your Controller is not asking for help.   

The manager who isn’t respectful. They don’t return your phone calls; they are short and not forthright with all the answers to your questions. This person holds a lot of responsibility and you rely on him/her greatly, but the lack of teamwork is starting to wear on you. 

The irritable and grumpy coworker. It’s not just you; others at the water cooler are talking about how negative this person is. People come to you instead of approaching this person, which hurts your team’s productivity.

These individuals may be so in over their heads they can’t see their situation and come across as angry or tense. Or they are not wired like you to take their career into their own hands and make a decision to move on – they NEED you to make it for them. Or, perhaps, they were just the wrong hire. Whatever the reason, something’s got to give.

It’s always better on the other side
You may be thinking that it will be difficult to replace someone that you rely on for certain tasks, or that yet another personnel change will be tough on your staff. But trust us: you will be better in the long run. Despite any initial discomforts, soon you’ll start hearing rumblings of how happy your clients are to work with their new project manager. You may even hear “What took you so long?” from your employees.

As consultants, we aren’t contributing at our strongest if we don’t share ALL of our feedback — even the tough stuff. But as long as you are open to a new perspective, you can never lose from this process.

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