Making the tough decision and letting staff goWhen I was growing my first company, I convinced myself that we needed to retain our current team members, even if the business was changing in a way that meant they weren?t so effective. I wanted to protect my loyal team members, many of them friends, and it seemed to make sense. It’s a very persuasive argument because it’s always easier in the short term to stick with an existing individual who knows the business than to make a disruptive and risky change and find the right person for the future. What I found was that there were some team members who were flexible enough to grow, meet a challenge and take that next step forward, but there were some that weren?t. In my previous business, this meant that I ended up with the wrong people in senior posts which held up the development of other team members, ultimately holding up the whole business through lack of letting staff go.
[rb_inline_related]This time around, I am making those decisions much earlier. Working with my leadership team, we have worked hard to map out where the company needs to go, and what that means for everyone’s roles. For some, this has been taken up as a welcome challenge and a chance to grow and develop. For others, the direction hasn’t been one that fits with them, and so we ve parted company. That makes it sound very easy and straightforward, which of course it isn’t. This isn’t the kind of conversation any manager wants to have, and it’s a lot less fun to be on the receiving end. I can, however, vouch for it being the right thing to do. As a business leader, your role is to support the team as a whole, even especially when that means making difficult decisions. You also have a duty to your team members who ultimately don’t want to or aren?t able to contribute to your company’s future to help them find a new role in good time and leave gracefully for a position where their skills can shine, and they?ll be happy.
Getting ready for the next phaseWhen I planned this stage of growth with my leadership team, it felt like a very drastic course of action. In the last six months, we ve changed four team members in our team of 12. But as those new team members settle in, and our business continues to accelerate, I?m convinced that letting staff go was the right thing to do, both for our business and for my former colleagues. For me, this is a big lesson learned. I certainly should have acted earlier in my previous companies to ensure that I had the very best team to take the business forward.
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