Monday, April 9, 2012

Able but not willing. When do you cut your losses.

People ask me all the time "when should I fire someone?"  Of course the situation will dictate the answer.  But it does not erase the fact that most leaders have difficulty firing team members.  I believe it's the hardest choice a leader has to make.   The consequences intended and unintended will rattle through your organization like an earthquake; the aftershocks will be palatable.  So how do you decide - when and how to make a key personnel change?  Ultimately your choice must answer the question - will my team be better in the short and long run?

The Dallas Mavericks sent home under performing 6'10 forward Lamar Odom despite owing him millions of dollars.  Odom was acquired from the rival Los Angeles Lakers in the off-season.  Many saw the the move as an important step to solidify the roster of the reigning champions for another title run.  But Odom had a tough off-season personally, admitted that he worked little to improve his game, and looked like a shadow of the player he had been with the Lakers.  The Mavericks gave Odom time, space, support, and assistance in an effort to help him return to form.  Odom did not produce.

Leaders have to determine when enough is enough.  They have to evaluate if they have been fair, just, and determined to set an environment for success for a team member.  If the answer is yes - as was the case with the Dallas Mavericks - leadership must accept the cost of a personnel mistake before it hampers the results and poisons the spirit of the rest of the team.  Leaders must serve the needs of the team before the needs of an individual. 

It is tough to admit a mistake but it's worse to ignore the facts.  People must be able and willing to do what it takes to be a successful part of a team. 

Leaders must be willing to make the tough call as the Mavericks did.

No comments:

Post a Comment