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I Have Had to Fire People

Posted by Bob on September 4th, 2004 under Bob's Book

You may have gotten the impression from “I Got an F in Fear101” below that people offered to take pay cuts to work for me because I was easy on them or I was too nice to fire them.

I was known for “letting people go” as the euphemism for firing them now goes. But I talked to them first and tried to be sure they had another job before I let them go.

Something that is easy to forget is that I was the one who made the mistake in hiring them in the first place. I was supposed to the decision-maker, so they were my responsibility.

The people I want are the ones I don’t “delegate authority” to. I DUMP responsibility on them. Good people absolutely glory in that. I have to stop THEM from working themselves to death.

I try not to hire people who don’t want that. If they fail, it’s largely my fault for making a bad choice, and I was hired to make exactly that kind of choice.

Remember the members of my book team work their butts off and don’t get anything for it, not even people dropping by


and thanking them.

But, despite the fact they don’t get paid, it is still very hard to get on my inner team. One man offered to help me with the drafting and editing. I gave him an assignment and told him I wanted it back in a week, “We’re not big on excuses.”

That’s an understatement.

He got it back to me in exactly a week. It was a good job, but more important for a new man, it was on my desk, or on my computer, on time with no urging.

I told him that if it hadn’t been there, he would have been out, “You are supposed to push ME, not the other way around.”

So I am just as hard on people whose only reward is to work for the cause as I am on paid employees.

So I fired a lot of people in my career. But the good ones just kept coming.


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