One of the things I collect are great questions. I discovered in my late twenties that if I forced myself to answer great questions really honestly, I’d get a great answer that would help me improve my career, life or even sport performance. And being honest…:) sometimes it’s hard to answer certain questions honestly, because we all have blind spots and often our habits are unconscious, so while we think we’re being truthful, the actual reality may be very different.
That’s why it’s always useful to have people around you (friends, colleagues or professionals) who you encourage to ask questions of you, and importantly, really challenge you on ‘the truth.’
One of the most challenging areas for a leader in business is in letting people go.
Ask anybody who has done well in business and they’ll always tell you that one of the key foundational pieces is getting the ‘right people’ around you. When you have the right people, problems disappear and more importantly get solved without your input.
Yet because most companies don’t have well thought out hiring processes, often the ‘wrong people’ end up in the company. And rather than help them move on, the company usually tries to ‘change’ the person by training, coaching or a plain old ‘kick in the ass’. (Often the kick works better at turning people around…)
I believe this is because the leader/company may not want to admit that they made a mistake, or they’re not prepared to eject a person before they find the right replacement. I believe this is a mistake as the ‘wrong person’ can do untold damage.
Often it’s the simplest thing that has the biggest impact. Here’s a phenomenally simple approach to take when looking at the people in your team.
1. Look at the people in your organisation and ask this question:
‘Knowing What I Know Now, Would I Hire This Person Again?’
The key here is to really go for your immediate gut answer and to log it, before your mind jumps in and tries to justify why they’re there.
If the answer is No, then consider these points:
– Why is the answer No? In my experience it’s usually because of an attitude that doesn’t fit with the values and culture of your business. But it could be because of other factors (for example: lack of training, or they could be in the wrong slot – these are possible fixes).
If it’s a NO after considering the Why, then in my opinion you have to help the person ‘off the bus’. You have to for the sake of the business. Too many leaders waste time and money trying to fix people that can’t or don’t want to be improved, when really they should just do the difficult but best thing for the business and let them go.
That one question above has solved many problems for my clients – once they’re not let off the hook and the answer it with brutal honesty…