Thursday, January 06, 2011

The strangest thing of the year

In the past year, I have picked up a skill: Letting people go who work for me. I have had to fire people from projects in Cleveland and now my Minneapolis gig too. I've had people quit. And I've had to learn that it's not a failure on my part when someone is not right for the job and needs to go.

In Cleveland, I had to fire 3 people from the team who were simply not performing. It was very hard for me, given my desire to see the best in everyone. But when a person takes an emergency leave because his wife has taken ill, and then shows pictures in the office of the fishing vacation he took from that weekend, then there is a problem.

I knew coming into this gig in Minneapolis that there were problems. Within 3 weeks I had taken two leads and "helped them" demote themselves: This was good - they were FTEs who were promoted past their comfort levels and were going home crying every day from stress. I helped them find roles on the team that were more to their speed and brought in leaders.

On another team, I had a very bad contractor lead, and I had to can him straight out: I worked with him for 4 weeks, coaching him, but he never rose the the challenge, and when he left me holding the bag during a crisis, I decided "I'm doing his dang job already, I might as well stop paying for two of us to do it". So he's gone.

I had one consultant who couldn't take the pace of the project and requested to be removed, so she's out next week. Another saw her pull that off, and has asked the same of her company. One is good, one not so much, so it's hard, but it's not personal. These people were run hard and beaten down before I got in there. The fact I've only had 2 go so far is actually pretty good.

Then i had some new contractors start: Nice enough people, but after 2 weeks, we can tell they don't know what they need to know, so they're out too.

I'm like Eric the Red. And we're 45 days from golive. But I am still happy. And I have learned this skill. It's not one I knew I needed, but I'm happy to have it.


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