Why You Have to Fire Ned

January 7, 2020

Written by Sean McDermott

PEOPLE CORE VALUES MANAGEMENT ACCOUNTABILITY CHART

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Knowing which employees really “belong” in your company is a puzzle.

Life and business go smoothly when your people fit your company’s culture (“Right Person”) and sit in seats that they’re ideally built for (“Right Seat”).

On the flip side, the cost of getting it wrong is also very real. So how do you know if you have the Right People sitting in the Right Seats?

The Cost of Keeping a ‘Ned’

In the late ’00s, a partner and I bought a 25-year-old company. We inherited a team that included a leader we’ll call 'Ned', who ran a major part of the business.

Ned had been with the company, and in his current role, since its founding. We thought we’d hit the jackpot. He seemed like a decent sort and he knew how the whole operation worked. My partner and I were confident that we could rely on him to run his part of the business while we focused on growing other areas.

It didn’t work out that way.

From the start, we faced a series of challenges that required our leaders to band together as a team and fight for the greater good of the entire company. The person who was least able to do that was Ned.

Over the next several years, we experienced bewildering frustration with him. His department’s output was fine, but he was very hard to work with. No matter what we did, the credit for the good ended up in his department and blame for the bad always landed on someone else.

Out of sheer frustration, and to keep other leaders from jumping ship, we eventually fired Ned. It took us a long time to get there, and the cost of that delay was huge. All along, we knew intuitively that things weren’t working well. Yet even when we fired him, we still struggled to put our finger on exactly why he had to go.

Discovering a ‘Ned’ in Your Business Sooner than Later

Years later, reading about the People Analyzer™ tool in Traction stopped me dead in my tracks.

The People Analyzer™ is a simple tool in the EOS® system that shows—in black and white terms—whether an employee “belongs” in your company. Using a simple rating scale, the tool is an instant indicator of whether or not an employee fits in your culture and is right for their position.

Reliving my Ned experience, I knew instantly that if we’d had the People Analyzer, solving that puzzle would have been simple—and quick.

Viewed through the lens of the People Analyzer, it was crystal clear that Ned was in the Right Seat (technically great at his job) all day long. But he wasn’t a Right Person for us because he simply didn’t hold the core values of “Teamwork” and “Fight for the Greater Good” that were essential to our company’s culture.

Companies running on EOS use the People Analyzer to help hire, fire, review, reward and recognize their people. It creates immediate clarity about who does and doesn’t belong in your organization. And when someone doesn’t belong, it helps you zero in on exactly why and what you need to do about it.

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