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I May Have to Fire an Employee. Any Suggestions?

Bigg Challenge
Rick has been a manager now for about six months. He has an employee who is under-performing. Rick thinks he may need to fire this employee, but he’s never done that before. He says he would welcome any suggestions we can provide.

Bigg Advice
Do you remember the Cheers episode where Norm Peterson became the executive’s executioner – his job was to fire people. So he took them out for drinks and, by the time it was done, the employee who was being fired felt sorry for Norm. Because as Norm once said,

“It’s a dog eat dog world and I’m wearing Milk Bone underwear.”

So there’s one option, but not one that we necessarily recommend for the real world!

Company procedures
Look to your company’s policy manual for guidance on how to proceed.  Also, discuss this with your boss so you fully understand company protocol and precedents.

No surprises

Except for the most egregious situations, you’ve done something wrong if it’s a surprise. To make sure they’re not surprised, you should follow a process. For example, issue a series of warnings with repercussions for not correcting the performance deficiencies

Round and round we go

Sit down with your employee and explain the problem. Discuss what needs to be done to correct it, tell him or her when you’ll review performance again, and outline the consequences if it’s not corrected (e.g. a 3-day suspension without pay).

At the scheduled time, repeat this process. This time the ramifications have to be greater. (e.g. termination of employment). So if you reach this review and the situation hasn’t improved significantly, the result should be obvious to your employee.

You’re giving them a chance to improve their performance and also covering your liability because you’ll document this entire process and have them sign off each step of the way.

An example

George said that in his early days in business, he was managing his field staff. They worked without direct supervision because they performed work at the customer’s home or office. George had hired a young man who just couldn’t work without ongoing oversight.

George went through the rounds outlined above with little improvement. Finally, he let the employee go. He recommended that this young man get a job in a place where someone could watch over him.

He encouraged the young man come back and reapply for employment once he got used to working in a supervised environment. That never happened because the young man found that he liked working with supervision better.

Firing someone doesn’t have to be negative. Offer any help you can provide. Make suggestions. And realize that sometimes it’s just not a good fit – it doesn’t mean they’re a bad person, or that they couldn’t be helpful to any employer. It just means it’s not working out for both of you here.

Thanks, Rick, for sharing your bigg challenge. We’re sure you’ll handle it just fine.

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The One Minute Manager and Corporate Layoffs

How to Offer Criticism Without Being Critical 

(Image by w00kie, CC 2.0)

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Are You Fishing for Customers in the Wrong Hole?

“If you want to catch a trout, don’t fish in a herring barrel.” – Ann Landers

George said he’s been fishing at times when he would have been happy to catch any fish at all. He’s even had times when his friend a few feet away was catching all kinds of fish.

So he found out what his friend was using – what bait or lure – and changed his, but he still didn’t catch any fish. He concluded he was fishing in the wrong hole.
 


Fishing for business
Sometimes we experience the same thing when we’re fishing for business. We’re putting our line out but we don’t get any bites.

It may be that the customers aren’t where we’re fishing – they’re in another hole!

For example, maybe your customers are primarily shopping for your product or service online and you’re only marketing offline or vice versa.

People don’t use the internet for that

George remembers having a debate with one of his business managers. This happened to be a plumbing business. They were discussing how to allocate advertising dollars between various media. George thought they needed a bigger online presence. His manager insisted that customers wouldn’t go online if they had a plumbing emergency.

After surveying calls that came in, the manager reported back to George that an overwhelming majority of the people who had called with a plumbing emergency during that time period had found them via the internet.

Sometimes we think we know where our customers are, but our perceptions are clouded by our own biases. Fortunately, there’s a way to find out for sure.

Today’s bigg action item – survey your customers.

Find out how they learn about new things. The odds are your future customers are probably a lot like your current customers.

How one car dealer did it

One example of this is a car dealer. He had the employee who pulled the customer’s car into the service bay record what radio station was playing. He analyzed this information to determine which radio stations to use.

Is there some way in your business to naturally find out what media your customers use? If there is, develop a system to track the information so you know in which hole to cast your line.

Work with your direct mail supplier

Here’s another example from George’s service businesses. His mailing service was able to take his customer lists and ping the national databases to see where their existing customers fit in. Then they had a good profile of the people to target with future advertising – target people who are similar to your existing customers.

Survey them directly

You may just have a survey form that your customers fill out. Offer them some incentive to take the time to complete your survey. It may be a product or service you offer that’s relatively inexpensive …

… or cut a deal with another merchant – maybe even work a trade – to offer an incentive to your customers (e.g. movies, dessert, or gas)!

Related posts

There’s Gold In Them There … Customers!

Marketing With A Cause

(Image by runrunrun)

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The Billionaire and the Batboy: What Warren Buffett Learned from Eddie Bennett

Warren Buffett, the great investor who is the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway and now the richest person in the world according to Forbes, told a story about a batboy in Berkshire Hathaway’s 2002 annual report.

The batboy was Eddie Bennett, who was 19 years old in 1919. He began his career with the Chicago White Sox, who went to the World Series that year.

The next year, Eddie moved to the Brooklyn Dodgers. He had the Midas touch. They also won their league title that year. Two in a row for Eddie.

But once again, Eddie saw a better opportunity. So he joined the Yankees in 1921. They won their first pennant ever. Eddie knew he was in the right place so he stayed put. The Yankees won five American League titles in the next seven seasons. 

What did this mean to Eddie? He made as much during the World Series as he made all year. So by choosing the right team with whom to associate, he doubled his income.

And he became perhaps the best known batboy in baseball history.

5 lessons Eddie Bennett teaches us

#1 – Sometimes it pays to switch teams.
If you’re with a team that doesn’t look like a bigg winner, and you see a better one, then go for it!

#2 – Don’t have a scarcity mentality.

People who think like this can’t work with others because they don’t think there’s enough to share. Eddie shows us that we may actually make more money BY working with others than we could on our own.

#3 – You don’t have to be the star to be a star.

Eddie became famous in his own right. He’s written about just like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. In fact, he’s the first of that great trio that we’ve blogged about!

#4 – Every job is important.

A supporting role is just as important as the starring role. Eddie knew his place and the importance of what he did. He knew that if he did a good job in his role, other people would thrive in theirs. And he would reap the benefits along with them!

#5 – He had a passion for what he did.
The fans knew it and the players knew it. They respected him for the role that he played. It’s reported that Eddie and Babe Ruth became good friends because they were both at the top of their game.

What Warren Buffett learned from Eddie

In the annual report we referenced earlier, Warren Buffett describes himself as the batboy for Berkshire Hathaway. He turns the heavy-hitting over to the leaders of the businesses in which he invests. He plays a supporting role so they can step up to the plate and hit home runs.

It’s a lesson in management and leadership – give your people the tools they need when they need them and watch them succeed bigg!
 

Speaking of giving your people tools, share Bigg Success with them.
Just click on “Share This” below to E-mail, Digg, Stumble, Mixx and more

We thought it only fitting for our bigg quote today to come from Warren Buffett.

“To be a winner, work with winners.”

Otherwise, you risk striking out!

Next time, we’ll discuss tips for spotting your bigg opportunity. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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“Leadership is Action, Not Position”

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