325: Hire fast, fire faster

My close friend and mentor Chris Powers left me with a note about the people inside of your company, and he says that your culture and your company are a byproduct of what you’re willing to tolerate. It’s not about how good your best performer is, but about how bad your worst performer is, and anybody at the bottom will drag your company down.

If you’re the owner of a company or manager of a division, this is vital for you to learn. I’ve hired over 500 people and fired 7. The employee that always seems to let you down, makes little mistakes consistently along with the occasional big mistake, you need to fire that person tomorrow and move along.

There’s never been a time that I fired somebody where I wasn’t extremely thankful that I did so two weeks later, and most of the time that relief is immediate. In fact, I’m usually wishing that I had done it earlier. It’s a huge weight lifted off of my shoulder, and an opportunity to build back my culture.

It’s easy to say that you’re too busy to fire somebody, but you’re wrong. You can afford to lose that person, build back, and hire somebody new. You need to take ownership of your business and make it happen. Very rarely do these employees turn around and become good employees, you need to focus on growing your business and turning around the environment in the company.

It sucks, it’s not fun. But it’s your job as the owner of the business. I’ve never been a fan of babying employees. I’ve argued with my business partner about this in the past because I always want to fire fast.

Many times it’s your fault, you set your employee up for failure for one reason or another. We’ve given uncomfortable severance packages because the employees deserved it, but you don’t deserve to deal with stressful incompetent people at your company. And it’s unfair to your other employees, your customers, and even your investors if you keep them around.

I believe that over half of the people in this world are incompetent. They make terrible decisions, they don’t communicate, and they let their emotions get involved too easily. It’s your job to find competent ones and employ them. I can manage difficult people and give them room to be successful, but I don’t have patience for poor decision-making. I can’t be a babysitter. Hire fast, fire faster.

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About Me

I started the Sweaty Startup in December of 2018 because I believe the Shark Tank and Tech Crunch culture is ruining the real spirit of low-risk entrepreneurship.