The Art of Firing

Further to my blog “Who Aren’t You Firing and Why Haven’t You?” there are some critical points that Guy Kawasaki brings out in his instructive blog “The Art of Firing People”.

    We know that any strength taken to an extreme can become a liability. You do not want to be known for your “rapid firing” abilities like the pirahna’s in #4 “Give People a Second Chance” on Guy’s list. On the other hand I have seen too many instances of a leader leaning too much in the opposite direction and being seen as the “shakiest gun in the west”.


“Be Firm” (#7) is important. You need to go into the meeting with the intention that “this is it”. There is no wavering in your mind. At this point you have done your homework. You are convinced this is the correct course of action. There is no turning back. Otherwise this should be a different conversation.

    Likewise #8 “Don’t be guilted into anything” is self evident. However you must resolve these questions in your mind before the meeting. Consciously review the potential questions you may be asked and prepare your answers. With the help of your HR, be well aware of what you can answer versus what you should not answer. For instance, you should not get into “what ifs” or commiserating about how bad this is. Also prepare for a potential hostile response.

Of course it goes without saying “Don’t disparage the victim”(#10)

Lastly #11 “Look in the mirror” reinforces the basic leadership development tool of “continuous learning”. Take 5 minutes and make notes on what you learned that you can apply starting now and in the future. Look for what could have been done differently to have prevented this……better job profiling, candidate screening, professional development, feedback, performance reviews to mentoring and coaching.

Some final thoughts:

    Firing should never become routine

      Too frequent firings means something is askew with your management process

        Too few firings may signal complacency

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