Shortly after putting Get Rid of Poor Performers, They Cost More than Their Salary on my list of topics to write about I came across an article by Mark Suster titled Startup Mantra: Hire Fast, Fire Fast, that makes the same points. Suster hits the hesitations and fears people have when it comes to firing someone.
I don’t take any pride in letting somebody go. I recognize that it affects somebody economically, can affect somebody’s personal life and is one big blow to the ego. But if you’re afraid of firing people you shouldn’t be an entrepreneur. No startup company has any spare capacity for dead weight.
I’ve made every excuse to myself in the past, “I can’t fire him now, he owns the customer relationships and it’s a crucial point in our sales process.” Or, “I haven’t given him a long-enough chance to prove himself – let me see how he develops” or even, “it will have a big impact on morale because she is well liked. I can’t afford that right now.”
Suster also realizes these fears and hesitations are just delaying what needs to be done.
Trust me: if you know, you know. If you know, do it now. Things don’t get better. Your “Blink” instincts are right. You won’t patch things up. Delaying the inevitable is not going to make things smoother with your investors, biz dev partners, customers or employees.
Once you know someone needs to go you might as well get it over with. That way you can start moving on quicker and focusing on the work that needs to be done.