Sometimes you have a business and you know there’s something wrong, but just can’t place your finger on it. Then, you look around and notice that every time a particular person walks in the room your stomach gets a little tight and you just don’t feel as well as you did before they walked into the room.
If this happened to you, then you are getting a signal you need to pay attention to.
This was the exact situation I had with one of my clients.
I was taking a new client through our day and a half program we call The Objective Review. The purpose of this process is to help our clients take a look at the important things in their life and make decisions about how they can make their life better.
We were going through all of the issues we could identify in his company except one. The issue was one with his general manager. It was an issue that he never admitted was there until I talked to him about it. And then he still wouldn’t recognize the issue, at least at first.
You see, the issue was he and his general manager hated each other. This was a giant roadblock that was keeping him from running a successful company. One that no one in his company wanted to admit was there or was willing to talk about.
This caused a really big problem.
The company was often late delivering products, quality was lower than they wanted it and no one in the company would take responsibility when things went wrong. These problems all came from the general manger. The General Manager never took responsibility for anything that happened and if there was something that looked like it was his fault he would always find someone else to pin the blame on.
When I pointed this out to the owner he first pushed back and said that I was wrong. He just didn’t want to believe what I said was true. He wanted to spend winters in Florida and felt that if the general manger was gone, so would his plans to spend the winter in Florida.
Eventually he had to take action. Things had gotten worse and if he didn’t do something about his manager life could get much tougher than not spending winters in the Florida.
A really funny thing happened after he took action.
Finally, he took the action he should have taken years before. He fired his general manager.
Nothing that he feared happened. In fact, everyone rallied and stepped up to make the company work better. Almost immediately the culture in the company went from blaming to one of being responsible for what happened.
Managers started taking responsibility in their areas and people from different parts of the company started talking to each other. Instead of having a company that was on the verge of falling apart he had a company that allowed him the freedom he really wanted. He was even able to spend two months in Florida…..something he thought he wouldn’t be able to do for years.
It’s really hard to admit that things aren’t working well.
Not letting his manager go wasn’t an ego thing. The owner really felt that he could find a way to get along with his manager. After all the manager had been there for seven years. What he learned was that he had lots of capable people who could fill the void. He learned that telling himself the truth really was an important part in getting what he wanted.
My client had a really hard time coming to grips with letting his General Manager go. First, there was the emotional part. The manager had a family and his family had needs. The owner worried that if he let the manager go, the manager’s family would suffer. He never looked at the other fifty employees he had and asked how their families could suffer if things got worse.
With some coaching the owner decided the best course of action for everyone was to have the manager leave. He finally let the manager go and he gave him a very nice severance package.
This allowed the General Manger the ability to move on. It was a hard thing to do and like many fears none of the issue the owner worried about came to be true.
You need to start by telling yourself the truth.
I want you to look around your company and ask yourself this question: Is there anyone in your company who makes you want to leave as soon as they walk into the room? If the answer is yes, you probably already know what to do.
You need to always tell yourself the truth about the staff that works with you. You’re not going to get any help in this area. No one is going to tell you that one of your employees isn’t cutting it, especially if that person happens to be a senior manager.
A funny thing might happen.
When you tell yourself the truth and you take action with a problem employee don’t be surprised when your good employees ask you what took you so long? It’s not that they just noticed there was a performance problem; they were waiting for you to take action.
If you let a problem employee go you might notice that some of your employees have what appears to be a change of personality. That’s not what it is. They’ve just gotten permission to act like they always wanted. You gave them that permission by telling yourself the truth and taking the right action, even if it was years overdue.
Most of our employees want to do the right thing. Way too often we let our managers get in the way of great work. Don’t do this in your company.
If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t right.
I want you to learn this lesson. When things don’t feel right, they aren’t. This does require that you tell yourself the truth. It requires that you take action if you know things aren’t right.
When you do this, you’ll find a huge weight comes off your shoulders. You might find that you even smile a little more. For me, smiles are always worth it.
What do you think, are you willing to tell yourself the truth about those around you?