I have never met a leader or a practice owner that regretted firing somebody that was a poor fit for their team. While I have not had to let many of my teammates ‘find other, more suitable employment’ one example comes to mind.
Stacy (not her real name) was a pretty good DOFI. DOFI stands for ‘Director of First Impressions’, a title shared by all of our front desk personnel. All the patients loved her and she took care of the data entry and scheduling portion of her job well enough. The downside was that she was often late and her ‘sick days’ tended to fall on the Friday before a 3-day weekend. I must have put up with a half-dozen ‘throat hurting’ and family emergencies (I think her grandmother died twice) and way too much aggravation before she finally pushed me over the edge. After a very dramatic sick call, she posted some great pics from the lake on Facebook! We let her go the next day, only to find out that she had been stealing co-pays from patients for on and off for over a year.
Lesson learned! I should have let her go as soon as I figured out that she had an integrity problem. Here are a couple of relevant quotes to help us remember to make the decision to remove people from our team more quickly. I find that it helps to think of ‘firing’ as rectifying my own mistake in hiring the wrong person.
“The moment you feel the need to tightly manage someone, you’ve made a hiring mistake” (Jim Collins)
“Don’t beat yourself up if you get hiring wrong some of the time. Just remember, the mistake is yours to fix.” (Jack Welch)
So if you find yourself tightly managing someone or smelling a culture mismatch, move into addressing the problem without delaying to see if it will rectify itself. If its a problem with competence, you should be able to address it and see improvement. Chris McChesney of Franklin Covey said it best:
“If they can’t do it, they are in the wrong seat. If they won’t do it, they are in the wrong organization”.