You need a core group of loyal dedicated people to help you grow your business. However the people you start with are not always the right people to take you where you dream of going. This is probably one of the most uncomfortable and toughest decisions you have to make as an entrepreneur.
What I’m suggesting applies to any team size or type, virtual, in-house or outsourced.
It can be a huge barrier for most people and for myself, I know its never easy making the decision to part ways with anyone. This is one of the reasons why you have to be committed to developing your team so that they can grow with you.
“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” – Richard Branson
Making the decision to train your staff when resource and money is tight is never an easy one. I understand, but not doing so will mean that your team may not be able to keep up and adapt to the fast rate of change that most small business have to grapple with especially when they are growing at a fast pace. The change, often times, becomes too much for some people and some of them will try to cope by resisting change and sometimes becoming territorial and try to keep things as they were in areas where they have control. This is not a great situation to have in any workplace. It only serves to counteract all the work you or your team may be doing to grow your business in other areas.
The best you can hope for at this point is that some of these people choose to move on when they realise that they can’t keep up with the direction the business is going but if they don’t, you need to find ways to help them come to that realisation.
There will occasional also be people who will refuse to grow even when you’ve provided them with the opportunity to take courses and develop the skills that can help them keep up with the changes. They tend to also have a sense of entitlement because they have been with you for a long time and have genuinely contributed to where you are now. What do you do with these people?
Do you decide to stay with them out of a sense of loyalty and guilt or do you let them go?
Here are some suggestions:
- Take them on the courses that you attend
- Share concepts from the books that you read. Infact get them copies of the books. They might not read it, but at least you are making an effort.
- Put them in roles that compliment their strengths
- Meet with them regularly and keep them informed with development in the business and the wider industry and where you need them to develop skills to tap into any gaps
- Help them find a better role in another business so they can move on with your support and blessing
Don’t just sit and hope that they’ll change.
I’ve seen this scenario played out in a lot of owner managed businesses. The business is unable to move forward because the owner is carrying the weight of a brother, sister, uncle or long-term employee that really helped the business to take off at the start but has since ceased to be an asset. These people may even have decided they are not interested in developing themselves and neither are they going to move on.
Its not all doom though, some people are so great that you’d be a fool to let them go but there are others (and you know who I’m talking about) who you know you have to let go if you want to keep growing.
It’s a tough and difficult decision but you know what you need to do, don’t you?
Have you ever had to let staff go? How did you handle it? How did you do it?