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Life Health > Long-Term Care Planning

When’s the Right Time to Drop a Team Member?

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For years, I have preached that the biggest problems advisors have with building a team is keeping someone too long who is not working out. My mantra has been, “When you start getting second thoughts, make those second thoughts first thoughts, and pull the trigger.”

In case you are unfamiliar with my preaching, I have complied and updated my Research Magazine articles on team building.

They can be not working out for several reasons.  Here are a few.

  • Personal issues, i.e., clash with other staff, don’t care about the job.
  • Work ethic.
  • Honesty.
  • Can’t get the job done.

The problem of getting rid of team members should be relatively easy when confronted by a blatant offense. But if it’s not. It’s never easy.

A Tale of Woe

Here is a sad tale relayed to me.  The team member in question had told someone else she didn’t care about her job.  Here is how the tale unfolded.

“Boy, did I learn my lesson. I didn’t let my troublesome employee go. She was so nice, and I wanted to be nice. So, I gave her another chance. We set last Monday as a day to go over her progress. She apologized for the mistakes she had made and told me she was going to do better, and that she just hadn’t cared about her job. I was floored. I didn’t respond. I didn’t let her go. I was speechless.

“I went home and told my husband. He asked me if I had fired her on the spot. I told him I didn’t know how to respond … maybe I had misunderstood what she meant. I came in yesterday and told her I just couldn’t live with her comment about not caring … she interrupted and said, “Well, that’s where I was … I just didn’t care about my job but now I’m going to do better.”

I told her that she would have to leave, and now I am moving on. She called my receptionist today and told her she couldn’t believe I had let her go for telling the truth—and the clients would never know she didn’t care! Now, of course they knew she didn’t care! I just hope the damage isn’t irreparable.

“I just don’t think you can tell advisors enough that they need to make second thoughts, first thoughts—and to cut bait and move on!”

Another Tale

If you think that was hard, here is a tougher situation.

Let’s say your hire a good decent person. This person works well with your team, is likeable, and clients react well. But let’s say the job is “sales assistant” by which I mean their primary duty is filling your calendar. Let’s further assume the sales assistant just cannot get the job done.

You look at the positives: great personality, cooperative, needs the job.

And you look at the negative: can’t get the results required of the position.

Woe is you. You imagine, “If I fire her, I’ll see her under the bridge, blanket wrapped around her shoulders, begging for food. I have to give her another chance.”

Right here is where you will destroy your team if you don’t pull the plug.

When you get second thoughts, make them first thoughts and pull the plug.


Bill Good is chairman of Bill Good Marketing. His Gorilla CRM® System helps advisors double their production or work half as much; visit His seminar program, “No More Pies! ®,” helps advisors manage ETF portfolios using technical analysis; see And his blog,, has lots of useful information for advisors who need to beef up marketing. To preview Bill as a speaker, see his YouTube channel here:


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