I was recently working with an advisory firm owner who wanted to fire one of her employees.
Now, as you may know, after many years of working with advisory firms, I’ve come to the belief that firing someone should be an owner’s last option, taken only after all other attempts to salvage the situation have failed. However, sometimes it is necessary, and this owner had decided that time had come.
I’ve also learned that when you fire someone is important. As it was a Thursday that this owner had come to her decision, I suggested she wait until Monday to do the firing.
Of course, the next day, Friday, she calls to tell me that she “just wanted to get it over with” and had fired the employee that day. (If I had a dollar for every time my clients don’t listen). And, of course, I got a call the following Monday from her, telling me that she felt she had made a terrible mistake — that she couldn’t undo.
(Related: What to Look for When Hiring Young Planners)
Most owners of independent advisory firms wear many hats. But the most important job they have is making decisions. That’s because small businesses (and even the largest of the independent firms is still a “small business”) have limited resources and, consequently, can’t afford to waste them on bad ideas or hasty decision making.
Unfortunately, making good decisions usually isn’t easy.
To make better decisions, I advise firm owners to have a decision-making process that works for them. However, the process should include a rule that they give themselves time to think about important decisions after they have been made to ensure it’s the right decision for them.
Firing someone is right at the top of the list of important, and difficult, decisions.