After this post, some people are going to think I’m a jerk, and that’s fine. After all, not everyone is going to love you and you’re doing something wrong if you don’t offend a few people. But, for those that know me, know that I am not and that I’d go out of my way to take care of people. I live and breathe by the “take care of your people” mentality. Partially, and somewhat selfishly, because you know people will go to bat for you if you do. It is human nature. But, I’m a very execution focused individual and when people aren’t cutting their own weight, it’s time for them go.
Dealing with people that aren’t cutting their weight is a really tough situation. You naturally want to give people a try and a second (sometimes, third and fourth) chance, but, the question really is, will they ever work out if it’s not a fit right away. In my experience, it won’t work. If someone isn’t working out in the first few weeks or first couple tries, they’ll never work out. It’s time to move on and cut your losses, on both sides of the equation. The last thing you want to do is sit there and spend so much time and effort on people that are not only not cutting their own weight, but also, detracting from your ability to get things done. If I have to spend time micro-managing and hand holding someone through tasks, to-do’s, etc (and it’s not for learning purposes), I am being very inefficient with my time – that is not okay.
There are a variety of factors that go into this and nine times out of ten, it is not a personal thing. Many times it has to do with culture and other times it could just be the way people work. I have some very talented friends that get stuff done, but, it is on their own schedule and you just have to let them be. For some, that might work, for others it might not. But, if it’s not a fit for what your doing and you find that out quickly, for both your sakes, it’s time to move on. It will seriously help you both at the end of the day, rather than delaying the inevitable.
For those that just don’t cut their weight, bottom line, I could care less about any excuses that you may have. You might be an awesome person and you might be super fun, but again, this is business. I was actually almost hesitant about publishing this post because of what people might think. But, thanks to Ben Horowitz, I realized that it’s true – nobody cares – about your excuses, about your issues, or any of the multitude of reasons why you didn’t execute. When it comes down to it, a lack of execution anywhere in the organization is going to hurt everyones chances at making revenue, getting to profitability, and a possible exit/IPO.
Everyone in an organization should hold each other accountable for execution, including and especially it’s executives. Politics, talking about people behind their backs, and excuses don’t make people money. They aren’t the foundation of successful companies. And, they are definitely not the characteristics of companies that provide shareholder value or lead to exits/IPOs. Need more proof of this, look at Yahoo!’s stock price over the last few years. (Actually you don’t even need to look to know it hasn’t done anything.)
Execution is such an important part of startups and being an entrepreneur, more important than ideas in my opinion. (I’ll try to explain this in a later post). If there are things that are distracting from execution, including and especially people, cut it short before you hurt your businesses ability to become successful. Otherwise, you are failing your team, your investors, your shareholders – and most importantly, yourself.
I’d love to hear your thoughts: How have you delt with people who don’t execute? Do you believe in hire fast, fire fast? How do you ensure execution in your company?