Not sure?

Not sure?

Yes you are.

You’re just scared. Which is understandable. But you’re sure.

Is employee #2 not working out, or does she maybe just need more time? If you have to ask, you know the answer, you just don’t want to do the difficult thing. But doing the difficult things — not the easy things — is what will define your organization and could be the difference between success and failure, because that person is taking a seat, and every seat has to be filled by a powerhouse.

Maybe that marketing hire needs another few months to figure things out. It’s only been 8 months and there have been so many distractions and things outside his control and to be fair we weren’t as clear as we should have been around expectations. No, if they’re not impacting the business, they need to go, and if they can’t operate in the state of constant uncertainty and change which is endemic to startups, they can’t be here.

Whenever you’re dithering, usually the correct answer is the difficult one. The reason you’re dithering isn’t that you’re unsure. It’s that you don’t like the truth, so your emotions are trying to justify the easier path.

But your job is to do the difficult thing.

I’m sorry it has to be you, but you did put yourself in this position on purpose. It’s just, you were thinking about all the good stuff, like getting to say you’re a founder, and telling potential significant others that you own your own business, and making a lot of money, and getting to have final say over everything.

But also, this.

Team before the individual. Company before the team.

Be kind. This is hard for everyone. Making hard decisions quickly is itself a kindness, to the people directly involved, and to the bystanders, and also to yourself.

Be fair. Everyone is watching what you do, and how you handle it, because they want it to be fair too. What you do, and how you do it, is just as much for the benefit of everyone else as it is for the people involved.

Be swift. If you wait another week, it won’t get any easier, except you’ve wasted a week. My guess is, you don’t have a week to waste. And you don’t deserve to suffer longer than necessary.

I’m sorry. I understand. That’s why I know I’m right.

Do the job.

  • Sam Coulson

    I find this applies to all of us in all our hard decisions we find ourselves needing to make, both in and out of the workplace, no matter what scale our sphere of influence is.

    Despite how much emotions cloud and contort while you try and justify avoiding the correct decision, the relief, strength, and clarity that comes after doing what you know needs done totally resolves the anguish of stepping up to the plate.

    You’d think that posting this would mean that I have learned to “swing more” and wring my hands less, but it’s definitely a skill that needs to be developed and honed, and I’m still working on it. Thanks for being so open and honest in this and all your other posts.

  • Jeffrey Fry

    This gets a LOT easier if you have a culture that makes this “oddities” easier to spot and self-correct..

  • Hunter Maximillion Monk

    I’ve still never met anyone who regretted firing too early. Everyone has at least one time regretted waiting too long.

  • Encore1fois

    This reminds me of Trump meaning to fire Comey for a while and then finally doing it.

  • Jon Bird

    One of the very best ways this was described to me was this Ted talk on Leading like great Orcestra conductors. Leading without words. But if one instrument is out of sync… the whole movement is ruined. For the good of the music, you have to make that change: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9g3Q-qvtss