10 Sep Navigating
Last month, I had the misfortune of having to fire an employee. She’d been working less than eight weeks, but it was clear she wasn’t right for the position. In the words of “Good to Great,” she was not one of “the right people on the bus.”
In his book, Jim Collins equates a company with a bus. His premise is that one has to have the right people “on the bus” in order to go anywhere. I think that’s an apt analogy. Managing a company is a lot like driving a bus. In fact, it’s like driving eight miles to the peak of Mount Washington in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The road is narrow. There are no guardrails. You’re constantly moving over to let other cars pass. And there’s absolutely nothing between you and an eight-mile drop – except your navigation skills.
Keeping the bus between the lines is difficult – even with the right people. But with the wrong people, it’s practically impossible. When an employee is in the wrong job, it affects everyone in the organization. Like dominoes, a mistake made by one filters its way through every department. And when it’s caught, it must be corrected – in every department. Workloads increase. Profitability decreases. And both company morale and client confidence suffer.
If you don’t address the problem, you will lose good employees, good clients and, eventually, your good reputation.
About 2/3 of the way up Mount Washington, I discovered I had some anxiety about heights. I was terrified I’d go off the side of the mountain with my mom and daughter in tow. Luckily, my mom didn’t share that anxiety. So she drove back down. I was glad she was on the bus. And I’m glad I have the passengers I do on the WilsonMcGuire Creative bus.
Our bus is small. There’s no room for extra baggage. And when we come to an area that one of us doesn’t navigate well, there’s always someone else to take the wheel. And that makes for a pretty sound bus. Now if we could only figure out who has the map. . .