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Swimming with your clothes on (When it’s time for a staff change)
31 July 2008, by , in Rants and Kudos, No comments

Let’s face it, sometimes there is a mismatch between a person’s abilities or attitude, and the needs of the job. And when that mismatch occurs and can’t be remediated, it’s time to help that person find a new job.

But too often, for fear of looking like the bad guy, or just doing something that makes us uncomfortable, we hold on to staff that we know ultimately are causing more trouble than good. I was talking with David Gammel about this concept recently, and he pointed out that keeping bad staff is a lot like wearing your clothes when swimming: While it may feel better to jump into the water fully clothed, in very short order the wet clothes will start to wear you down and the experience will quickly become exhausting.

I’ve had the distinct displeasure of having to fire more than a few people in my time as a manager. But I can say that as painful as it was to do it, it was far better than the alternative of hanging on to someone who didn’t belong in the job. And in at least one case, someone I helped leave an organization actually told me it was the best thing that happened to him. He was just too afraid to make the move himself and I was able to help him make that move.

So ask yourself: Are you swimming with your clothes on?

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“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

Mary Pat Paris
International Registration Plan

“This is the second database implementation we’ve done since I have been at Western Arts Alliance (WAA). The first I did on my own. This time we engaged Wes Trochlil as our database planning consultant. Let me tell you, this process is a whole lot easier having Wes on your team! For a small association like WAA, it’s tempting for board and EDs to question the justification and expense of a database planning consultant. But it’s the small associations that need Effective Database Management the most. Wes strengthened our planning process, clarified our needs requirements, helped us steer around solutions that couldn’t meet our objectives, and saved us money in the long haul.”

Tim Wilson, Executive Director
Western Arts Alliance

Tim Wilson
Western Arts Alliance
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