Should You Fire Your Son?

Should You Fire Your Son?

by Peter Zyla

Something is wrong with your business. Unfortunately, it appears to be your son. I know it’s hard to imagine, but sometimes firing your son is the right thing to do – for you, your business and your son.

How do we do this objectively as possible while trying to remove those tricky emotions that are naturally part of this? In other words, how do you fire your son while still having him and his family over for Christmas dinner?

This is where EOS™ comes in. One key tool that helps cut through egos, subjectivity and opinions when dealing with staff is the People Analyzer. This simple tool helps you determine if you have the right people in the right seats.

What does that mean? The right people are the ones that align perfectly with your Core Values. The right seat means they intrinsically get the job they are supposed to do, they actually want to do that job and they have the means (capacity) to do the job (GWC™).

Right Person, Wrong Seat

Let me share a story about Bob*. Bob, is the son of the founding entrepreneur, part owner of the company and was automatically placed on the leadership team. For over two years Bob struggled in his role as a leader. His father knew it, the rest of the company knew it and, deep down inside, Bob knew it.

Working with the Leadership Team, we established the company Core Values and used the People Analyzer to see how everyone “fit” in the company and their roles. Bob was definitely living the company Core Values, but one thing became clear – Bob did not “get” his role as a leader. He simply was not cut out to be a leader nor sit at the leadership table. Digging further, we found out that he really didn’t “want” the role either! In other words, he was the right person in the wrong seat.

With the realization that he was potentially out of a job, Bob broke down in the meeting. It was an open, honest and painful experience for him, his father and the rest of the leadership team. What do you do in a case like this? Bob was a great employee (demonstrating the core values) but was in the wrong seat.

When the person is in the wrong seat but clearly a good cultural fit, you want to do everything you can to keep them (find them a new seat if possible). While Bob was fired from his leadership role we found out that his passion was sales.

Bob found a new seat as a salesperson. Once he was solely focused on sales, Bob excelled, producing great results and he was much happier. About two months after the session that resulted in his transition, Bob told me, “I couldn’t be happier and I’m now the #1 salesperson in the company!”

Better for Everyone

It was better for the company because the vacant leadership team seat was filled by someone highly competent. It was better for Bob because he was in a role doing what he was born to do. It was better for his father because he was no longer in constant conflict with his son and watching him fail. It was painful to get there, but ultimately, it was a win-win!

Had this not been addressed, it would have still been painful. The company would continue to underperform because of Bob’s inability to perform his role. His father would have been unhappy dealing with his son who is not delivering. The people in the company would have been unhappy thinking that it isn’t right someone gets to lead the company who is incompetent.

Ultimately, as a leader, it is your responsibility to ensure the right people are in the right seats. That includes family members! EOS gives you the process and tools to make this happen.

If you have questions about the right people, right seats or if you would like to book a free 90-minute EOS overview with your leadership team, contact me.  

Next Steps:

*Names changed.

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Peter Zyla 

Peter Zyla, Strategic Traction EOS
Peter Zyla

Peter has spent his entire career at the leadership table of many high growth, dynamic, entrepreneurial organizations.

Usually wearing a strategy and operations hat, Peter has contributed to the success and growth of such companies as UltraVision (health care), the Forzani Group (retail), Divestco (energy services) and Forbes Bros. (construction). Peter has fought through recessions and austerity measures, navigated insane growth, crafted strategies in complex industries and spearheaded initiatives in new markets. In addition, Peter has designed and instructed numerous business and entrepreneurial courses for Mount Royal University, Haskayne School of Business and many private companies.

Peter possesses an MBA in Entrepreneurship from the Haskayne School of Business. He currently devotes his energy to helping entrepreneurs and innovators achieve this vision as an independent consultant, EOS Implementer and through specialized workshops.


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