My reluctance to let people go (see how much easier it is to use euphemisms?) hurt the company and wasted a lot of peoples’ time. I thought that firing people was cruel and unkind. Over time I learned that not firing people, when firing is necessary, is really about selfishness on the manager’s part, and about a false sense of control and importance.
I could go on, and I did. Firing people is the first chapter in my new book about the lessons I have learned as an entrepreneur, and gives the book its title: Fire Someone Today. It starts with a short anecdote about John, an employee I went to great lengths to keep before finally realizing I needed to fire him.
I did not see John for almost ten years, but in the book I share what I heard about how being fired freed John to seek the Lord’s calling and to find his place in ministry, rather than the software business.
On Friday my wife went out of town, and I came into the office late and with my twelve year old son. I was surprised to find John visiting on vacation. After greeting me with “thanks for firing me!” John took a few moments to bring me up to date on his life as a pastor (and Logos user!) in Michigan, and then shared with my son how God used the difficult times in his life and career to humble him and turn him toward His purposes.
As a young boss I wanted to “be nice.” Firing John was terribly difficult for me, and I know it was far worse for him. And that is why I am so thankful that he took the time to visit last week and to provide my son and I yet another reminder that it is God, not friends or family or employers, who is in control and who works all things for good.
Fire Someone Today is published by Nelson Business (an imprint of Thomas Nelson Publishers) and will be released in April, 2006. For more information you can visit the web site at http://www.firesomeonetoday.com.