This is a true story. Scary, but true. Last Tuesday, I was talking with Robby, an entrepreneur who owns several different franchisees. Historically, Robby has done a fine job attracting and placing the right talent within each franchise, allowing him to be more hands off than on hand, day to day. This autonomy gives him the freedom to explore other ventures he may want to pursue.
There was one franchise in particular however that seemed to consume the majority of his time. And after further due dilligence, it was evident that all roads of contention led back to one person in particular, his General Manager, Thomas.
Since the time this weak link has been exposed (about a year now; ouch), Robby has been struggling and anguishing over the decision to fire or keep Thomas aboard, albeit his poor performance.
After I had several conversations with Robby, it looks like he decided to replace Thomas and bring someone new aboard.
While Thomas wasn’t the right fit for this position, he still had many redeeming qualities that any employer would be thrilled to see in an employee; which is what made this decision more difficult. Thomas had high integrity. He was upfront, forthright, honest and very loyal. And he’s demonstrated these qualities consistently over the three years he’s held the GM position. Unfortunately, is just wasn’t enough for him to excel in this position. For all the positive attributes Thomas possessed, he still lacked the solid business acumen needed to drive the growth of this company.
So, in the spirit of honoring and respecting his employee, Robby, being as up front with his GM as he could, informed Thomas of the situation and let him know that he was going to be replaced. Interestingly, because of Thomas’s track record in a prior position he held within the company, Robby offered Thomas the option to ‘re-assign’ his role if he was open to taking on a different set of responsibilities with the company. The GM role just wasn’t the right position for him.
While Thomas appreciated Robby’s honesty and was willing to explore a new assignment, he was still a bit blindsided by his boss’s decision to let him go. Curiously, as many people do, Robby inquired as to why he felt he wasn’t the man for this position, in a last ditch attempt to salvage his current position. Robby explained to Thomas that the company did not make any money the first quarter of the year, (one of the many issues Robby had with Thomas.) Thomas responded to Robby’s observation with what he perceived to be a strong, defensive argument. “Robby, why would you say we didn’t make any money the first quarter when all the bills were paid?”
Sure they were paid; through the company’s rapidly waning credit line! Wow, talk about a total disconnect of what it means to be profitable within an organization. The comment that Thomas made was the same as saying, “We have no money but I do have some blank checks!”