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“We’ve hired 13 but I know I’ll lose 4” — the importance of firing fast.

Hunter Walk just wrote a good piece on the often discussed topic of firing fast.

His post really resonated with me because I was at a Board Meeting yesterday when the CEO was talking about their imminent launch into a new market. She’d just negotiated a lease on a building and, in describing her sales team, said “I’ve hired 13, but I know I’ll lose 4 by the end of the summer — I’m just not sure which ones yet.”

This could sound cruel but it really is not. The reality is that turnover is high in start-ups. Both the company and the employee often come together quickly and test each other out in the first few months of work. It’s ok to say that it’s not the right fit, it’s ok to walk away and, as long as you do it the right way, there’s no reason why it can’t be a positive experience for everyone involved. As Hunter says, firing faster usually benefits both the employee as well as the company. Procrastinating wastes time on all sides, builds resentment and is utterly poisonous to the rest of the team.

What I particularly like about Hunter’s piece is that he walks through common reasons people don’t move faster on these decisions. If you’re in this position, it’s worth reading his reasons — if any of them sound familiar, ask yourself if you’re falling into the trap.

The CEO at yesterday’s Board Meeting may end up firing no people or six, but being open to the reality that she will likely lose a decent number of them (through her decision or theirs) is realistic and smart.

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