John got home a little later from work than usual and when he walked in the door he could smell the wonderful dinner that Mary was getting ready to serve the family that evening. He thought to himself, “How lucky the kids and I are that I found such a wonderful woman to be my wife and their mother.”
As the family sat at the table, John asked Mary, as he usually did, how her day had gone.
She said that it had gone fine – other than the fact that she had experienced the worst tooth cleaning of her life. John asked her what had happened.
Mary said, “Well, it’s probably my own fault. I should never have gone to Al’s Auto Repair to get it done.”
Mary would occasionally cross over into the slightly-warped dark side of humor and John thought that statement was one such foray. He put down his fork and he and the kids began laughing at the joke Mary had made.
Mary looked annoyed – which was unusual for her. So she said, “You think that’s funny?” Then she retracted her lips and to the shock of her family they could see that her once pearly-white teeth were streaked with grease.
Of course you realize I fabricated this story, my point being that it is important to try to select the right person for any particular job. Perhaps even more frightening than Mary’s selecting someone totally incapable of doing what she needed done was that they actually attempted to do it knowing full well that they didn’t have the expertise.
I have hired a great many people over many years of owning my own business. I always put a great deal of thought into the individuals who were interested in joining us because I felt that we had to be mutually-comfortable in the commitment we would make to each other.
I viewed our relationship not so much as one between employer/employee but as a marriage. We had to be compatible and we had to share a basic philosophy and work ethic. Lacking those elements, our relationship was ultimately doomed to failure.
As I’ve said in previous posts, I always viewed the failure of any employee as my failure – not his. Either I had made a poor hiring decision based on what I perceived to be the nature and character and potential of the person whom I had hired; or I had failed to inculcate our corporate philosophy in that individual or they were unwilling to accept it. Whatever the case, it necessarily meant that we would part ways – sometimes through my choice and at other times through theirs.
Letting an employee go was the part of my job that I hated the most. It was difficult for me emotionally because I knew that my decision would have a major impact on the employee’s life – at least in the short term. But I also had to consider that by getting rid of some dead wood the whole tree had a greater chance to survive and flourish.
Admitting that I had made a mistake was as difficult for me as it is for most of us. But when you see the handwriting on the wall, an intelligent person should not fail to read and act on the message.
Have we hired the right person to lead this country? To what can our employee, the President point as being justification for keeping his job? Are things better or worse than they were when we voted for him based on what he said his nature and character and potential were? If not, it’s time to prune the tree of the dead wood so that it has a greater chance of surviving and flourishing.
Admitting that we have made a mistake is always embarrassing. Choosing to pretend that we haven’t is simply ignorant and is likely to lead to disaster. Given those two options, I’ll select a moderate case of dealing with egg on my face. Because I know, it’s always important to try to find the right person for the job.