You Are Fired! Why You Will Never Regret Acting Too Fast



If you were the CEO of two companies simultaneously you may decide to be cautious and thorough with the actions you are taking when in fact the opposite is needed.

Jack Dorsey has just past 100 days in his role as permanent CEO of Twitter while continuing as CEO of Square and now he is starting to take action. Jack Dorsey fired, (or actively encouraged resignations of), four of his nine executives. Some may view that as being far too ruthless. While I don’t have insider knowledge, I have orchestrated enough executive musical chairs to know that this was not a coincidence and it was not a moment too soon. 

The greatest barrier to CEOs making changes is hesitancy not speed. Dorsey isn’t a typical new CEO, he knows Twitter inside and out and has observed the results, or lack of them from the sidelines. He could act rapidly.

Here are three crucial lessons that will enable any leader to act rapidly and fire and inspire the right members of your team:

1. Know the size and scale of your business in two years.

Consider what expertise and capability you need, assess whether you have that in your current team. Don’t have everyone in the biggest jobs of their lives. You will suffer. Hire the team that can run your business the size and scale your business will be in two years time. I call this creating your leapfrog organization.

2. Mismatched is different from under performance

When companies grow fast, requirements of everyone change as fast as growing bamboo shoots. Before you know it you have a tangled mess of confused responsibilities. Not everyone can keep up with rapid growth. Often you need to clearly move people into roles that they are perfect for, whether that is inside your company or not. Under performance occurs when realistic expectations are continually missed, those people you have to treat differently.

3. Always be building followers

Dolphins follow each other in giant pods of thousands. Leaders often forget that they need people in unison behind them. How can you replicate the followership of dolphins so when you need a certain expertise or executive you can rapidly find them?

The pain of Twitter is impacting Dorsey personally, he lost his coveted third comma when his personal valuation dropped below a billion dollars. Now he has to fight to get it back and satisfy the investors, customers and employees of both companies. To do that he will need to continue to be ruthless, in a thoughtful way with who he surrounds himself with. 

Dorsey is a featured leader in my book Thoughtfully Ruthless: The Key to Exponential Growth (Wiley, April 2016). Sign up here to get early access to a free chapter.

 



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January 30, 2016

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