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Know when to fold ‘em

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in Leaders & Managers,Performance Reviews

It’s no picnic when you have to fire people for poor performance. Wayne Downing, a retired four-star general who ran the U.S. Army Special Forces, says you’ve got to do it.

Most of his bad calls were about people, Downing admits: “I knew I had to take people out of a position. I knew they weren’t going to change, and they weren’t going to do what had to be done. But it’s traumatic when you do that.”

His advice:

  • Specify what needs to change.
  • Provide plenty of help.
  • Mobilize the social network to support your judgment.
  • Make the process open and fair.
  • Act based strictly on results.

— Adapted from Judgment, Noel M. Tichy and Warren Bennis, Portfolio.

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