Who Do You Need To Get Rid Of? – The Hard Work Of Executive Team Leadership

I recently had lunch with a top-notch business consultant – you know, the kind who has the ability to listen well, diagnose really well, and then prescribe the next steps for the company to go forward.

Like many such good consultants, he meets with the executive team, in a series of sessions, helping them come up with the best way forward.  In the midst of our conversation, he said this:

“Every time I take a company through the steps of the process, somebody has to leave.” 

Whoa… that was enough to get my attention.  But, it should not come as a surprise.  Getting the right people, and the right mix of people, on the team is beyond critical.  Get this right, and many future possibilities become even more possible.  Get this wrong, and the whole enterprise is in jeopardy.

Oh, and by the way, the right team today, made up of the same people tomorrow, may no longer be the right team tomorrow.  Each team member has to keep growing, developing, stretching, to ensure that tomorrow’s team is as healthy as today’s team.  Today’s critically important person may turn into tomorrow’s downfall.  So, this process is constant, and ongoing.

You’ve read the books, and they all say the same thing.  “Get the right people on the bus…,” and all that.

But making a change with such a key person on the top team – “getting rid of someone” —  can be excruciatingly painful, and difficult.  (But, keeping that person who is simply no longer right for this team, now, can be every bit as painful and difficult – maybe more so).

Or, in other words, leadership requires some tough, difficult decisions.  That’s why good leaders are so rare.

So – back to the title of this article:  “Who do you need to get rid of?”


And, here’s a bothersome footnote.  Say you are the ”top leader” of the team.  What if you are the person you need to get rid of?  What then?

Here’s my answer – call me, and I’ll give you the name of a really good, gutsy business consultant.  He’s dealt with this a time or two…

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