How soon do I know that someone is not working out?

Dear Aunty B,


My general manager recently hired a sales director who has been with us four months. The first week he called individual meetings with all senior managers and then grilled them. (You can imagine how that went down.)


He also asked for two new staff because there is a part of his job that he is now refusing to do.


Last week at a strategy meeting he requested a restructure so marketing would come under his area of responsibility. (Refused. The marketing manager threatened to resign.)


The other day he made a suggestion at a work lunch that he would make a great CEO. I was so amazed at his gumption (I am the CEO) I stuffed a hot, fat chip in my mouth and nearly choked.


Meanwhile sales have fallen back to where they were six months ago and he claims it is the market cycle and not his responsibility. My GM says it is too early to judge.

I think he is a disaster and want him out the door.


Am I being premature?


Fiona L,




Hi Fiona,


Premature? Not at all. Why don’t you wait until sales are back to where they were 12 months ago, your key staff leave because Empire Builder has driven them nuts, and you are obese from sticking too many hot chips down your gob?


Look, your general manager has made a very bad decision and he is hoping that the wind will change and it will all work out. You trust your instincts and know better.


There are many key signs that this bloke is not going to work out. Sales going backwards, refusing to do key parts of his job, being dysfunctional enough to call meetings with key individuals – he sounds like a pompous git.


And I think that is the main point. If he can’t read the workplace signs, how is he going to be with your key clients? That’s if he deigns to see them.


Make sure you have given him an opportunity to understand where he is going wrong. Then, unless there is a radical change in attitude, it’s out the door. Then take GM for a beer, pat him on the shoulder and remind him we all make mistakes.


And can you do the SmartCompany community a favour? Don’t give him a reference.


Your Aunty B.


Neil Bolton from Recruitment Systems writes: There won’t be a change in attitude. He has to go, and now. And absolutely buy the GM a beer! If they don’t know they can make mistakes and still be loved they won’t make any decisions! (just as long as they don’t make the same mistakes over and over).


Read more on sacking dud staff


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