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Fire them all

At what point does it make sense to fire your entire leadership team and start over?  I know this sounds harder than woodpecker lips, but stay with me for a moment.  Can a team become so toxic that it is beyond repair?  When should a business owner or CEO take such drastic action?  Is there value in starting over with an organization?

I rarely live in a world of always or never.  There are situations when starting over may be the best course of action.  You may need to clean the slate and reimagine the organization.  Status quo bias is powerful in any business enterprise.  Status quo bias refers to the phenomenon of preferring that one's environment and situation remain as they already are. The phenomenon is most impactful in the realm of decision-making: when we make decisions, we tend to prefer the more familiar choice over the less familiar, but potentially more beneficial, options.  If you agree this bias exists, you know how difficult it is to create significant change in an organization.  The same people behaving differently is a substantial challenge for most leaders.

I am not endorsing this strategy.  I am only examining a situation that might make this the best course of action.  Cleaning the slate is a rare strategy that gets avoided when necessary.  The leader themselves is likely the cause for the need to change if they own the business or have led the team for more than a short duration. In other words, it is easier to change one person (yourself) than it is to change the methods, ideas, and execution of an entire team.  A short-term, drastic change can be a strategy you consider for the good of the organization.  If the toxicity is beyond repair, it must get removed for the good of the organization.

So, you are reading this and believe you need to fire everyone and start over.  We first need to define who everyone is before we get the chainsaw out of the shed.  You own a small company with five managers and fifty employees.  Anecdotally, we need to avoid the temporary labor market conditions created by the pandemic.  We need to imagine normalcy for the moment.  We are talking about removing the five managers and starting over by hiring five new managers.  There are pros and cons to this strategy, including a tight labor market.  We need to approach this rationally and not emotionally.  Consider the following:

First, you must realize...

Should You Fire the Entire Leadership Team?


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