In a previous article, “Why You Might Have To Fire Your Jack-Of-All Trades,” I explained that versatile employees able to perform in a number of capacities can be an asset during start-up, but can later become a significant obstacle to growth.
Instead of having a team of utility players covering all the bases, a growing business will likely need to employ subject-matter experts with the skill sets to drive business outcomes and take a company to the next level. Unlike the Jacks, the Masters are able to manage, expand and lead their specialized divisions, while maintaining vastly different capabilities and qualifications than the CEO.
It can be a very difficult decision to let good people go, especially if they have proven to be competent, loyal and hard-working during the initial phases of the company. It might even feel ruthless. But there comes a time when it is necessary to assess if everyone working for you is the right fit for the future.
Reach Out and Coach Out
Utility players deserve a chance to rise to the occasion by demonstrating their ability to learn and specialize. Give them the opportunity to decide whether or not they can make that transition, and let them choose what’s best for themselves, and for the company.
Want to See Where Your Business Stands?
For long-term success, it is vital that business owners have an accurate picture of where they are today.
An intrepid business owner should facilitate the process by leading a candid employer-employee conversation about corporate goals and the role every employee plays in achieving them.
1. Identify why the current skill set does not match the requirements of the role. Explain how the more specialized role is a vital part of your company’s future. Next, outline the specific requirements needed for the person fulfilling this function, including any education and training qualifications, and explain your performance expectations.
2. “Coach them out.” Once the employee can clearly see that their skills fall short of the requirements of the specialized role, give them an opportunity to grow from good to great. Coach them toward attaining goals that require more specific knowledge and give them the space to learn and try out the new role.
3. Allow them to choose. When all is said and done, the employee will either elect to get behind this and fulfill the needs of the new role, or decide that it’s not doable for them. Giving them the option of resigning makes for a cleaner break and will help them bounce back faster.
If you suspect that your Jack-Of-All Trades is no longer the fit your company needs, coaching them out is a respectful approach to transitioning at the crossroads.
By empowering the employee to make the choice and ultimately own the decision whether to stay or go, you create a win-win situation. Either, you now have an opportunity to retain and develop a keen subject-matter expert out of a loyal employee; or, you reward a good worker with a dignified exit.