3 Words Every CEO Needs to Know - Rick Mulready

rick mulready

3 Words Every CEO Needs to Know

July 1, 2022

As CEOs, we often have to make tough decisions regarding people on our team. One of the hardest things is making the decision to part ways with someone. 


In today’s quick tip episode of Art of Online Business, I’m talking about how to handle those hard decisions and situations in the nicest way possible. If someone has been with you for a long time and they just haven’t been performing well, it can be really difficult to bring yourself to do what needs to be done. 


There are three words that every CEO really needs to know when it comes to someone on your team. Those three words are “the business needs”. It’s never “I need”, even though it’s our business. You are not your business, so this is an important distinction because it’s not personal. It’s a business decision. 


This is always a difficult situation because we are good people and don’t want to do that sort of thing to anyone. We want to treat those people with respect and courtesy, especially in times like this. 


So regardless of how frustrated you might be or whatever else is going on, just remember it is what your business needs.


In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why letting someone go should never be a shock to them
  • How to use performance improvement plans
  • The importance of treating people with respect while parting ways
  • Why it’s never personal when it comes to your team
  • How to keep the focus on the business needs

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Hey. Hey, what’s up, my friends? Welcome to episode number 613 here on the podcast. I’m Rick Mulraney, your host here of The Art of Online Business Podcast. And so today I want to talk about if you have to make a tough decision when it comes to somebody on your team and let’s just say that you have to part ways with them for whatever reason. This is a question that recently came up from one of our students. And I think this is a really, really common type of question. And it’s around kind of like, what is the nicest way to let somebody go, especially if somebody has been with you for a long time and they are not performing and a decision has to be made about whether to part ways or not. And so in this in this episode here in this example, I’ll share not a specific example, but let’s just say that you do have to let somebody go. So let’s talk about that a little bit and what that could look like specifically. I really want to focus on three words that you as the CEO really need to know when it comes to your team. And I’ll share those three words with you here in just a second. So first, letting somebody go on your team should not come. It should never come as a shock to them. 

Right. You should be having regular check ins with them, reviews, performance improvement plans if necessary. Now, there are some caveats to that, right? So whenever we bring somebody on to our team, there’s a 90 day trial period. And it’s during this time that you’re trying to figure out if this if that person is right for for the business and vice versa. Right. Are are you right for this person? And it’s during this time, it’s like, okay, you know what? Things aren’t working out. And if it’s you’ll know very, very quickly. I’ve had to make decisions within two weeks, sometimes just because there are way too many red flags. And when the red flags are big enough, it’s like, okay, let’s make a change very quickly. And that has happened to me more than once, unfortunately. And this happened to one of our students recently as well, where it’s like, you know, after I think it was like seven days or something, it was like this was not working out for them and they had to make that decision to to let them go. What I really want to focus on, though, is if someone’s been with you for a while and they’re not meeting your expectations and you have to make that decision. So if if you are meeting with them on a regular basis, you’re checking with them, giving you doing your quarterly reviews or monthly reviews or whoever you want to do that. 

If they need some form of performance improvement plan, generally, it’s like a 30 day performance improvement plan where you have a discussion with them, let them know what’s going on, what is being seen with their performance, and you put them on a performance improvement plan. It’s like, okay, if these things aren’t improved and completed or whatever in the next 30 days based on a set criteria that you both agree to, then, you know, changes may have to be made at the end of those 30 days. If after those 30 days, let’s just say if things still are not meeting the expectations of the business after those conversations have been had, remember, nothing should come as a shock to the person, right? You may need to part ways with them. And if it gets to that point. The three words I was referring to earlier, there are these three words I really want you to remember in your conversation with that person, with your team. And those three words are the business needs. The business needs. This is something I learned a long time ago. It’s not I need write. We often go to that. We often default to that because it’s our business, right? So it’s like, I need this or you’re not doing this and I need this. 

I need it done this way. It’s the business needs. It’s you know, so many of us think we are our business, which is a whole separate topic for another another episode. You are not your business, by the way, even if it’s even if you’re like, you know, my kind of business where you are the brand, you’re still not your business. Your business sits right next to you in a chair. I’m like on video right now, if you’re watching this on YouTube, I’m patting the head of the of the business over here next to me. You are not your business. Again, a whole other episode. And so. Years ago, I used to say that I would say things to to, you know, if I had to have a conversation with a team member and I let them go, I’d say I need whenever that difficult conversation came up. And by saying that I was making it personal and it’s never personal, it’s just business. When I repeat that again, it’s never a personal thing. When it comes to your team, just it’s a business decision. And this conversation when you have to make the tough decision to let somebody go and make a change. This is happening either in person if they’re local to you or over zoom.

Right. This is not over Slack or Boxer or text. We’re not breaking up with them over text. Right. This is a person that you’re speaking to. Remember, after all, we should be treating them as such as the person that they are with respect and courtesy. And so the next time that you have to have a difficult conversation with a member of your team and you need to make a change, it’s hard, right? Regardless of how upset you might be and frustrated that this person isn’t performing and you it’s hard to do. Like we’re human beings, we’re good people, and we never want to we never want to do that sort of thing. And at least that’s been my experience and many of my students just like it’s heartbreaking. But it’s again, it’s a business decision, it’s not a personal thing. And it’s we have to remember that even though you think it’s what you need, we have to remember it’s based on what the business needs. So when you were having a conversation with that person, it’s the business needs this, the business needs whatever not I need, because at that point we’re making it personal and not about the business. And that’s the most important part. And treat them like people, treat them with a respect and courtesy that they deserve. 

Okay, my friend. That is today’s quick tip. This is actually what quick tips are mostly supposed to be about. But my episodes have gotten longer and by the length, by the viewing or listening time. You all like those little longer quick tip episodes. But I wanted to just share this with you because this is something that keeps coming up with students of ours. And I want to share this with you. Business needs not personal. It’s never personal. Thank you, my friend, as always, for listening to the podcast. If you’ve not yet click that subscribe button to the show. If you’re listening on Apple Podcast or any other platform or click that follow button, make sure you do that because we’re putting out two episodes what we have been for years and years and years. We’re about to hit 9 million downloads of this podcast this summer. I’m not exactly sure where we are or precisely, but we are pretty darn close and I’m really excited about that and really proud of that. And thank you for tuning in to each and every episode that I do here on the podcast. I appreciate you. I don’t take your time lately and attention lately, so thank you. Until next time, my friend. Be well and I’ll talk to you soon. 




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