#303: Before Whining and Firing, Aim To Manage Wrong Into Right

Reading time: about 1.6 minutes

We are living in an interesting economy. Some companies are strategically shrinking while others did not get that memo. Some companies are firing while others are hiring. It’s enough to make economists and self-proclaimed oracles quite dizzy.

Let’s ponder what we managers can manage. Not from a senior executive’s perspective, not from HR’s perspective, but from a line manager’s perspective. Hiring and firing. (Yes, we can manage that better, believe it or not. See the founder of Sony’s reasoning below.)

As reported, hiring is still happening. This means that the odds are that some poor manager somewhere is going to hire the wrong person for the job. If you are that manager, then this advice is for you.

Maybe you are not hiring. Maybe you just feel you have a wrong one on your hands. This advice is for you as well.

But first, what is “wrong” for the job? I have no idea. You decide. After all, at work, it is your job to recognize right from wrong. And vice versa.

Does this mean you are to blame for any “wrong” for the job? I have no idea. There are many reasons someone once deemed “right” for the job ends up “wrong.” You are only one of many probable causes.

What matters is what you do next.

You have three options: Live with it. Get rid of it. Or manage it.

But remember this. You are a manager. You are supposed to manage problems into successes. Not vice versa. So, before you start whining and firing, be very sure that there is no way to manage the “wrong” into a right.

Get it right and you won’t have to play on the hiring firing seesaw again.


(Akio Morita, the founder of Sony, once said, “If we face a recession, we should not lay off employees; the company should sacrifice a profit. It’s management’s risk and management’s responsibility. Employees are not guilty; why should they suffer?”)

Welcome to my side of the nonsense divide.