Friday Five November 30

In my experience over the last 10 years, I’ve fired two people who were talented rainmakers because they didn’t fit our culture – in fact, they were just the opposite. There are times when you need to let rainmakers go – people who are performing well in attaining their job but who do so in a way that damages relationships and people in the process. This article from HBR is a good summary. They call them “vampires”. But whatever name you call them, don’t keep them on your staff. Get rid of them as fast as possible. In my book, culture trumps competence. Hire character and culture – you can always train for skills if the raw talent is there.

Speaking of culture, we live in one that is increasingly negative. This is one of the problems I have with both the far right and the far left. Both sides are filled with such hatred that I have a hard time listening to them. This article expresses some positive ways to live in an increasingly negative culture. I found it helpful to consider their suggestions.

The quarterly Wells Fargo Small Business Index was released based on post-election surveys and the results are not good. The report states:

“Small business owners as a group are now the most pessimistic they have been since the third quarter of 2010, according to the latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index. The Index fell 28 points to negative 11 (-11) in the post-election survey conducted Nov. 12-16, 2012. Key drivers of this decline include business owner concerns about their future financial situation, cash flow, capital spending, and hiring over the next 12 months.”

I’ve commented before on why small business owners are pessimistic about the future. The election didn’t change the fundamental direction of our economy. All the unnecessary hype about the fiscal cliff doesn’t help either. But those of us who live the economy every day and bear the brunt of the storms are a good group to reference on the future state of the economy.

The best and the worst of 2012 are starting to appear already. I think just about anyone can create a list of 10 things in 2012 and probably get some added web traffic to it. This list is no exception.

Last, but not least, I’ve learned a great deal this week about myself and my company. I can’t and shouldn’t go into the details, but the upshot is that I need to heed my own advice (Undeniable Truth #65). I cleaned up a number of problems this week and though difficult, I feel liberated and free. Imagine that: resolve a problem and you feel better. I wonder how many more times I’ll need to re-learn this truth before it becomes part of what I do all the time.

Bill English, CEO