Monday, June 15, 2009

When People Take Advantage

Since I moved to my current job over a year ago, I brought three people from my old company to my new one. These are all highly talented, skilled people that I enjoy working with. So far, they have all been very successful in our new company. Recently I tried for number four and so far, things are NOT turning out as well as I had hoped. In fact, results have been dismal.

This most recent person I brought over to my company, Rick, was VP in my previous company. He left that company about 6 months before I did, after getting into some serious disagreements with my former CEO. Nevertheless, he is a very talented individual who added a lot of value to my previous company and I enjoyed working with. I always thought that he got a raw deal when he was let go.

About six weeks ago, when it became apparent that I needed a consultant to assist me in some key projects, I reached out to my network, and it turned out that Rick was available. Since I knew him well, respected his abilities and thought that he would be perfect for the job, I brought him over for a three-month full time consulting stint. My hope was that during this period he would gain a lot of exposure to my CEO, who would then offer him a full time executive position.

Rick's responsibilities and tasks were well defined. I spent a decent amount of time with him, teaching him about our products, introducing him to key people around the company and clearly explaining the results that I needed. On several occasions I asked him whether he understood his role and whether he needed any further guidance or assistance from me. Each time he responded that he had everything under control.

Three weeks into his consulting gig with us, he is failing miserably. And what's worse, he is acting as if he doesn't give a damn. He shows up to work at 10 AM and leaves at 4 PM. One day last week he didn't even bother to show up until noon and when I called him to find out what's going on he explained that he had some errands to run.

In my line of work it's not all black and white. I am VP of Business Development and Marketing for my organization, and I hired Rick to do some business development work for me. This kind of work is all about results, it's not about the time you put into it. For all I care, he could spend three hours a week working and spend the rest at the beach, if he got me the results that I am looking for. You also need to understand that I am not a micro-manager. I am the kind of executive who explains the mission and checks in twice a week to make sure that all is going according to plan. I don't have the time to do anything else, even if I was so inclined. As long as you accomplish the task, you do not need to see me or talk to me more than those two times a week. Until last week, it looked like Rick was on shaky ground, but I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. Last Friday, I received Rick's weekly written report, and things are not going well. In fact, it looks like there are not that many things GOING at all.

It's time to take action.

On Monday I will meet with Rick and explain to him that his performance is not to my liking. I will lay down the law and explain when I expect him to be in the office and what the results I am looking for are, on a daily basis. I will also explain that if things don't work out for me and VERY quickly, his contract will be terminated.

I don't like it when people think that just because they know me they can cheat me out of what I am entitled to receive. I also don't like it when they interpret flexibility and latitude as a license to slack.

It all comes down to this: if you report to me, your performance reflects on mine, and I will not accept anything short of excellence. Friends or no friends.

I will keep you all posted.

By the way, the worst job in the world apparently has nothing to do with working for me. Meanwhile Money Smart Life talks about a different kind of scam...

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1 comment:

Joel Rotem said...

I had a similar experience, maybe worse. My thought was that if someone is working for a friend, he will put in extra effort to do a good job. Boy was I wrong.

Several jobs ago, I was a co founder in a start-up company. I bent over backwards convincing my partners to bring in this super-talented but bad attitude guy who was a friend of mine in a previous job. I basically vouched for him telling my partners that he would perform since will "behave" since he was working for "ME".

Turns out it was the other way around. After paying to relocate the guy from Europe, he came in and within days proclaimed that 90% of the job was "not interesting" and "beneath his abilities". We had to let him go and I had not spoken to him since.