This is no fun but we all have to do it someday.
About 3 weeks ago, I was forced to terminate 2 employees at the same time. It was tragic.
Honestly, this is one of the hardest things I ever had to do and never done it before. So not having any experience did not help.
There is no good way to do this but sometimes it just needs to be done.
They were a husband and wife team with 3 small children. I know, I’m a tyrant. At least that is what it looks and sounds like.
Many people actually believed this. Nothing I can do about that.
Needless to say it’s been a tough 3 weeks emotionally, logistically and financially. I have thought about this so much to the point to where is could have paralyzed me. In truth, it was close and I’m not easily shaken.
So much goes into a decision like this and it’s difficult to weigh the final outcomes or consider the collateral damage.
But I have learned so much from this experience and it reminds me of a quote from Nelson Mandela…
“I never lose. I either win or learn.”
I have learned and I want to share some takeaways with you. The reason for my decision should be very clear to you but in business, sometimes we just get complacent and ignore the obvious.
- Be clear on the vision of your business.
It becomes the compass by which you can measure everything else regarding your business. These employees were not in line with my vision. It also makes it easier for your members to understand any decision you make.
- Be clear on your core values.
These are statements that represent the core of your business and all those associated with it. These employees violated my core values. I can’t allow that.
- Make sure you have the systems in place to cover for a situation like this.
This couple was responsible for over 60 sessions per week and it was difficult but we got it done. One less coach and I would have been in a bind and back to working full time which is virtually impossible with my other responsibilities.
- Protect your business and your clients and don’t feel bad about it.
Those are YOUR clients and it’s ok to fight for them. You pay for the marketing, the advertising, the overhead and you earn them, not your coaches. Fight for them!
- Put non-compete clauses in the employee contracts.
It’s not the end all say all because if someone wants to leave whether they are a member or coach, you really can’t stop them but it is proof of the LACK of integrity of the other party.
- Put non-solicitation clause in your employee contracts for the same reason.
I make it clear to both parties that clients that enter into my facility are property of LEAN Performance Academy, not a coach.
- Put a non-disclosure in your contract as well.
Unfortunately many people will spread many untruths especially when they are terminated and you need a method to protect yourself if the need arises. Some people are just unreasonable as you probably have experienced at some point in your life.
- Consistently listen to your team and evaluate the health of the unit.
Honestly, this is where I went wrong. I saw problems and issues ahead of time and for whatever reason overlooked them for too long. This was my biggest fault. I realized I can’t fix everything and I have to keep a closer watch and communicate with other team members about issues particularly.
- Consistently listen to your members and get feedback.
The same applies here, I had some warning signs and subtle complaints about negativity and I just chalked it up to human nature but I should have investigated further.
- Keep your integrity and maintain silence no matter what happens.
The length that some will go to attempting to build themselves up is literally beside me. Situations like this make dishonesty and slander the menu for the day no doubt. This just confirms your decision.
- Focus on your “why” and your vision.
This is super important. I won’t lie…I was very distraught and discouraged to watch people leave my facility based on lies and criticize me. It was tough but I had to focus on the “why” of my business and the vision that I have for the future as well. That vision made me realize that the people that left and the coaches were not in line and needed to go anyway. This is a part of doing business. I demand a certain environment in my facility. I would rather close down then to have someone else dictate the atmosphere of my facility and direction in which my business should go. Not a shot.
- Overdeliver to your loyal clients.
Forget those other people. Ignore the FB posts. Act as if they don’t exist. It works like a charm and proves that you are serious about what you say you are serious about. Prove to your loyal clients that they are what is important and that you are dedicated to providing them the best possible service and experience around. Then do it.
- Overdeliver to your loyal coaches.
Reinforce your core values and beliefs as well as your vision and relay to your coaches that your system is proven and dedicated to building them up and making them the best version of themselves as well. Sometimes, overlooking the problems of other team members will cause an injustice to your loyal staff members.
- Remain positive.
Everything will make you want to curse, fire back on Facebook, rebut in email correspondence, prove them wrong, expose them and show their dishonesty. Don’t. Take the high road!
- Save money.
If you build a great community and great coaches, you will always suffer a loss when this happens. Be prepared, that is the key. Make sure you have a backup plan in place financially. Cash is king.
Change your policy if need be. Train your staff different. Be thorough in your strategy sessions with your policies. Make sure your business is positioned around you and not your coaches. Change will always be necessary.
Move forward full steam ahead, don’t be buffaloed into thinking you have made some huge mistake. You may not be able to fix everything and sometimes it’s trial and sometimes it’s error. Continue to grow and don’t let anything stop you.
- Build your Ideal Business, not that of your coaches or your clients.
That’s the risk you decided to take and the reward you shall reap.
- Take a day off.
You can’t solve the world’s problems in 1 day completed overwhelmed, stressed and aggravated. That’s why you own the business, one day off won’t hurt you, it will only serve you well. Your business should always serve you.
- DON’T hire husband and wife. LOL
I sincerely hope this helps you and if you are a stand-alone trainer, use this to your advantage in the future when you begin to build the business of your dreams.
By Fred Zoller
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