“As a leader, you get what you tolerate.”

Susan Scott, Fierce Conversations 60 (2004).

Nonprofits often hire slowly and fire slowly. Both can hurt the organization. Hiring slowly may allow the best candidates to get away, since in-demand candidates generally don’t stick around. Firing slowly forces an organization to accept under-performance longer than it should.

This maxim doesn’t mean you should hire and fire people without a solid rationale. But if you have an effective hiring process, the new hire should be able to contribute. If you have performance issues, intervene as soon as you can. It is rarely compassionate to keep someone in a job for which they aren’t qualified.

Susan Scott’s book is a great resource for managing tough conversations. For great tips about performance issues and firing, try Alison Green and Jerry Hauser’s excellent Managing to Change the World (2012), particularly Chapter Nine.

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