Do You Pull the Band-Aid Off Slowly, or Quickly?

Do you prolong decisions or make a decision quickly and deal with consequences later?


[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hen I was a pre-pubescent lad, back before there was time, I quite often had a cut on my arm or leg. My mother, having extensive medical training, immediately put a Band-Aid on it. These days Band-Aids seem to fall off if you wave your hands rapidly in the air, but back then, they stuck to your skin, and also any hair you might have growing underneath.

Being a hairy child, after the Band-Aid was starting to come off, it still clung tenaciously to the self-same hairs.

It was then that I had a choice to make: work it off a hair at a time, prolonging the agony, but having less of it, or just yanking that sucker off. I usually spent many long minutes cajoling and wiggling that sticky strip off, sometimes cutting the hairs with my pocket knife as I went.

How about you? There is a local dealership which has been direct competition to me for many years. In that store is a parts man who is very, very experienced. He is also rude and ill-mannered to many of his customers. Many times I’ve heard from my clients that – let’s call him Billy-Bob – has pissed them off for the last time.

I know that the owner has had many complaints over the years about Billy-Bob, yet refuses to get rid of him. This, of course puts me in a quandary; while I hate to see employees sabotaging a business, I also have a lot of schadenfreude, knowing that this particular employee is sending business my way.

Recently at a dealer meeting, where myself and the owner of that shop were having a long drawn out (there may have been beer involved) discussion, Billy-Bob’s work habits were brought up. After me telling him just to get rid of him, he said “I know that he’s not the best employee I have (THAT was an understatement), but he’s very experienced, and if I got rid of him, I wouldn’t have anyone who could take over.”

It was soon evident that my wise council was not being listened to, so I took another swig and changed the subject; after all, Billy-Bob was good for me.

We have all had employees that were knowledgeable, but turned customers off, and probably caused other great employees to quit in frustration as well.

In this case, I’m a “Yank that Band-Aid off as quickly as you can” kind of guy. I don’t care how valuable you may think he is to you, just GET RID OF HIM! (not to be accused of sexism, GET RID OF HER, if that’s the case). He is poison, and no matter what you may think of his knowledge, he is slowly killing your business. You could look for some perfect replacement, but that takes a while, and in the meantime, Billy-Bob is sending business elsewhere.

Your business will, perhaps, have a small bump when he’s gone, but in the end, you will not regret it. I have yet to talk to anyone who, after firing a knowledgeable problem employee, has regretted it. Not once.

You may find that your other employees, who have seen how Billy-Bob treats customers, will step up when they see that you believe in better service. And when looking for a replacement, the best hire is not necessarily the most knowledgeable, but the person with the best attitude.

Attitude is almost impossible to teach: you either have it or you don’t. You want the employee that, even though he or she may not know that particular fact, they will find the answer, and pretty soon, you have not only a bright, knowledgeable employee, but also a work environment which is a lot less stressful, and a lot more enjoyable.

Wouldn’t that be nice?

Some say his tears are adhesive and that he’s scared of bells. All we know is his identity is hidden for various reasons. Send us an email if you have a topic for him to cover at: [email protected].

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