Today I am going to address a question that came in from a DarrenDaily member who asked, “We’ve had to make many changes due to the challenges of COVID and the economy… how do I know when it is time to cut people from my team?”
Okay, this is a big question… and without having more details, all I can suggest with this little information is to test them…
Kinda like God asked Gideon to test his troops.
There is a story from the Bible that went something like this…
So, there’s this guy Gideon. He is selected by God to be the leader of the Israelites and to free the people of Israel from those who had turned to idol worship.
Gideon had recruited men from four tribes in order to meet an armed force of the mighty Midianites.
But God told Gideon that the men he had gathered were too many.
And Gideon asks, “Well, what should I do?”
And God said, “Try this… get the 32,000 troops together and give him your last, final wringing speech. Give them a real barn burner.” said God.
“We’re off to fight the Midianites, something like that.”
And he said, when you finish the speech, finish it like this….
“Now then that we’re off to fight… If there’s anybody here that’s afraid and you think we’re about to lose this battle upcoming with the Midianites, you can be excused this time. Go home, we can’t use you this time.”
Gideon said, “Clever. I should’ve thought of that myself.”
Gideon gets the 32,000 troops together, he gets up on high ground, and gives his last ringing speech and says, “We’re off to fight. But if there’s anybody here who thinks we’re going to lose, you can be excused this time. You can just go home. We’re just going to take what’s left.”
And sure enough, some went home.
Guess how many went home?
Gideon watches this and says, “Wooooow!”
Hey, if you’ve got 32,000 and 20,000 think you’re going to lose.
Guess what? You’re gonna to lose. You’ve got too many.
This is a big key of leadership…
Sometimes you have too many.
When you recruit in haste… it’s possible to recruit some cowards.
You ask, well, why is that?
It’s just one of those things…
When you are moving too fast, sometimes there’s no telling, you collect during harried times.
So, this is a big part of the leadership test…
Find out who thinks you’re gonna lose…
And excuse them. You can’t afford to keep them around… they will cost you the battle.
During the INDISPENSABLE broadcast I told you the story of our hero Lynn Wallace…
Lynne is the founder of a boutique insurance agency in Santa Rosa, California.
Her company had been on a great growth trajectory in the early 2000s.
Lynne borrowed a million dollars from the bank to fund her rapid expansion.
Then the financial meltdown of ‘08/’09 happened.
The following year her revenues dropped by more than HALF.
Her financial controller repeatedly told Lynne that the situation was hopeless… she soon would be broke.
The financial controller had a reputation for being negative… but now this negativity was toxic to the team’s ability to pull themselves upward from this situation.
Lynne had to make the hard decision to excuse her…
She let her go.
So Gideon’s got 10,000 left.
He says, “No problem. We’ll do it with 10,000.”
Then God says, “Well… you still got too many.”
Gideon says, “Well, what now?”
And God says, “Try this… March the 10,000 till they are hot and thirsty. Take them down to the river for a drink. All those who kneel down to drink, setting aside their spear and shield, and put their hands to their mouths. With them you excuse. Those men are careless, you cannot use them. All those who keep their spear and shield at the ready and lap the water with their tongues, as a dog laps, you shall keep. Those are the ones you want because they’re trained and ready to go.”
Gideon said, “So clever!”
And he marches the 10,000 till they are hot and thirsty and takes them down to the river.
Sure enough, when he gets to the river… some are hot and careless and they just throw down their spear and shield and jump in the water.
Guess how many?
The number was 9,700.
This is a big part of the leadership test…
You see, when you recruit in haste, sometimes you recruit too many…
It’s easy to accidentally recruit the careless. Those who could cost you the battle.
So Gideon says, “You 9,700 are excused.”
And he sent them home dripping wet.
Now he’s got 300 left.
Gideon says, “Okay, no problem.”
From 32,000 to 300… and he is still willing to try.
That is what is called courageous leadership.
As the story goes…
Gideon planned a night attack.
He gave each of his men a trumpet and a clay jar with a torch hidden inside.
Divided into three companies…
Gideon and his 300 men marched on the enemy camp.
He instructed them to blow the trumpet, give a battle cry, and light torches, simulating an attack by a large force.
When they do… the Midianite army flees in fright…
And Gideon becomes the military hero of the day.
Oh, by the way, if you were wondering what happened to Lynne Wallace after firing the financial controller who said she was destined to end up broke…
Lynne grew her agency from the 18 employees she started with to over 140… and successfully sold her agency for WELL MORE than $50 million dollars…10X more than the revenue she had before we first met when she came to our High-Performance Forum Business Masterclass.
I am a big believer in containing a small but mighty team.
I believe, and have proven time and time again…
That quality beats quantity every time.
Most enterprises in our industry at our revenue size have 150-200+ employees… we have about 20. And I guarantee our margins, team engagement, and the impact we have in the world… is far, far greater.
Now, mind you, to get to the 20 badasses we have…
We have brought in and washed out many dozens more.
Only the BEST survive on our A-Team… and those who do – THRIVE.
Learning to recruit the RIGHT people is one of the most important skills of a leader…
But equally important, often more important… because most leaders are not courageous enough to do the right thing by their team… is learning to excuse those who might be doubtful, cowardly, or careless… those if left to fight… are likely to cost you the war… your mission… the future of your enterprise.
Two places I can point you to learn the specific practices… To help you identify the RIGHT players for YOUR unique team I would suggest HerosJourney.com and to know WHEN and HOW to properly excuse those who need to go home I refer you to HighPerformanceForum.com