Another opportunity to share some learning. I have posed this question on a number of forums, to see if common themes emerge, to see what more we can learn, and to allow people to confess to their dumb things! Here is my dumb things for you to learn from, and it would be great if you can add to this research.
“Hmmmm, confession time eh?
I was asked to create a business to business sales experiment for Dixons in Central London. As part of this I needed to recruit three people to form a sales team plus an administrator. I found an extremely capable administrator and two guys who I thought would make great sales people. I was very comfortable with these three appointments. I couldn’t decide who would fill the fourth seat on this team. I came under some pressure to make a decision and with the worry that if I didn’t fill the post it may get withdrawn, I chose the best of the rest.
Big mistake. This guy wasn’t as good as the others, nowhere near. I won’t bore you with the details but I sacked him a few weeks later. I felt terrible because I had tried to fit a square peg into a round hole. It was my fault for recruiting him in the first place.
The rest of the team were a big success. We worked and sold very well together. With hindsight I believe an empty seat would have been preferable to all of us. Including (maybe even especially), the guy I had to let go.
That was a pretty dumb thing, and I’ve learned to work with some great empty seats since then.”
“The dumbest thing corporations do is pretend that “people are our greatest asset” and then abuse the goodwill by cancelling training and development programmes, the second dumbest is to hold meetings from which no actions are taken but to which everyone must attend to hear the new words of wisdom from the newly installed leader of the organisation, and the new strategy.”
Anon – wish I had written it though!