Happy Enough To Work for Free?

The Good Enough, The Bad and The Ugly Behavior - 4

Today we are talking with Thomas Anderson, a serial entrepreneur and COO of his firm, TrustEd At Home. Thomas has owned and managed residential construction and flood irrigation businesses for over 20 years with his new company serving home owners through annual home maintenance and handyman services. In other words, Thomas has ALWAYS been working with supervising, hiring and training staff. Thomas' story is one that many, and I mean almost all of us, can shake our heads with a "been there" memory in our head. 

Now, imagine a company where projects run 24 hours a day and shifts are 12 hours each. This is the kind of project where one employee on deck is required at all times. On this particular day, Thomas was running a shift himself as coverage for an approved vacation for an employee. The shift is over and he waits.


The employee on shift next was only on staff probably 4 months. And he now had a problem with being late for shifts.  Other team members had called Thomas to notify of separate occassions when the Newbie was running late 20 minutes. After a 12 hour shift those 20 minutes feel like hours! 

Like others among us, Thomas admits he was focused on all the money and time that had been invested in this person training. And the fact was, this employee knew how to do the job. Thomas had put him on notice but this guy was a "fast talker. You know the type. His life was always full of dramatic events." 

Now back to the scene and Newbie is 2 hours late! As the employee gets out of his car Thomas is looking at 10 more hours, literally 24 hours on shift if he lets hiim go here. What would you do? 

Thomas lets him know that he is fired right then and there. Newbie gets very upset. Yelling and threatening to get his revenge. Thomas tells him to just get out of there. And Newbie leaves. Now THAT was Boss Action.

As he informed staff that Newbie was no longer a part of the team, that project partner, the one that was most often teamed with Newbie, offered to cover an extra shift to help out. In fact he was so happy about Newbie being off the team that he offered to work a shift for FREE! homas did let him take on an extra shift, but at his regular pay schedule.

Boss Action!

Today’s lesson: Fire fast, my friends.

Thomas says he realized how self-focused he was by prolonging the inevitable. It was his first time as a business owner and he was still learning the value of keeping great team members over having to start a new hiring cycle. He says he really "got it" with an offer of free work from one of his people.  

From then on he made sure to protect the team priorities above company resources.  It can sometimes be a tough lesson but Thomas says the 24 hours shift was worth it. These decisions can make all the difference when you have high performers that care about where the company is going and what the company mission. 

In the end, Newbie called Thomas back 2 hours later to let him know he was sorry for blowing up at him. He said if Thomas ever needed " I can totally help you if you need me in a pinch." Ya, because he had proven himself to be sooo reliable.  Newbie was filed under the "do not call" list.

Now Go! Grow!

Talmar Anderson