““Men weary as much of not doing the things they want to do as of doing the things they do not want to do.”” – Eric Hoffer

Today you are going to do something unpleasant, but necessary.

Studies show that next to being fired, dismissing someone is the most stressful business experience you can have. If you have ever “let someone go” (we use euphemisms for it, as we do for sickness and death), you know what I mean. You sleep poorly the night before. You find it hard to concentrate on other matters. When the time comes, your heart is pounding and your palms sweat. It’s High Noon, and you have to get rid of the man in black.

Nothing Is More Important to Your Success Than the People Around You

If you study the biography of any successful person, you’ll read about hiring and firing. Great businesses are built on the shoulders of great workers. And great workers do not fall from trees.

Creating your support team is a two-part process. First, you have to work hard to hire the best people you can. Second, you must fire those who turn out to be less than what you need.

It’s not easy to fire someone…especially someone who is trying to do a good job. But if your business requires excellence, you may have to. Even the Beatles had to fire Peter Best.

In Message #124, I suggested that you make a list of the 10 most important people in your career – your support team. Your team players should include all those who are critical to your success – employees and bosses, colleagues and consultants, vendors and clients.

I asked you to highlight the three best and the three worst people on your list. And I told you to prepare yourself to DO SOMETHING.

Here’s what you should do:

Send a personal, handwritten note to each of the top three people on your list, telling them exactly why they are so helpful to you and thanking them for it. When you’re done, you’ll feel pretty good.

Hold on to that feeling. You’ll need it for what’s next. Study your bottom three team members. Choose one and fire him. Today. By any means necessary.

Give fair notice. And severance. But get the job done.

Now your team is leaner – but better. By eliminating the weakest performer, you improve the average performance of your team.

If you need a replacement, find someone excellent. It will not be easy. Excellence never is.

It’s a messy experience, but in a week’s time (maybe sooner) you’ll be glad you went through it.