Bring Out Your Dead

Time to Read – 3 minutes (it will save you a fortune)

This week ‘a bit of a rant’ – next week my solution!


A fair legal process to fast-track people out of your organisation, who no longer make the right choices, display the required behaviours or perform to the requisite level.


The single biggest factor on whether an organisation succeeds, or fails, is the choices made by its leaders, and through them, their people. It is mission critical that people who no longer choose to give their best leave an organisation as fast as possible. It is in the shareholders’ interest, it is only fair to everyone else in the organisation (allowing them to stay is akin to allowing fare dodging on a train) and in the interests of the person/people themselves (not motivated/round peg in square hole).

The past must not equal the future

In the past organisations would go to ridiculous lengths of time, complexity and cost to remove such people. Business Process Re-engineering (BPR aka boredom on speed) was the most popular initiative to hide getting rid of Dead Wood (DW) behind apparent organisational change. Aside from the time, complexity and cost, it had the additional problem that it upset people that an organisation wanted to keep (they often had to apply for their own jobs).

The recent past has gone to the other extreme, with organisations being so legally and reputation conscious that they will drag out the process to ensure “fairness” while avoiding tribunals. Then finally the person will leave with a massive pay-out. This does not work either, for exactly the same reasons as the BPR approach, with one additional massive negative – actively rewarding the wrong attitude and behaviours!

What to do?

Aha – as I said – I’ll let you know next week..

With my love and best wishes

[polldaddy poll=5323165]


  • I love this idea – another naked winner.
    I was recently told of a company who was really pushing the boundaries on the “bell curve” approach.
    Essentially, they actively exited everyone in the middle hump (ie good rather than excellent) on the basis that good was not enough for them.This company only wanted excellent and was happy to live with high attrition so they actively paid up “good” performers, thanking them for their contribution, giving them a reasonable exit payment. a strong reference, a valuable company on their CV and focussed on only recruiting and retaining the very best. An interesting approach.

  • Marc Smith

    The poll suggests the majoprity agree people are being paid off. I left a job through stress because I wasnt happy and in reality I should have stayed until I got the push – as did others in the same position as me who stuck it out got a nice little payout. – It’s a nonsense really.

  • davidtaylor

    Thank you Ian (I hope you are well) and Marc (I hope you have got over your stress) – Ian what an interesting approach indeed! Marc your comments are the very reason I think this all needes addressing in more organisations. David

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