Blue Flower


This post is part of the series " My five worst mistakes as an entrepreneur ."

In Spain, the issue of dismissal is loaded with prejudice and ideology. Many people imagine that the entrepreneur looks like this ...


... and that the cigar is smoked while dismissing for pleasure 10,000 "workers" (the employer, of course, does not work).

The reality is radically different. First, 95% of Spanish companies have less than 20 employees. So the entrepreneur is rather someone who struggles to move a small business forward. Secondly (and here I speak only of my personal experience) I have not met anyone who likes to dismiss.

For entrepreneurs, firing someone is usually especially difficult because in the birth of new projects very close relationships are established with all the members of the team. Far from being "for pleasure", when someone is fired, there are usually very good reasons to do so. The most common is that the financial situation of the company requires it (a company that does not make money is a company condemned to close) or that the performance of the person dismissed is clearly lower than necessary.

There is a third reason to dismiss someone and that leads to my second worst mistake as an entrepreneur: I made a mistake by not firing on time very effective people individually but unable to work as a team, people who created a bad work environment around them and with which almost nobody else wanted to deal with . I had not heard of a basic concept yet: The No Asshole Rule.

Does it sound like a joke? Maybe if I tell you that the author is Bob Sutton, a prestigious professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, you begin to think that there may be something behind that "original" title. If you did not know the No Asshole Rule, I recommend two tests to understand what it is:

▪The first is the ARSE (" Asshole Rating Self-Exam "), which defines very graphically the extreme person model that you should not keep on your computer.

▪The second one is the ACHE (" Asshole Client from Hell Exam "). Yes, the rule also applies to that Client who is clearly distinguished by making life impossible for your team, being permanently dissatisfied and always being unnecessarily nasty and threatening. If you think that all your Clients are like that, the problem is probably yours. But if among your twenty Clients there is one that fits the pattern, the problem is in that Client.

As an entrepreneur or manager, you are responsible for the medium-term success of the company. If you know that you have someone on your team who would not pass the ARSE test (and, do not kid yourself: when you have it, you know), you must fire that person as soon as possible or you will end up doing it within a time when you have already burned the half of your team

The same applies to that Nightmare Client: if you have it, dismiss it or it will cost you much more than it gives you.