In an earlier post, I wrote that if you want to learn how to solve a problem, write about it.
So…eh…that’s why I’m writing this post. I need to solve a problem.
I’m not sure if writing (in and of itself) is going to do the trick this time. However, I do feel that your comments will be vital. Will you help me?
Several months ago, I hired Sally. She’s a highly respected and qualified consultant but she doesn’t seem to be keeping her end of the bargain. I pay her a monthly amount and she is supposed to help me take advantage of a very specific business opportunity. She is a guru in her field and she’s uniquely suited to do this job. It’s more economical for me to pay to have this service done than for me to try to do it myself.
Don’t get me wrong. She is providing value. In fact, her value exceeds the investment I make. But she isn’t delivering what she promised and she doesn’t deliver on a timely basis. She changes phone appointments at the last minute. Things are getting done much slower than promised. What’s worse, she always has an excuse and it’s starting to feel like I’m being lied to.
I like and admire this person. She’s considered an expert in her field, but it’s starting to really feel bad.
The problem has taken on a personal dimension. Maybe that’s my mistake. But I considered this individual more of an ally and friend than a hired gun. Someone who understood what I was trying to do and who is genuinely interested in helping me achieve my goals.
I think about this issue throughout the day. It really bothers me and it makes me a little sad. Sally’s advice is really good and helpful (when I get it) but the thought that I’m being lied to overshadows this. I feel rotten.
STEPS I’VE TAKEN
A few weeks ago, I sent an email to Sally and told her what needed to change. Her response didn’t address all my concerns but I let it go since she did address some of my concerns. I thought (or hoped) we were back on track.
Well….I was wrong. We aren’t on track. In fact, we’re more off track now than ever.
Let me reiterate, I have no interest in doing Sally’s job myself – I need to hire someone to do it and I have a budget for this. Firing this person and doing it myself is not an option.
My strong preference would be for Sally to get it together. I need her to do what she says she’s going to do when she says she’s going to do it.
If that doesn’t work, I have identified another person. Jim is very qualified but I don’t think he can replace Sally completely. She is pretty unique in her field. Since some of the work involves marketing, the connections that Sally has, makes her a very valuable asset and team member.
As I said before, if I was convinced I could replace Sally, I’d do it. But I’m afraid that if I do fire her, I won’t be able to replace the connections and brainpower she has.
How would you approach this problem?
Here’s are the steps I’ve come up with:
1. Send her a copy of this post.
I’ve really spelled it out here. I’m wearing my heart on my sleeve too. As an additional bonus, your comments may help light a fire under her (or my) rear.
2. Spell out exactly what it is that I want/expect/need and the time frame that it must be completed by.
In my earlier email, I didn’t do that.
Basically that will include a time line to complete certain tasks as well as a time line by which calls and emails should be returned.
3. Ask Sally if she can commit to that.
4. If she does commit and doesn’t live up to her commitments, move on no matter what.
In the past, I’ve had to let staff go. I used to have this tremendous fear that I was doing it prematurely and/or if I did fire the person, it would be impossible to replace them.
I no longer feel that way. I know that everyone is replaceable – even me. But for some reason, I am really hesitant to draw the line with Sally.
Have you ever been faced with a choice like this? How did you decide it was time to cut and run? Am I just being a girly-man?