Great! It’s not snowing!



I’m working at home today and the view from my window is of a very rainy Wednesday in Toronto. I need a yellow raincoat like that!

I chuckled last night when the news described what was coming today as a “severe fall storm”.

It’s rain, people!

A severe storm is when you can’t see the fence for the blowing snow, the drifts on the road need to be plowed out by the tractor and – hallelujah! – the radio just announced the school is closed! Yes, my memories of storms date back to Saskatchewan circa late 1970s when my benchmark for a good storm was whether it forced the stoic school bus drivers off the road.

Anyway, I do feel in a bit of a rainy-day mood. We have been looking for over a month for a new Manager, Customer Service and a delivery person. Luckily we at last found a delivery person on Friday…but the right combination of skill, attitude and sparkle (aka enthusiasm) has so far eluded us on the CSM job. And Carly and I agree that we don’t want to “settle”.

But I don’t think it’s a coincidence that yesterday Carly let a Customer Service professional go because she was stealing. Ugh! Without a dedicated manager, a team – any team- quickly loses not only team spirit but also discipline.

It was an easy decision of course to part ways with a person who had stolen from us, but deciding to let someone go is usually more difficult.

Andrew and I have talked often about hiring and firing. Jack Welch, formerly of GE, spoke to the Harvard class that Andrew attended in the spring and he said that there are 4 categories of team members’ performance:

  • great results and aligned values
  • poor results and aligned values
  • poor results and different values
  • great results and different values

Welch said that the first type of employee is simple to manage: give them lots of time, attention and compensation.

The 2nd category deserves lots of coaching and time to turn the results around. He or she shares the company’s values and with some further time and/or training may move into the 1st category.

The 3rd type  should be let go immediately and in most companies that would happen- after all, the person isn’t doing the job well and also isn’t on the same page, values wise.

The 4th category is a tricky one because the individual is getting super results – selling lots or creating stuff or whatever. But he or she doesn’t abide by the same playbook of what’s right and wrong. Theft is an easy breach to see, but there are also less noticeable things such as being hard on people (if a manager), gossiping, saying one thing to management and another to his or her team or peers.

Unfortunately, when great business results are coming in, these toxic behaviours are so tempting to overlook – I have done it more times than I would like to admit. But in the end, a person who does not share the company’s values, regardless of the results being achieved in  the short term, needs to go asap.


About the author

Jean Blacklock

Jean opened the popular Prairie Girl Bakery in the financial district of Toronto in 2011. She owned and operated the business until it closed in 2021 as a result of the pandemic’s impact on downtown Toronto. Read more about her background in commerce, law, and entrepreneurship here.

By Jean Blacklock


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