Monday, August 10, 2015

"You're Fired" vs. "Got Fired"

This past weekend, I had the great joy of visiting old friends in Colorado Springs as well as catching a fish (only seven inches long) on a wonderful fly-fishing trip to the Arkansas river.  So, I did not get a chance to watch the GOP debates on Thursday evening.  However, after watching the post debate coverage, it would seem that two candidates captured all of the headlines.  They were the:

"You're Fired" vs. the "Got Fired" candidate.

The "You're Fired" candidate is of course Donald Trump, who made it a catch phrase and moniker of his reality show, "The Apprentice."  With more than an ounce of self-satisfaction, not to mention self-aggrandizement, at the end of every show, Trump would sit around the board room table and look into the eyes of one of his contestants and, while pointing an index finger in their general direction, say, "You're Fired."  And with that, the once-and future contestant, now deflowered of any self-respect,  would ride the elevator downward, get into a limo and drive away.

The "Got Fired" candidate is Carly Fiorina.  Once the CEO of Hewlett Packard, Fiorina was fired by an intransigent, antiquated and outmoded board of directors who, in the middle of an attempt to transform the company, got cold feet, and fired their nationally famous CEO.  In Fiorina's words, "I was fired in a boardroom brawl.  And you know why?  Because I challenged the status quo.  It is what leaders must do.  And when you challenge the status quo, when you lead, you make enemies.  It's why so few people lead."  Fiorina followed up by comparing herself to other leading CEOs and business innovators in American history; "Oprah, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney and Michael Bloomberg were also fired, so I think that puts me in pretty good company."

Here's my question for the morning: On the basis of these two criterion (realizing there are many other candidates to choose from, and the race is a long way from being over) which candidate of these two - the "You're Fired" or "Got Fired" - candidate would make the best President of the United States?

First the "You're Fired" approach:
Recognizing at the outset that Donald Trump was an actor on a television show and not an actual CEO in the television show, determining which employees should remain a part of an organization and which should not is a very difficult task.  For me, as head of staff, these are hands down the hardest decisions to make.  I have literally lain awake for weeks on end before making a difficult decision to terminate the position of an employee that has worked for churches that I have led.  Whatever the reason, or cause, it is a very painful process.

And yet, such decisions have to be made in any organization.  For financial reasons, cause, or some other reason of integrity diminishment, a healthy organization must have leaders that are willing to make tough decisions that are not fun or easy to make.

Second the "Got Fired" approach:
Again, there are a lot of reasons why people lose their jobs.  But finding out that your position has been terminated is never a fun experience.  In Florin's case, it was about standing up to a backward group of leaders who were in many ways driving their organization into oblivion, that caused her termination.  Hewlett Packard, once the vanguard of change and innovation, has existed as the caboose of technology and computer development for at least the past decade.  "Change or die," Fiorina told the board.  The board chose death, and that, as Robert Frost has said, "made all the difference."  Hewlett Packard stock, as of this morning, is on a Niagara Falls death-trajectory downward since January of this year.

I have experienced the challenge of terminating the employment of other employees as well as being terminated in my life.  Both of them where excruciating experiences.  However, in my experience, the fortitude that it takes to "Get Fired", and then carry your head high, with a measure of grace, strength  and inner metal is the tougher of the two experiences.

And so, hands down, if the choice for president was between the "You're Fired" or the "Got Fired" candidate, I would choose the "Got Fired" candidate.

What about you?

All For Now,

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