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Getting Fired

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Today I read that Manchester United let their coach David Moyes go … which is a euphemism for, he got fired.

Moyes came to Manchester United from my team, Everton where he had a long and fruitful eleven year tenure. He was let go from Manchester United after just 10 months, based upon an inability to deliver results at the level that club had come to expect. United will finish this season with their worst record in 25 years.

Was this the right move by Manchester United?

There will be two schools of thought, those who felt he just needed more time and those who felt he just was not the right guy for the job.

A tough call, but if you are not perceived to be able to do the job then sooner is better for all concerned.

How does this decision reflect in the business world?

man holding sign saying You're Fired

1. Moyes was high profile and as such was a natural target. The higher profile your role, the less tolerance you can expect. High expectations increase risk!

2. Moyes failed to meet expectations. Whatever your role there will be expectations of you, and if you fail to meet expectations you can expect some kind of reaction. It is important to understand the expectations and have a plan to meet and exceed them.

3. The more the pressure the more likely that the reaction will be extreme. There were many pressures on this decision, the fans, the ownership and the press all had some influence. It is exactly the same in the business world … the higher up the chain you get the more eyes on your performance. Management should get less “slack” than non-management roles.

4. Moyes made several missteps along the way, poor hiring decisions, missed hiring decisions, poor tactical moves … with little in terms of positive moves. He really did not help his case. Whatever your role you should try to get some wins, even small wins will show a hint of promise.

5. It is difficult to know what went on with Moyes on a day to day basis but clearly there was not enough for the owners to be convinced that he should be given time. Moyes did not seem to try new tactics to solve some of his issues. He did not bring in some of the young “new blood” to change things up. If things are not going well then you need to be seen to be working on a fix.

People get fired in business every day, but (a) they expect to be given a fair chance, (b) they expect to be treated with respect, (c) they expect to receive fair warning that things are not going well and (d) they would expect to be given a chance to fix things.

The good news for most of us is that we are not likely to make front page news if we have the misfortune to get fired.

The even better news is that getting fired is painful, but not deadly. We can learn a lot about ourselves and about what roles are a fit for us. Hopefully it means that we find a job better suited for us next time!