Put Your Employees in a Place Where Their Fire Can Burn

After completing her engineering degree, Margie took a job in an aerospace firm.  Although Margie worked hard, she struggled to complete design assignments.

Margie’s manager lamented, “She is cooperative and smart but I don’t think Margie will be able to do what we need to do.  It breaks my heart but I think we may have to let her go.”

As managers discussed the “Margie issue,” the sales manager offered, “She has a great personality and a good work ethic.  I’d be willing to give her an opportunity with our sales team.”

When approached about the sales option, Margie was devastated.  “I’ve always wanted to be an engineer.  I know nothing about sales.”

However, facing a fork in the road—go sales or go home—Margie opted for the sales experiment.

After extensive training and a few months experience, Margie’s confidence grew.  She soon became a key member of the team.  “I never would have guessed it,” Margie said, “but I really like sales.  I awake every morning energized.”

Humans, like wood, have energy stored within them.  Under the right conditions, wood releases its energy—it burns.  Effective leaders put their employees in a place where their fire can burn.

Termination May Sometimes Be a Disguised Blessing

“Do you remember me?” Mary asked her former boss in a phone call?

“Of course,” the boss responded.  “How long has it been?  Three years?  What are you doing now?”

“That’s why I called,” Mary said.  “When you told me that I was not a good fit for the job, I was devastated.  But I wanted to let you know that I eventually got a marketing position with another software company.  Last Quarter, I was recognized as the top performer in my region.”

After graduating from college, Mary eagerly joined a company as a software designer.  Mary’s manager remembered her as a very nice person; but after a year, it was apparent she was not going to be very successful as a designer.

“I was twenty-six years old,” Mary remembered, “and I had just been fired from my first real job.  After several days of mind-numbing depression, I got a temporary position in another software firm as an assistant to an account executive.

“Because of her ability to work with customers,” her new boss said, “We quickly promoted Mary to a marketing position.  She has succeeded beyond our expectations.”

When the job does not fit an employee’s talents, termination may be a disguised blessing.