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Before abandoning your strategy, consider these 3 things

When turnaround specialist Zach Selch of Global Sales Mentor flew to Athens, Greece, to let go of an underperforming employee, he had his whole strategy clearly mapped out. But when he arrived in Greece, everything went sideways.


That day turned out to be day 1 of the country’s economic crisis. And before he could open his mouth to deliver the news, the employee told him that his wife just lost her job and that the two were expecting their first child.


Feeling the weight of so many extraordinary circumstances colliding all at once, Zach had a moment of compassion and decided to change course.


Rather than fire the employee, he decided to let him stay on as long as he needed to while he looked for another job.


It turned out to be a costly mistake and one that negatively impacted his entire team.


Here are a few tips we’ve gleaned from Zach’s experience to help you better roll out a strategy of your own:


  • Don’t let emotions get the best of you. While it’s tempting to let guilt sway your decisions (especially those impacting someone’s livelihood), just remember why you made the decision in the first place. Most good strategies are designed to protect the long-term viability of your business and the jobs of those who remain. Changing course without careful consideration could put all that in jeopardy.


  • Set clear timelines and expectations. By offering his employee the chance to stay on indefinitely, the offer didn’t have guard rails. With no incentive to work hard and no incentive to leave, the employee’s performance nose-dived further. It’s a great example of how establishing clear expectations and timelines can give you an easy out when they are not met.


  • Don’t be afraid to have hard conversations. As tough as they are, sometimes the hardest conversations produce the best results. Avoiding them usually just ends up creating more pain. If you’re having doubts, remind yourself that the short-term pain is just a steppingstone toward long-term gain.


While there will always be temptations to change your strategy, you can often mitigate your risk with a few simple considerations.


At the end of the day, strategy is about choices.


So, make good ones!


To hear the full 20-minute episode “I should have just stuck to the plan”, listen wherever you get your podcasts.

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