I believe most MSP business executives have read the book Good to Great and probably took away at least one solid principal. The most common lesson that IT providers learned from the book is that employees who don’t believe in their mission and core values, “should get off the bus.”
However, after spending some time embedded with computer consultants I have started to doubt whether this powerful message from Good to Great has really permeated their decision-making process. Are MSPs today as committed to firing rouge employees as Steve Jobs was at Apple?
Steve Job’s Example
In the movie “Jobs” Ashton Kutcher plays Steve Jobs. Ashton gives a memorable performance in a critical scene where Steve Jobs has an argument with one of his programmers about the importance of font choices. After a heated verbal exchange, it becomes clear to Steve that this programmer doesn’t, “share our enthusiasm and care for the vision of this company.” What makes this scene so memorable though is that Steve summarily fires this employee without any hand wringing. Seconds later he is informed that he just fired one of their best programmers. Jobs retorts that he’s the best programmer who doesn’t care about our vision.
You can watch the clip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-90iRQbd0fg.
What is so amazing about this tense situation is that Steve instinctively recognized that the programmer who was arguing with him didn’t believe in what Steve was trying to accomplish or in his words, didn’t share the vision of the company. Next, he processed the information and made a rapid decision to fire someone who appeared to be critical of the company’s mission. What gives us great insight into his thinking process lies in his defense of his actions. When he said, “he is the best programmer who doesn’t share the vision of the company,” he is trying to express how dangerous it is to have what is effectively a rebel on your team “working against the mission.”
In other words, it’s apparent that Steve equated the argument from this programmer as nothing less than treason to the mission. Logically, if an employee is bold enough to argue about the vision with an executive, it leaves little doubt that he doesn’t support the mission. This means he will likely carry his treasonous thoughts into fruition by sabotaging his own work and spreading poisonous doubt among personnel, which is very bad for morale.
Steve’s actions should be applauded as he took quick steps to cut out this cancer that have could spread throughout his entire organization.
Do you Savvy
In my experience, I have witnessed an MSP business tolerating treasonous employees, like the fired programmer at Apple or Carol from the book Traction. For some strange reason IT executives don’t seem capable of surmising when a quarrelsome administrator, sales representative, or tech poses a serious threat to the company. Even when they do start to realize that a staff member is problematic, often they just can’t decide on a course of action. I am not sure if many of these owners are simply afraid of firing employees or if they truly fail to recognize the threat.
I hope that some of the open-minded MSP businesses can learn from Steve Job’s sterling example and realize how dangerous it is to keep in your employ cantankerous individuals. You can be sure that these rebellious staff members will be openly working against your vision. This is something that most IT companies simply can’t afford and is much costlier than firing these rouge employees. Follow Steve Job’s example by immediately calling out someone that argues against your vision and openly expresses that they will follow their own path. Once you have called a spade a spade and repeated the words of Jobs, “you don’t share the enthusiasm and care for the vision of the company,” then these people should already know they are fired!
The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are solely those of the author. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Kaseya, its employees, and/or other contributors to this site.