I decided to give Netflix’s House of Cards a try this weekend and am very glad that I did. There was a scene that stuck with me that demonstrated an important business lesson. After having her office manager fire 18 staff members Claire Underwood fired Evelyn with the words “I’m going to need you to leave us today too, Evelyn. I’m sorry I just cannot have any doubt about the direction I’m taking.” At first when I heard her utter those words I thought wow what a tough, cold, heartless women. She had Evelyn fire 18 staff members many of which were with them from day 1. The conversations were sad or filled with anger. After sleeping on it I came to a different conclusion.
Changing the organizations direction can be imperative to achieve success. As a leader it is important that you recognize the need for change and execute the new direction. What about the staff who sabotage the new initiative or direction or who can’t respect it enough to carry it out. Those staff members are toxic and will undermine you and the organization every chance they get.
While Claire Underwood’s actions were at first considered rough and uncaring, Claire knew she needed to make sure her team bought into the direction she wanted to go if they were to carry that out successfully. Claire also understands that in order for a business to survive it must keep changing and evolving. When it became clear that Evelyn could not move forward with the new direction, Claire knew what needed to be done and did it swiftly.
When you find that you have employees who are against the direction you or your organization have decided to go, try to identify why and then coach them to come on board. If that doesn’t work, make the tough decision to let them go. If you don’t, you could end up fighting two battles. One, moving the organization toward the new objective and two, the resistance that team member is spreading to your other employees.
How have you handled an employee who resisted change? How much time did you give them to come on board before deciding it was time to part ways? I would be interested in hearing your stories.