Why You Should Fire Yourself

Here is a great article from the Harvard Business Review. I think it is very appropiate for the Church in NA:

Why You Should Fire Yourself
10:31 AM Wednesday December 30, 2009
by Ron Ashkenas

When management changes were announced at General Motors earlier this month, most people focused on the firing of CEO Fritz Henderson and his replacement by Chairman Ed Whitacre. The more significant moves, however, were those that took place afterwards when Whitacre promoted a number of younger managers (including two women) to key positions. Taken together, these shifts (with more to come) sent a strong message to everyone in GM that it was time for fundamentally new perspectives and faster decisions.

But why did it take a virtual purge for GM's executives to realize that it was time for change? Wasn't bankruptcy, a federal bailout, a near-death experience, and international embarrassment enough of a wake up call? Didn't former CEO Henderson and his team understand the urgency for turning around GM?

Unfortunately, the GM situation reflects the reality that most managers become enamored with their own strategies and have trouble breaking free of their tried and true patterns. In other words, even when we intellectually understand that the world has changed and we need to do things differently, it's difficult to let go. We become invested in what we've created and how we've learned to do things. And it's not just managers at a troubled company like GM; it's all of us.

Jack Welch used to gather his senior executives together in January and tell them to act as though they had just been newly appointed to their jobs. What would they do differently if they were coming in to their business without preconceived notions and with a completely fresh perspective? It's a powerful question, and one that most of us never ask ourselves.

Naturally, it's easier to take a fresh perspective when you really are new and when the assumptions you are questioning are not your own. We're all more comfortable challenging someone else's thinking than stepping back and critically assessing our own ideas and behaviors. That's why Ed Whitacre needed to shake up GM's management team — because the incumbents couldn't get enough distance to challenge the way things had previously been done.

But why wait for your company to get in trouble and for the board of directors to shake up the management team? The turning of the calendar year is a good time for every manager to take stock and think about what you would do if you were starting fresh. So here's a thought-exercise you can do: First, take a deep breath and fire yourself. That's right — take yourself out of your job so that you'll get some distance from it.

Second, consider what you would do to reapply for your job. What are your qualifications? What would you say in an interview about the changes you would make and the improvements you would engineer? What unique "stamp" would you put on this new job? How do you feel about the business strategy and the quality of the leadership team? What would you change?

Answering these questions candidly and constructively can not only help your business to thrive — it also can reenergize you for the coming year.

And who knows? Maybe you'll end up re-hiring you.

Ron Ashkenas is a managing partner of Robert H. Schaffer & Associates a Stamford, Connecticut consulting firm and the author of Simply Effective: How to Cut Through Complexity in Your Organization and Get Things Done

A few thoughts to unpack for the Church:


1. Change is hard but doable based on perspective,
2. Change is hard because of personal and/or professional pride,
3. Change is hard, yet, will inevitable happen (whether you like it or not)
4. Therefore, how are you and I changing to meet the needs of TODAY's (and tomorrow's) realities? And, how are you and I creating a culture to assist in change to move the Kingdom forward in Canada?


1. As God guides with HIS Spirit, may you and I have the courage to make the tough choices. The promise in making tough choices is a better return for the future (thriving churches, transformed souls for the Kingdom, Spirit-led communities, lives living in humility). Through God, you and I can do all things through HIM who gives us strength (Phil 4:13). With that said, "Decisions become easy when all the facts are made known." - Bobb Biehl


I think it can be easy to look at our surroundings and ask the people we are leading to change rather than create a culture of change (that needs to come from the top down).

Let me know your thoughts.

Happy Readings!