We began this series with the articles Can you whack (fire) a “Made Man” (employee)? and Why you want to whack (fire) a Made Man (protected employee)
Today we continue our Tony Soprano lessons and discuss when it is time to make your move. Tony never made a move without permission (“can you whack”) and it was for “business” (“why you whack”), but it was also well planned – he knew “when” to strike.
To put it simply: You make a move to fire any employee when they become a liability to you. You make a move on a protected employee when you have the evidence to prove the employee is a liability to their protector. Generally it won’t be long after you started the job, and inherited the problem, that you will realize you have to get rid of her, or she will get rid of you. It will take much longer to make it happen.
We discussed many reasons why you should whack a Made Man yesterday, and any one of them is enough to “pull the trigger.” But you have to time it right. There are many steps to follow as you make your move.
The first step is to be sure you have a good case. It has to be substantiated by facts and co-worker testimony.
The second step is to find a time when the Boss is unhappy about results, particularly related to your group. Let him know it is a problem with your “Protected Employee,” the “Made Man.” Or in our example, the “Made Woman.” Unless your evidence of her actions is really damning or the actions egregious, this won’t be enough.
The third step and beyond will take more time. You will continue to build your case. You will look for times when you have an open ear to present more evidence. Or you will set her up to hang herself.
Or you will get lucky and the protector will take care of it for you. But that is unlikely.
The Termination Process Begins
The moment you had your first “sit down” with the Boss, the “when” has begun. You aren’t in imminent danger if you have only laid the groundwork, a little evidence, without going for the “kill shot” of suggesting she has to go. But the whole point is the kill, and so, you should be aware that once you begin this process, it is safe to assume she will find out about it. Either he will tell her, or his actions, such as placing a little distance between them, will clue her in. At this point one of you is probably going down, it is simply a matter of who and when.
Once you begin to play your cards cannot turn back. But it is now time to play carefully. There are two mistakes you must not make:
You cannot constantly go to the Boss about the problem. In fact, you have to appear to be trying to make it work. Play this wrong and it looks like you are getting personal, and this is just business. It also looks like you can’t handle personnel.
You cannot do anything that can be construed as turning away from the ultimate outcome you want: such as calling a truce; telling the Boss anything to make him think the problem is solved; or giving the Made Man any chance of surviving. This includes good bonuses, raises or appraisals – from now on it is neutral at best, and negative the rest.
It is time for the Whack
Up next: How to eliminate the Made Man when the Boss says yes
Editor’s Note: We began our series two days ago. Sadly, Tony Soprano, James Gandolfini, passed away last night. A great career ends, but our story inspired by him goes on.