Don’t fire them. Nope. Fire them up!

In 1994 Frank Pacetta wrote a book called ‘Don’t Fire them. Fire them up!”. I heard about this book recently. Although in full disclosure, I have only read the first two pages to get the gist and context of what was going to be conveyed. To my delight, the book was about motivating yourself and your team!

Since I often write about teams and motivation, knowing this small amount of information was enough for me. However, the thought of retaining an employee that others might fire seemed a bit controversial. Perhaps unconventional, but it got me thinking about the scores of people I have seen fired, instead of Frank’s concept of firing them up.

If you are a Human Resources professional, or manager, you are likely cringing at the thought of retaining someone that many think should be fired. Most HR pros are also accustomed to having to go through strict procedures prior to releasing someone from their team. All to essentially cover the company’s posterior, since the US has become highly litigious about this sort of thing.

Back to the concept of firing someone up. What if instead of firing people, management figured out how to motivate them? Perhaps they are not motivated because of who they work for? Or, possibly they are in the wrong role? Maybe it has to do with your company culture?

Possibly it’s the person, and they are simply not motivated.

Deep down inside, most people are motivated, but they sometimes need someone to help them to figure out what motivates them. When this happens, look out! Why? Because you might not recognize this newly motivated individual, and I guarantee you will be thrilled with their new attitude.

I can’t tell you how many people I have had conversations with who have told me they are in their current role because someone else told them it was a great occupation. Uggh. Wrong reason. This is also potentially the culprit for why so many people need to be fired up, or realigned with another role. Have you been there? Or, do you have someone on your team who falls into this category?

When someone is hired at a company, they each are making an investment in one another to be successful. As we know, not all investments pan out the way we want them too. However, with people, there is more you can do to position the investment for a favorable return. It can literally start with properly on-boarding them in their role. Doing this helps to literally inspire them to want to work at your company. Although I realize this might be a stretch in some roles.

If you properly on-board someone in their role, both parties will more rapidly know if the position is the right one for them. When this happens, if the person is not right for the role, this is when the “firing them up” concept can kick in. Instead of referring to it as “firing them up”, let’s think about it as a realignment of talent.

Depending on the size of your company, you may or may not be in a position to realign talent. Although if you are able to do so, both parties will typically benefit from this. Not always, but instead of dismissing a person from your company, consider taking another look at the talents they have to offer the company in a different role.

Doing this can be highly motivating for the person who was realigned, and their new manager and the different team they are on will also benefit from their positive energy of starting a new role. Are you willing to give this concept of firing someone up a chance? I hope so, as you might be pleasantly surprised with retaining versus letting someone go. Just think, they might instead be on a track to inspire others, and be a role model employee!

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too.  She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Finder Coachauthor of Wisdom Whispererand is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances.

Essentially every team is dysfunctional in some way. Our expertise is in uniting, motivating and bridging dysfunctional teams (sports & business), and turning them into epic ones.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Our coaching produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Need proof? Just talk to our clients, or read through our testimonials.

If you want better and different results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at or (339) 987-0195.

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