Q: I employed a new sales director two weeks ago and I’m already regretting it. He’s lazy and arrogant and the wrong fit for the job. My instinct tells me to let him go straightaway (while he’s still on probation) but am I being too hasty? How quick is too quick?
Jeremy says: High-profile new arrivals are sometimes so determined to be seen to ‘hit the ground running’ (a ludicrous ambition at the best of times) that they behave abnormally. You should certainly give your new sales director enough time to settle down before making any final judgement; two weeks isn’t nearly long enough to be certain of such an important decision. You’d be wise to go back over your notes from when you (and presumably others) first interviewed him and remind yourself of what led you to believe that he had the qualities you were looking for and what could explain their absence now.
However, while his arrogance could just about be attributed to his trying too hard, his laziness is a great deal more concerning. That’s not the behaviour of someone over-anxious to make a good first impression. So I suspect your instinct will prove to be right – and that he’s not going to survive his probation period.
Jeremy Bullmore is a former creative director and chairman of J Walter Thompson London. Email him your problems at editorial@managementtoday. com. Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into.