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Larry Doesn't Work Here Anymore

At least not in spirit.


I hired Larry almost two years ago. His technical background, coupled with his ability to get things done, made him an ideal choice for project manager in my group.


Things change. Six months later, the Company reorganized and my group was distributed among several others. The talented team I built was seeded in other groups to help them grow. Larry moved to a group where his skills were really needed. He fit in well and immediately became a productive member of the new group.

And More Change

More change. This new group was disbanded. His new boss was fired. Larry was transferred to yet another group. This time, he did not fit well in the group. Other members of the group shared his skill set, so what he offered was redundancy rather than new talent. His new boss assigned him to a task for which he was ill-suited. He struggled with the new task and did not perform to his usual standards.

Last week, I saw Larry. He was down the hall and too far away for me to speak with. However, his body language came through loud and clear. His head was down. His smile was gone. And the spring had gone out of his step. Even for our casual office, his clothes seemed a little unprofessional. The talented, motivated, winner I had hired had become an unmotivated drone.

No Change

It's really sad to see Larry like this. He's a good man and I'm sure he feels badly about not having been able to handle a task he had been given. However, it's our company I really feel sorry for. They've lost the talented, motivated, hard-working employee with the ability to do many things well.

Rather than use this outstanding employee in a position where he could excel, the Company moved him to a place where he failed. Instead of moving him back to his original position or trying him in a new position, the company left him where he is and effectively branded him a failure. There is no doubt in my mind that Larry will move on to another company just as quickly as he can find a suitable position. He will do well there. He is a pretty talented guy. Our company cannot afford to lose talented people, but we have lost Larry. For now, we still have his body, but we no longer have his spirit.

Manage This Issue

The lesson here is simple. Find and hire the best people you can. Put them in the places where they can do good and let them go do it. Help your people succeed and your company will succeed.

--- John Reh
Management Guide

Want to learn more? Read The Right People in the Wrong Jobs.


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