The concept of fast firing is flawed (or at best, half the story). An article about Uber’s beleaguered former CEO and his firing philosophy struck me as symptomatic of their problems (too fast and loose). His energy and enthusiasm in his approach would reap higher rewards if he were to instead create a solid hiring philosophy.
Let me illustrate with an example.
A couple of years ago I was advising a start-up company on their customer success strategy. The company had attempted to start such a program and was struggling to gain customer adoption. After the CEO described the problems he said that at least they were able to react quickly. With evident pride he told me “we make fast firing decisions… if the person is wrong for the job we get rid of them.” It did not take long to discern that the company was lazy and had not developed a hiring process. They had little idea of the necessary skills, personality, and goals of an “ideal” hire. Because they didn’t have a hiring process, they made a LOT of hiring mistakes which they “managed” with a firing process.
Contrast this with Brian Armstrong’s (CEO at Coinbase) approach to hiring executives. Even if the process changes somewhat, the evident care he uses to hire executives should be followed for all hires. Coinbase may hire a few lemons, but I’d wager their success rate outpaces undisciplined hiring. (Kind thanks to Fred Wilson at USV/AVC for highlighting the article.)
Since so much about success/failure rests on their actions and energy, the pivot point is that companies should place a commensurate emphasis on hiring the right people (Hire Right, and Never Fire). Instead of relying on a lazy “fire fast” process, develop a focused and disciplined hiring process.