Don't Ever Shoot A Dog

Ever since Donald Trump first took obvious glee in shouting at another human being, "YOU'RE FIRED!", I have been wondering what it is about real estate that attracts big egos and small hearts. I don't make a practice of debating with other Influencers, but Barbara Corcoran's article Shoot the Dogs Early illustrates what troubles me.

First, if 25% of the people you hire end up being "dogs" in your eyes, there's either something wrong with your hiring practices or your management style, or both. (One hint: if you call people "dogs", it might be #2.)

Second, the reason people never object when you call them into your office on short notice, have an observer present, and ask if you can cut to the chase... is because they are TERRIFIED. It's not because you are being compassionate and considerate.

Barbara says, "Nothing rots a business faster than a cluster of negative people, so I get them out fast – usually the minute I spot them." In other words, the second you disagree with the boss or anything she says, you're fired.

The tip-off here is "the second." I understand the difference between complaints and constructive criticism, and some might defend Barbara and say she only annihilates true complainers. But if you react "the second" you hear something that sounds like complaining, you will "shoot" some very smart people.

But here's what most upsets me: great managers get ordinary people to do extraordinary things. The basic thrust of Barbara's piece is that a huge 25% of the people her firm hires cannot do the job they were hired to do. Either take more time to hire, or take more time to bring out the best in people. To do otherwise ignores the fact that you are hiring real human beings with spouses and kids and basic needs like food and shelter. Any firm that tolerates a 25% termination rate has lost its heart, pure and simple.

The good news, of course, is that people can change. Barbara, I hold out hope that one day you will decide there is a better path to nurturing talent in others.


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