Firing Can Be the Best Thing You Can Do for Someone

Shark Tank investor Barbara Corcoran shares her strategy for systematically firing salespeople. Her latest book is Shark Tales: How I Turned $1,000 into a Billion Dollar Business. Barbara is Co-Founder of Barbara Corcoran Venture Partners.

When there’s that one person on the team who doesn’t fit it can throw everything out of synch. It’s the person’s attitude or lack of skills for the job that can bring an entire team down. As much as you want to make things work, and loathe having to crush the person’s hopes as well as source of income, firing can be the best thing you can do for someone. Keeping an employee in a job that's not right for him or her is just holding the person back. Yet we’re often reluctant to fire, because it creates a sense of failure that we did something wrong, that we don't know how to hire--a skill that must be learned.


Barbara Corcoran, the star of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” the Co-Founder of Barbara Corcoran Venture Partners, and author of Shark Tales, a book that shares how she turned $1,000 into a billion dollar business, walks you through how to fire productively. If done correctly, letting someone go is a blessing for your company and the person who is leaving.

“Nobody’s happy doing what they’re not good at,” Corcoran says. “You want to get a great job you love?  Do something you’re good at.  When a salesperson isn’t producing they’re not happy.  And so you must have a system to make sure that they can move on to something that’s going to make them happy.”

Corcoran developed an exit strategy to make sure that only her happiest employees stayed in the company. At the Corcoran Group, every year she fired 25-percent of her sales force—employees who weren’t performing—and made room for the hungry and talented.

“When you have a sales organization with unhappy salespeople as a large percentage of your population, it drags down the energy of the company, drains your financial resources,” she says.

In this Big Think interview clip, Corcoran explains her system for firing and keeping her team happy:

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