We got home from vacation recently and like most families we were foraging through the cupboards and refrigerator to make dinner our first night back home. I poured some milk for my son and he asked me “is that milk alright?”, like somehow I hadn’t considered its feelings, but he mostly meant was it still good. Sure the expiration date had passed a day, or so, prior – but I did the Dad smell test, and that milk was more than alright! He wasn’t in agreement, so our “alright” milk took a trip to never-gonna-get-drank-land down the sink. Expiration dates on food are great – it helps us understand when something goes bad, protects us from ourselves and what we think is good and bad – which can be subjective. It makes me think that we should have expiration dates on our employees!
During the recent holiday weekend I got to watch a ton of football – both college and NFL – and if coaches don’t have an expiration date on them, I’m starting a movement that we should add these to all coaches. The Philadelphia Eagles head coach, Andy Reid, is an excellent example. Here’s a guy who has taken his team to 5 NFC Championship games and 1 Superbowl – but still it seems like his expiration date is up in Philadelphia. It’s not that he’s a bad coach, in fact he’s arguably the most successful coach the Eagles have ever had with a winning percentage over .600%, 2nd only to Bill Belichick during that same time. So, why has his expiration date come up? It’s all about expectations. Once you gain success, it’s not good enough to maintain that success or, G*d forbid go backwards – you have to keep getting more successful. The only way Reid get’s more successful is to win the Superbowl – which is tough to do.
There are a number of other reason people should have expiration dates with organizations, these include:
- Chronic Average: This is for the people who just never really do anything- they just exist in your organization. After a while, they need to just go exist at another organization.
- Convicted Idiot: This is the person who makes a certain bad decision, so bad, that their expiration with your organization must come up. Think, hitting on the bosses wife at the holiday party, or worse! Probably can’t legally terminate them, but they need to go someplace else.
- 1997 Top Salesman/woman: This happens way to much – yeah, you were top sales person a decade ago, either get the trophy back or go give another organization your attitude! We tend to keep them around because we are hoping they’ll regain their top form – but they don’t – let them expire.
- My Boss Is Dummer than Me: An organization can take only so many of these, for only so long – Ok, you win – go be smarter than us someplace else.
- No Admins Left To Sleep With: I’m hoping the title of this one explains it as well – otherwise you might have reached your HR expiration date at your organization!
Stellar way to think about when it’s time to move on. Very applicable for top performers with lagging engagement.
My friends in Philly tell me “the fat man has to go.” I don’t like the way they describe Andy, but, yes, seems as if his time is up.