Moving Out A “Legend” Employee

The Indianapolis Colts decided yesterday to part ways with their All-Pro, MVP, Future Hall of Fame Quarterback, Peyton Manning (BTW my wife loves him! My sons and I call him, her boyfriend).  Here are some of Peyton’s accomplishments while in Indianapolis from ESPN:

-Manning killed it on “Saturday Night Live” (“I just thought about going out there for the second half, and a little bit of pee came out.”)

-Manning reported to the Giants Stadium interview room wearing a suit and tie — and no shoes or socks — after a night-game win against his brother Eli. He did it (and I was there) because he knew the East Coast sports writers were on a crushing deadline.

-Manning led the Colts to a pair of Super Bowls and won one.

-Manning engineered a comeback for the ages: down 21 points at Tampa Bay with four minutes left, and won the game in OT!

-Manning never made TMZ’s greatest hits.

-Manning prepared so thoroughly that he could have double-dipped as a coach.

-Manning had 63 games with at least 300 passing yards.

-Manning was proud of playing in Indianapolis.

Why did they do this (you might be asking yourself if you don’t follow NFL football)?  Peyton got injured last year (neck), had major surgery, no one will know if he’ll ever be the same.  He was due $28M if they kept him on the roster as of yesterday. And, oh by the way, they have the #1 pick in this year’s NFL draft that has at least one “can’t-miss” future Hall of Fame Quarterback.  Some pretty good reasons, from a business standpoint.

But, you know what? It sucks!

It might be the right business decision – but it definitely isn’t the right people decision. Or is it?  This is what we do in HR, right?  We are constantly balancing business decisions and people decisions.  The Indianapolis Colts will move on. Peyton will move on. But it sucks that they broke up the band!  If the life cycle of an organization.   Even your best most trusted employees will eventually leave – retirement, death, new opportunity – name your poison.   It’s HR’s job to help the organization move on in a positive light, even when it’s so dark you don’t think there is any light.

The Indianapolis Colts did what was right for their franchise.  Star employee at the end of their career – potential to pick up new start employee at the beginning of their career.  It isn’t about one person – it’s about all the people in the organization – and that makes it a tough decision, but an easy decision.  We usually try and cover this up in the real world by throwing an unwanted retirement party and giving out a nice plaque for all their service, only to find out 4 weeks later the person is back to work at our competitors and stealing our clients!  The Colts will feel some of this as well – when Peyton goes and plays for another team and does well.  It won’t make their decision wrong – it just makes it harder to swallow.

Like Winnie the Pooh said: “Don’t cry because it’s over – Smile because it happened”


3 thoughts on “Moving Out A “Legend” Employee

  1. Spot on. I think good HR keeps the organization focused on the good of the many vs the good of the one while making sure the one is treated respect and dignity.

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