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How To Fire Your Best Friend

Be direct. Be quick. And if they are still talking to you, help them find a new job.

Levi King




Ever been fired from your job? I have, and it sucks. There’s nothing quite like the feelings of despair, humiliation, discouragement and setback that results from losing gainful employment – expected or otherwise.

Ever fired someone from their job? I have, and it’s every bit as sucky. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of being directly responsible for all the negative emotions listed above.

There are exceptions to the rule, of course. Sometimes the employee in question is rude, arrogant and downright bad at their job. They poison your company culture and continually underperform. Both of you see a parting of ways long before the day actually arrives.

But then there are those others. The decent ones who show up early and try hard but just can’t quite seem to cut it. These make for painful interviews. But worst of all, by far, are those times when you have to fire a friend. It might be someone who’s been with you from the beginning, but your company has simply outgrown them. It might be someone who finds themselves in over their heads, and though given every chance to swim to shore, succumbs to the waves again and again.

I can promise you that these separations will be among the most heart-rending of your career. But as with everything else, there are right and wrong methods of handling them. Here’s how to do it right.

Set definite expectations long before the dreaded day arrives

When you’re close to someone, it’s tempting to set lower standards for their performance. Your affection will bathe their behaviour in a rosier light than enjoyed by their lesser-esteemed colleagues. That’s a psychological fact. Don’t be naive about it, and don’t lie to yourself about it. View your friend with the same clear, objective eye that you would anyone else on your payroll, and set clear performance goals.

If those goals aren’t met, your duty becomes 100 percent easier. You both agreed beforehand that X, Y and Z were the necessary standards for their continued employment. Those standards weren’t met, and only one course of action remains.

Related: Family Business: The Pros and Cons of Getting Funding From Loved Ones

Be as direct and natural with them as you’d hope they’d be with you


This isn’t a time for funeral airs and solemnity. Nor is it time for false cheeriness and a this-isn’t-as-bad-as-it-seems vibe. You’re not the principal of a high school calling the class clown into your office to suspend them. Nor are you a buddy merely passing on a bit of negative news. You’re their boss. They’re your employee. And you’re letting them go. I speak from experience. I can promise you that no matter how much you prepare internally, nothing will completely fortify you for the actual exchange.

So be yourself, and let them be themselves. Let them respond. Let them get angry. Let them get sad. Hell, if you need to cry together, cry together. But be firm, calm and unambiguous.

For both your friend’s good and the good of the company, don’t delay

I’m an optimist, and I like to err on the side of people. Needless to say, this optimism leaps into overdrive if those people happen to be bosom buddies. I’ve delayed firing individuals for a year longer than I should have because of this.

In other words, I took my whole company to the edge of catastrophe because I convinced myself that what was really happening wasn’t really happening. I didn’t want it to be so; therefore, it wasn’t.

It is much better to err on the side of caution and fire a floundering friend a few months early than a few months late. This sounds draconian and cold-hearted, but it’s absolutely true. You owe it to your investors, customers and other employees.

Steel yourself for the possibility of hurting a relationship temporarily or even permanently

The more personal the relationship, the more personal the firing will feel. An emotional confrontation, a stormy scene, accusations of betrayal – don’t be so naive as to think that either of you will walk out of the meeting unscathed.

Be prepared to be called a Judas. Be prepared to be castigated on social media, to be contacted by mutual friends who just can’t believe what you did, to be defined as cold, heartless and worse.

There’s a chance that things will blow over. Even if it takes years, reconciliations do occur. For now, you’re making the best decision – for you, for your friend, for your company. Hold on to that truth tight and weather the storm.

Related: What Happens to Your Business When You Move On?

If it’s warranted, help your friend find new employment

As already mentioned, there are plenty of occasions where a firing is called for because your company outgrows an employee. They just can’t keep up with the demands that a quickly expanding tech startup calls for, for example.

That doesn’t mean that they aren’t skilled, hard working or incredibly good at what they do. It only means that they need a different environment in which to shine as brightly as they did when you were beginning together.

In this case, move heaven and earth to assist them in finding solid employment elsewhere. Use all your contacts, all your connections, all your pull. In this case, you owe them a debt of gratitude, and you can repay that debt by making sure that wherever they land, they land on their feet.

This article was originally posted here on

Levi King is CEO and co-founder of Nav. He started six businesses before Nav, including Lendio, accessing financing and credit more than 30 times.


How To, In Practice, Distinguish Between Executive, Non-Executive And Independent Directors And Their Functions

Learn more about the differences in executive and non-executive directors.






Definition of a director in terms of the Companies Act

Section 1 of the Companies Act 71 of 2008 (Companies Act) defines a Director as “a member of the board of a company, as contemplated in section 66, or an alternate director of a company and includes any person occupying the position of director or alternate director, by whatever name designated”.

Powers of directors

Section 66 of the Companies Act determines that the business and affairs of the company must be managed by or under the direction of its board and that the board has the authority to exercise all of the power and perform any of the functions of the company, except to the extent that the Companies Act or the Company’s Memorandum of Incorporation provides otherwise.

The board of directors, for the first time in our current Companies Act has been assigned the legal duty and responsibility and play a very important role in managing the affairs of the company and making vital decisions on behalf of the company.

Related: What You Need To Know Before Transitioning From Business Owner To Director

Number of directors required on a board

In the case of a private company, or a personal liability company, the board must consist of at least one director and the case of a public company, or non-profit company, the board must consist of at least three directors. A JSE listed company requires at least four directors. The company’s Memorandum of Incorporation may however specify a higher number, substituting the minimum number of directors required.

How to distinguish between executive, non-executive and independent directors and their functions

A clear distinction is noticeable between the different types of directors in practice, even though the Act does not distinguish between executive, non-executive and independent directors.

The below table gives a clear understanding of the differences between executive and non-executive directors:

Executive directors

Non-executive directors

Member of the board of directors with directors’ duties.

Part of the executive team, as an employee of the company and generally under a service contract with the company. Not an employee of the company.
Involved in the day-to-day management of the company. Not involved in the day-to-day management of the company.
In addition to a salary, does not receive directors’ fees. May receive Directors’ fees, but does not receive a salary.
Shareholders are not involved in approving their salary packages. Shareholders must approve their fees by way of special resolution, in advance.
Employee entitlements apply, such as annual and sick leave. No entitlements apply.
Has an intimate knowledge of the workings of the company. They contribute to the development of management strategies and monitor the activities of the executive directors.
They carry an added responsibility. Entrusted with ensuring that the information laid before the board by management is an accurate reflection of their understanding of the affairs of the company. Plays an important role in providing objective judgement, independent of management on issues the company are facing.


Independent, non-executive director

An independent, non-executive director does not have a relationship, directly or indirectly with the company other than his or her directorship. They should be free of any relationship that could materially interfere with the independence process of his or her judgement and they do not represent the shareholders of the company.

An independent, non-executive director should be evaluated on an annual basis to determine if they are still considered independent.

Related: The Role, Responsibilities and Liabilities Facing Non-Executive Directors

The role of these directors

All directors should apply objective judgment and an independent state of mind, regardless of the classification as an executive, non-executive or independent non-executive director.

Executive directors may be appointed as non-executive directors on other boards if this does not influence their current position and is in accordance with company policy.

Before a director accepts the appointment, they should be familiar with their duties and responsibilities and be provided with the necessary training and advice.

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Managing Your Priorities And Learning To Say No

How you use your time determines the degree of meaning or fulfillment you have and the money you make.

Dr John Demartini




Getting more done is not about managing your time; it is about how you focus your attention and intention during the time you have. When you focus on scheduling your day to do high priority actions, they are more likely to get done.

Since you can have more than one kind of high priority action, it is wise to define them accordingly by further prioritising your high priorities. High priority items or actions can fall under one or more of the following categories:

  • Those needing to be strategically planned (working on the business)
  • Those needing to be done in relation to yourself
  • Those needing to be done in relation to your employees
  • Those needing to be done in relation to your clients, customers, patients…
  • Those needing to be done that are creative (new divisions, services, products, markets…)
  • Those needing to be delegated outside your company (outsourced)
  • Those needing to be delegated inside your company (insourced).

It is essential to master the art of saying no to anything less important.

When you are unclear about what your true highest priority or business mission is, distractions can take you ‘off track’ and consume your time, attention, energy, focus, power of concentration and productive capacity.

Related: How To Say No Nicely

Knowing what your highest priority business mission and primary objectives are prevents you from being as easily distracted by every so-called ‘opportunity’ that comes along. It allows you to be more discerning about the activities you choose to take on board and those you discard. Clarity of mission gives you the ability to ignore distractions, and that can be incredibly inspiring and empowering.

You cannot please everyone so don’t waste your time trying. Continually saying yes because you can’t bear the short-term pain of saying no will cost you greater opportunities and lead you to bite off more than you can chew. Your time is finite.


Block out all less important distractions. Give them up. Embrace your trade-off.

Try eliminating, or scaling back some of your activities to determine if reducing or eliminating them makes any real difference in your results. This also helps you determine which actions are truly the most productive priorities. Deliberately eliminate or at least reduce your trivial, unimportant, unnecessary and irrelevant actions. Your intentional limits can help you become more limitless.

Sticking to your own higher priorities each day raises your self-worth. Take command of your time before others do and tell them the truth, or they may possibly keep demanding from you. Your integrity and, at times tactful bluntness, will allow you to get your most important job done. Your true friends or colleagues will respect your time and your priorities.

Since your work will expand or contract to fill the time allotted (Parkinson’s law), if you don’t fill your space and time with high priorities they can become filled with low priorities. And, if you don’t consume your energy and material resources with high priorities uses they can become consumed by low priority ones. If you don’t intensify your day with inspired actions things can slow down. Your time x your intensity will determine your results.

Related: I Started Saying ‘No’ To These 6 Things. My Life And My Business Got A Lot Better

Many distractions that are being initiated by others are often opportunistic in nature. Many are simply others trying to sell you something – an idea, a viewpoint, an opinion, a friendship – in exchange for your valuable life and time. Simply being aware of what is being sold allows you to be more deliberate in deciding whether you want to buy or spend time on it.

Gracefully, respectfully and reasonably saying no, may temporarily disappoint the opportunist, but eventually it will lead them to respecting and appreciating you even more. It shows that you are a professional more than just an amateur and that you value yourself and your time more than their distractions. It is wiser to have a long-term gain in respect than a short-term popularity.

So ask yourself every morning what exactly is the highest priority action step I can take today to help me fulfill my most purposeful, meaningful, productive and profitable dream tomorrow.

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(Infographic) The 6 Best Ways Leaders Can Inspire Their Teams

Being an inspirational leader takes empathy, centredness and clarity.




One of the most effective traits of a leader is their ability to inspire and motivate a team. As a leader, you have to lead by example and the tone you set will resonate with the rest of your employees.

So what’s the best way to inspire your team? For starters, show your team that you care just as much about them individually as you do about the business. That means asking questions about their personal lives and getting to know them outside of the office. Lead with both your heart and head, thinking equally about your employees and the business, and balancing empathy with management. Not only that, but you should continuously find ways to support the professional development of your employees, listen and learn to what they have to say and value the input of each and every member.

Having trouble effectively inspiring and leading your team? Don’t worry, according to science, leadership is something that can be learned. In fact, only 24 percent of leadership skills are genetic, and the remaining 76 percent are learned. Overall, the top trait of inspirational leaders is centredness, meaning the ability to stay calm under stress, empathise, listen carefully and remain present. After centredness comes clarity, balance and self-awareness.

To learn more about inspirational leadership, check out InitiativeOne’s infographic below.


This article was originally posted here on


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