Kiss of Death

by Matthew Stollak on Monday, April 18, 2011

Last Christmas, I bought my wife the Season One DVD set of "The Good Wife."  Somehow, we missed adding the critically acclaimed show to our DVR during its initial run.  During down time in the regular TV season, we try to catch up on an episode on DVD here and there.  We've only made it through episode 8, but, for whatever reason, it has yet to connect with Mrs. True Faith HR. 

This led to the following discussion - how long does it take for any show to find its creative footing?  I say it takes, on average, 6-7 episodes before a show truly finds its footing; she says it takes shorter (i.e., she is more willing to give up early on a show).

It may simply differ based on the show.  Someone watching the first four episodes of "The Wire" might have found the array of characters incomprehensible.  Some say "Big Bang Theory" or "Seinfeld" didn't reach its peak until season 2 or 3.   The powerful opening pilot of "Lost" started the series off with a bang, but some say it became transcendent with its fourth episode, "Walkabout."  Similarly, the Sopranos started to become the critical favorite with its fifth episode when Tony took Meadow to college only to spot a familiar enemy now in witness protection.

So, what does this have to do with HR?  What is your escalation to commitment with an employee?  How long are you willing to stick with a mediocre employee before severing the relationship?  Are you ending the relationship before the employee has an opportunity to become transcendent?



Great question. The answer lies, I think, in our ability to follow our regular protocols for addressing poor performance; and, keeping the faith (even a little bit) that right up to the last minute that employee may turn things around. Writing someone off too quickly is not only bad business, it reflects poorly on us as leaders.

by Jay Kuhns, SPHR on April 19, 2011 at 6:12 AM. #

Great post! I am still a beleiver in the fact that most employees want to do a good job, if only we would give them the tools and training to do it. If we have done our job in choosing the right individual for the position and given them the tools and training, turn over should be reduced significantly.

by Gary Nottingham on April 19, 2011 at 6:48 AM. #

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