I did a horrible job building my team. Brought on mediocre people who were good enough. In the end, “good enough” isn’t good enough.


  • Been there, done that. Own your shit. Let them go or move them into a position where they won’t let you down. I was going to fire someone and a contract and the opportunity for them to be moved into a position less harmful to the business popped up. They are a good person, just not as talented in the areas they sold me on. I had someone else who was so weak, I just had to fire them. It’s hard finding talent when you start up. I even almost hired someone out of desperation yesterday, but I thought to myself – who will look bad if I hire them? Me. In the end, whether you like it or not, the chips fall into your lap. It’s hard, but you must wait for or groom the right talent.

    • As I contractor I’ve worked with mediocre teams, and in fact, below mediocre managers. I DO ask how others handle being a part of F-Troop whose presence is a detraction from getting things done; ie. where IM jokes comprise 80% of a PMs “noise” and supervisors frown on checking in-work content into a location where it can be viewed by the other teams who are sharing their “check-ins” daily, but our team did not.

      And I just said this to a recruiter–because it was true. I never want to work with partay people if that overshadows getting actual work done. Any ideas how to handle this scenario in the future? How prevalent are “mediocre” performers and how to handle those situations? What if perhaps it is just ME–what can I change?

  • It’s easy to blame your team to avoid responsibility. Your vision and leadership are not inspiring enough for them to try harder. I can’t imagine you’d hire total bozos – and as long as someone knows what they’re doing, the right motivation, approach and guidance will have them produce amazing results. Take a long hard look at how you’ve managed these people and place the blame on the one it really belongs to – you. Can you give this team what it needs to succeed?

    Saying “I did a horrible job hiring them” is like saying “I’m taking responsibility for what’s wrong in my relationship – I chose the wrong spouse”. It’s a cop out, un productive, not self aware, and get you nowhere.

    • That perspective seems to be either really naive or really blind-lucky. Laser focus gets nowhere when seemingly great talent just isn’t a fit for the tasks at hand.

      What’s more likely, speaking from experience, is cultural fit issues – I’ve been in the exact same situation recently, more than once… as both the useless hire and the founder.

      But, giving the benefit of the doubt to the OP, there are a ton of shitheads out there, and when you’re hiring to get, set, or keep pace, you will make hiring mistakes. And yes, every bad hire is your own fault – that’s what being a founder / CEO is – get over it and give yourself permission to be human.

      The OP has already won the battle though, by recognizing the chaff. Keep Calm and ….

  • Dito. The pressure from trying to get somewhere fast with our product made me do it. Sucks because now I got close to nothing.

  • I’ve worked many a contract where the manager is the rock that the river of productivity has to go around. Shocked that GREAT IDEAS are kept in developers’ bottom left hand drawer, while we continue building a sinking ship.

    Silence in these cases meant job security for the individual, but from a largeer sense, the project needed different leadership….many jobs turn into longer ones because of churn. Is it important to NOT have vision, then? Or to compartmentalize it in the bottom drawer and pursue a Queen of Hearts game of croquet?

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