I Fired Three People Today



  • I had to fire three people today (0:10)

  • The trouble with the ‘Bodies (1:45)

  • What it means when Somebody, Nobody, and Anybody are around (3:30)

  • Your turn… (5:20)

I Fired Three People Today

I had to fire a few people today, and it wasn’t pretty. I had to escort them out the door and demand that they never return.

I am going to miss them, but their banishment? That was for the good of the whole. The reasons for their immediate termination were pretty clear:

  1. They didn’t show up consistently – but they always seemed present when something went wrong.

  2. They made the same missteps over and over again.

  3. They never came forward to take ownership of their mistakes.

  4. They OFTEN forgot to do things like relay messages, shut off the lights, file paperwork correctly, and clean up after themselves.

  5. They always always always left the office kitchen a mess!

I should have known better than to invite them into this organization and allow them to stay because I’ve seen the heck they’ve raised in other office places. They just can’t stay out of trouble.

Oh! Their names, you ask…?

Somebody, Nobody and, occasionally, Anybody.

The Trouble with the ‘Bodies

I knew early on that the ‘Bodies were going to be trouble because I kept hearing people in the office exclaim—

  • “SOMEBODY forgot to wipe down the lunch table!”

  • “Why can NOBODY ever refill the paper in the copier? Just once?!”

  • “SOMEBODY forgot to give me the message from the new client.”

  • “Why can’t ANYBODY ever seem to get the right contracts in the right file?”

…and on and on.

I can tell that it really upsets my team when Somebody, Nobody, and Anybody are called out.

If I stand in the middle of the office and declare, “SOMEBODY forgot to turn off the air conditioner and the lights when they left last night!” I notice that everyone refuses to make eye contact, or they suddenly become really busy searching for misplaced papers on their desks.

I can’t continue making my entire team so uncomfortable because of a few who keep screwing up. So, for the good of the whole, for the sake of office morale, Somebody and Nobody – and even sweet little Anybody – have to hit the road.

Don’t let these hooligans show up in your office, on your team, or invade your home. The minute you hear that they’re around, give them the boot. Show them the door. Don’t ever speak their names again.


What It Means When Somebody, Nobody, and Anybody Are Around

Because when Somebody, Nobody, and Anybody are around, the chances are high that clear and direct communication, feedback, and accountability are lacking.

I worked for a passionate, charismatic leader who never wanted to hurt anyone’s feelings, so whenever he was frustrated, disappointed, or annoyed, he would harshly and publicly reprimand Somebody, Nobody, and Anybody.

We’d all listen with a bit of embarrassment and sadness that he felt let down, but because the conversation never got around to someone taking ownership for the gap, we also never took a hard look at how to remediate the gap and prevent future issues.

The bottom line is these three are easy to blame. They are the scapegoats for people who aren’t brave enough to have direct conversations, give clear feedback, or hold themselves or others accountable.

But getting brave is easy once you have the tools! Then, instead of blaming the elusive Body Triplets, you will spend more time empowering others to increase positive behaviors and performance, and to achieve goals.

When things go awry – as they sometimes do in businesses, relationships, and families – laying blame in general terms instead of communicating with clarity perpetuates repeat performances of the same undesirable behaviors.

Your Turn…

Start noticing where these three – Somebody, Nobody, and Anybody – are causing disruption in your life and in your work. Be brave and show them the door. Announce to everyone, “Somebody, Nobody, and Anybody don’t work here anymore!

I encourage you – when you hear others referring to Somebody, Nobody, and Anybody, ask them, “Who are you speaking of? Give me an example, so we can remediate the problem.”

Are you frustrated by the behaviors of the three ‘Bodies? Are continued mistakes, missed deadlines, and dropped balls inhibiting the success of your organization?

Then it’s probably time to hold a Navigating Challenging Dialogue® Skills Workshop for your staff, your team, or your professional group.

And you, like me, can give Somebody, Nobody, and Anybody the boot – permanently!

- Beth