"I'd ask the employee what he or she thinks should happen, and then we'd work together to find consensus on an action plan. That allows us to get buy-in for consequences. It makes it more likely that folks will follow through, and if it does get to the point that the plan isn't acted on, everyone's on the same page."

Kyle Taylor Founder and CEO, The Penny Hoarder (media)
No. 32 2016 Inc. 5000 Rank
6,934% 3-year growth
$7.5M 2015 revenue


"I would employ the buddy system. I would pair the person up with a peer in a different
department to offer a fresh pair of eyes and give support. It also helps build support between departments, which can be very siloed."

Kimberly Hanks CEO, Whim Hospitality (food & beverages)
No. 311 2016 Inc. 5000 Rank
1,260% 3-year growth
$7.4M 2015 revenue


"First, ask the employee if she understands what your expectations are. If she does, then ask these questions: Does she have the ability to do the job? Did something change in her personal or professional life that's caused the shift? Does she have the desire to perform in the role? Are there roadblocks she needs help with? Are you giving this executive the responsibility without the authority? Did you give her auton­omy? How are you helping her be successful? Sometimes, the person someone reports to--you--can be the challenge. You also have to do some self-examination."

Jim Wong CEO, Brilliant (human resources)
No. 1,211 2016 Inc. 5000 Rank
322% 3-year growth
$27M 2015 revenue


"I'd think about my gut feeling. Is this going to work out? If I don't think it will long term, I wouldn't delay firing someone. If it's not a fit for you, it's not a fit for that employee."

Sally Bergesen CEO, Oiselle Running (retail)
No. 801 2016 Inc. 5000 Rank
496% 3-year growth
$6.7M 2015 revenue


"When people are not the version of themselves that I hired, my first step is to remind them, 'You're in this role because you're great at X, Y, and Z. Right now, those are not showing up. We need you to get back to that rock- star version of you.' Step two, I try to get people to think about the problem not from their own perspective. Senior people, especially, can be very 'me, me, me' oriented. Step three, make it their idea. Ask them, 'Well, how might you try a different approach?' "

Mona Patel CEO, Motivate Design (business products & services)
No. 1,592 2016 Inc. 5000 Rank
237% 3-year growth
$3.9M 2015 revenue


FROM THE JULY/AUGUST 2017 ISSUE OF INC. MAGAZINE