Parting ways with an employee is one of the most difficult endings a leader must face.  We deal with ending a professional relationship today in our third post on “The End”.

Every employee is going to leave the business at some point.  We may not like it but understand when someone retires, or moves, or leaves for family issues.  Voluntary resignations are easier to deal with than involuntary terminations.

Managers usually know and realize when they must terminate someone for performance reasons.  It’s still not easy, and you know you are changing someone’s life that day, but it must be done.  Ending a professional relationship is sometimes necessary for the health of the business.

It’s even harder when you have to make that call and the termination is not “for cause.”

No manager likes telling an employee that the needs of the business have outgrown their capabilities and skills.

That their department or line of business has been eliminated.

That the company is having a reduction in force to remain competitive for the market conditions.

Those hurt. Looking into the eyes of a person you’ve worked with and giving them bad news is awful for both parties.

We have to believe we are making the right decisions for the right reasons, protecting the business as a whole even though individual lives are affected.

When you must terminate an employee, be human.  Respect them by being honest and getting straight to the point.  Treat them fairly.  Let them say their goodbyes.  And above all, understand the emotions they are experiencing and make the process as easy as you can.

Ending a professional relationship is tough, and businesses must have the right people in the right seats.  If you struggle in this area, reach out to us at or CONTACT US.

Do you have an idea that people think won’t work?  Maybe it is like Charlie Brown’s little Christmas tree and others just don’t have the vision you do.  Kinda what like Charles Schulz was up against…

A Charlie Brown Christmas may be one of the most acclaimed and popular Christmas specials shown each year. It won both an Emmy and Peabody awards despite being written and produced in just six months. Its soundtrack sold millions of copies, and the show has been adapted for the theater. It has been shown annually for over fifty years.

And almost everyone thought it was going to be a disaster.


Watching A Charlie Brown Christmas now is a tradition but the show is anything but traditional. When you deconstruct the show into parts, think about what it had going against conventional wisdom and accepted practice:

  • It was a children’s holiday special with a jazz soundtrack.
  • The producers hired child actors to fill the roles.
  • The pace is unconventional.
  • It has no laugh track, an almost universal production element at the time.
  • The story of the birth of Jesus is recited by Linus at the climax of the show, and many involved in the production thought the religious element would be controversial. The producers were worried that the religious theme would turn people off. Charles Schulz was adamant that the show would focus on the true meaning of Christmas.

So what happened?

Just days before it aired, the producers thought they had a disaster on their hands. The network executives agreed. But…

One of the animators predicted it was the best special he’d ever work on. A TV critic who viewed it before it aired praised it. And when it aired, it was number two in the ratings and it received critical acclaim. It is now a staple every December.

Almost everyone thought it would fail. They were wrong.

Schulz was determined to tell the true meaning of Christmas in his special, and he stuck to his guns. Lee Mendelson kept the unorthodox mix of traditional Christmas music and jazz. The animators knew they had created something special.

Despite the opinions of everyone else, Schulz, Mendelson, and crew stuck to their convictions. They did something unconventional and created what has become a beloved special with success no one imagined. And millions of people are glad they did.  The show itself was an unlikely a success as Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree selection.

What are you not doing because someone has told you “it won’t work”? What unconventional idea do you have that you are not pursuing? What risk are you not taking because others can’t see your vision? Take a page from the creative forces behind A Charlie Brown Christmas and do the unconventional anyway. Follow your dreams and bring your vision to life. Pick that little tree no one else wants, give it your attention, and see what happens.

OPG helps business owners bring their visions to life.  CONTACT US  or connect with us at

Have you ever found yourself with thoughts like “my revenues are up but I don’t feel like I’m getting ahead” or “I need someone to run this project”?   Situations like these are examples of how COOs can help small businesses and start-ups, but many owners and founders don’t realize it.  A small business benefits from engaging a fractional COO.

COOs aren’t just for large businesses

Large complex businesses aren’t the only ones that need COOs.  Small businesses and even start-ups benefit from engaging a fractional COO.

Small businesses may think that they can’t afford a COO.  It’s true that a small business may not be able to justify the expense of a full-time COO.  They still need the experience and focus on operations that a COO brings.  The fractional model makes the COO expertise available to smaller organizations by using a cost-effective part-time model.

It isn’t uncommon for one of the founders or the CEO to the fill both the roles of CEO and COO.  When starting out and resources are limited, that may be the best option.  The roles are different, however.  The CEO focuses on growing the business, casting vision, building culture, and fostering relationships.  COOs focus on day-to-day operations.  They ensure that teams work well together, remove roadblocks, and deal with details. It is rare to find individual that both excels at and enjoys performing both roles simultaneously.

How a small business benefits from a Fractional COO

In cases like this, a fractional COO will free up the CEO to do what they do best.  They can take ownership of projects that the CEO doesn’t have time to shepherd.  COOs facilitate communication between departments.  They can dig into the numbers to identify trends or potential problems that can be addressed before they become too disruptive.

Fractional COOs can be hands-on with ownership of projects and responsibilities as discussed above, or they can take on a more advisory role.  Small businesses are often built around talented, energetic people.  They will benefit from someone to help them grow the business smartly so that it is sustainable and profitable as it scales.  The business may have the on-the-ground resources but needs someone with experience to help guide them.  You can’t just add more people to a business as it grows; you have to intentionally improve your processes and do things differently if you want to be more profitable and more efficient.  Fractional COOs have the “been there done that” experience to help you grow the right way.  They help you reap the rewards of growing your organization.

If you need extra executive bandwidth or want to ensure you are building a scalable business, consider engaging a fractional COO.  Contact us to learn more. CONTACT US  or

Raise your hand if you want to relive the trials that 2020 has brought so far.

Think about the number and breadth of issues that businesses have faced this year:

  • Abrupt changes in how you conduct business or shutting your doors completely for a period of time
  • Letting good employees go to keep the business alive
  • Significant investments in technology and support for work-from-home arrangements
  • Leaning how to manage and engage remote team members
  • Changes to customer expectations and demand for your products and services
  • Charting a new path forward given much uncertainty

Any of those changes alone are significant challenges to address.  When compressed into a period of a few short months, they can be overwhelming.

While many businesses are still trying to recover, they can’t sit still.  Business owners must fearlessly look forward to what the future holds.  The trouble is no one can predict the future with any level of certainty.  So what are businesses to do?

They must have resiliency.  They must be able to withstand or quickly recover from difficult situations – because we may not know what challenges may come down the road, but we do know they are coming.  The ability to bounce back is easier for a company that has sound plans, that operates with little waste or excess that can creep in when times are good, and that truly understands their strengths and weaknesses.

The ability to live to fight another day looks different for every company.  For some, it means access to financial resources like savings or credit to make it through rough times.  For others, it’s the ability for their operations to continue without access to the company’s physical buildings.  Some businesses need to eliminate their least profitable products or services while some need to diversify their revenue streams.  Operating lean and doubling down on what makes your company unique can help you maximize your efficiency and your returns.

What steps are you taking today to prepare your company for the future?  How are you building resiliency?  If you are just beginning this process and need flexible resources to help you, contact us. or