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Last Update: Thursday July 29, 2021

Key Idea: Fire Yourself

Nigel's brother, Peter Skeffington, was hired to manage so Nigel could go back to selling. More...

Key Question:


Get out of the way and bring in people who can do what you can't do.  The reason most of us don't fire ourselves is because we refuse to hire our replacement.  You saw Rosemary and Nigel talk about their struggle. It is painful to listen to them because you know they tried many things that did not work.

Q: Will Peter survive and will the company grow under his leadership?

We say yes. They did everything right in the process to hire Peter. They recognized the need, they wrote a job description, they hired a psychologist to test him and she said Peter is the right person and Nigel has physically moved into the sales office.

Peter's leadership will get easier rather than harder as he is in charge of hiring now. He will hire people who have never reported to either Nigel or Rosemary. Also, he owns stock in the company. This means when employees are dealing with him he has more clout than just a "hired gun." The family part is powerful but without the scientific approach to Peter's selection, I would be skeptical about the future.

Learn more from other owners who fired themselves. Cybex, Jackalope, and Opici Wine Group.

Think about it

Where are your leadership gaps?  Are you trying to manage when you would rather be selling?

Clip from: Time Technology where Technology Warps Time

Godalming, Surrey, United Kingdom:   Meet the Skeffingtons - Rosemary, her husband, Nigel, and his brother, Peter.  They introduce us to a rather simple technology that brings people from different time zones into the same time and creates a ubiquitous space that everybody shares.  Their business is Time Technology.

What they do is teach and implement collaborative technologies. Though this technology raises some real questions about our perception of time, for them, it is just a fact that literally hundreds of people can be part of an online meeting, working on the same content, though separated by time zones and continents.
Time and space are so fundamental most of us just take the two for granted. It just seems like another application of technology, but it is the beginning of a very significant revolution --  at long last long-held beliefs about what is possible within a given space and time is radically changing.

Time Technology Ltd (RS)

Rosemary Skeffington, Founder

Brook House
Mint Street

44(0)1483 863 000

Visit our web site:

Office: 44(0)1483 863 000

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1992

Fire Yourself

ROSEMARY: I decided really that we needed a new managing director. We needed somebody--not me--who could take the business forward.

NIGEL: I didn't want to let my baby go.

ROSEMARY: Unless we grew, we wouldn't succeed. We'd probably fold, because you can't stand still as a business; you have to move forward all the time. Something had to change. But how? How were we going to do this? The way to do that was to find a new Managing Director. And we did. It took us a long time, but we did.

HATTIE (Voice Over): This is Peter Skeffington, Nigel's younger brother.

HATTIE: When you came here, you came from a huge, huge conglomerate. Why did you come here?

PETER: Well, I guess there are two primary reasons. One, there's the obvious family connection, which was kind of intriguing.

NIGEL: My brother was working for GE Capital. He'd been responsible for implementing Six Sigma, which is a management quality process.

PETER: Six Sigma fundamentally is a quality methodology. It's a whole set of tools and approach to applying improvements to your business. (More from Peter on Six Sigma)

NIGEL: Forget the fact he's brother for the moment; he just seems to be the right person to have in the organization. So being very cautious, we actually recruited a consultant psychiatrist, who worked with-- or psychologist--worked with one or two of the major consulting companies in terms of profiling prospective senior people. And we asked her to interview Peter and to carry out an analysis as to whether this guy was the right guy to join our company. That's probably the most money I've ever spent on a professional person in my life, and it was the best money we spent. Because what it did was, it gave us a profile of my brother that basically said he was ideal for the job. So it wasn't then a difficult decision to have him join the organization.

At the time we talked to Peter, he was a small cog in a very, very big mechanism, and he was frustrated with the fact that he spent a large amount of his time sort of just oiling various elements and never really making the difference. Now, how did we afford him? Well, I'm a salesman, so there was a bit of blarney, a bit of ...

PETER: He loves selling. That's ultimately his passion. He loves it. And the one thing that I've been able to do is release him in that respect. He was very--prior to that, he was constrained by all of the worry and the responsibility of trying to actually make the thing work as well. And by his own admission, that's not where his main skill or indeed his passion lies.

HATTIE (VoiceOver): By 2002, with 17 employees, the right leadership team was in place. But rarely do they need to be in the same room at the same time, as they most often depend upon their own collaboration tools to run the business.

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