“I am the terminator.”

I decided to treat myself to an oil change today. It is nice to have someone else do it for a “change.” The man behind the counter mentioned that he was from New York. We are about an hour from the CT/NY border so I had to ask why he was coming all the way to CT to work at the shop. That’s when he said, “I am the terminator. When I show up to work, people are gonna go. I show up when things are going down down, stay three months, and leave when everything is turned around.” He comes into a franchise and evaluates everything, goes through paper work, recommendations made to customers, he reconnects to people, and makes sure that customer service is professional and friendly.

While he doesn’t have a rubber stamp to make change, his boss trusts him and pretty much his recommendations are carried out. He can change staff, policies, and work schedule. When he is done, the customer is happy, the work is being completed, and the business is on the path to being successful again.

Ex-CIA Chief George Tenet wrote:

In a multi-billion dollar corporation, “one man, one vote” guarantees lowest-common-denominator solutions—nobody will be truly uncomfortable or unhappy about outcomes. Good leadership, by contrast, demands that some segments of your organization have to swallow bitter but needed medicine.

Some days I wish we had a terminator that visited schools. One that would make the educators and parents who seek to a halt to any kind of progressive change to swallow their bitter medicine. The problem is that in the current high stakes testing climate, when they came, I might be the first to be terminated.

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