Guy is one of my heroes and his blog is one of my favorites.
A post today on the 'Art of Firing' is a good summary:
"I’ve fired people a few times in my career, and I hated everything about the process. I’m not sure I did it well when I did it, but I’ve thought a lot about how it should be done. Here is my best shot at “The Art of Firing People.” (from "The Art of Firing")
Read it, it has very good advice. But in my opinion, Guy omits the most important, step "0":
Before firing someone you need to ensure that you've given them adequate, honest, and timely feedback on whatever issues you perceive there are and well before there's any thought about firing.
It's more than "Consulting impartial people" and a lot more than "Searching your soul". And while related, it's not the same as "Give people a second chance." A second chance means that there are serious, firing-level problems but you hold your fire.
This is really "give people a real first chance."
Many managers just don't give the direct and honest and unvarnished feedback to someone well before things get to the point where you are considering firing them.
Another one of my heroes is Gerald Weinberg, author of my all time favorite management book, "Becoming a Technical Leader" says: "Everyone is doing the very best job they know how to, given the circumstances." Very often if someone is not doing the job, examine the circumstances carefully and honestly and you may well figure out a way to improve things.