- Mike Coppola/Getty Images for iHeartMedia
- Barbara Corcoran was a real-estate mogul before she became a judge on “Shark Tank.”
- As the head of The Corcoran Group, which she sold in 2001 for $66 million, Corcoran ran a “mean and lean” business by not being scared to fire underperformers.
- She explained at IGNITION why she relished firing 25% of her sales staff every year.
When Barbara Corcoran headed The Corcoran Group, her New York real-estate firm, she secretly loved Fridays – but not for the reason you might think.
That was the day Corcoran fired underperforming salespeople.
“I couldn’t wait to say to someone in the sales area, ‘Hey do you have a few minutes for me on Friday?'” Corcoran said at Business Insider’s flagship conference IGNITION.
It might sound cruel, but Corcoran explained that getting rid of weak employees was an important way to keep her business strong. In fact, she fired a quarter of her sales staff every year.
“I just loved Fridays,” Corcoran said at IGNITION. “It was like – do you ever call in sick from work one day and stay home and clean your whole apartment really well, and how good that feels? That was every Friday of my life, that was the way it was. I started Monday fresh as a button.”
Along with the fact that she simply couldn’t keep subpar workers on the payroll, Corcoran said keeping underperformers on staff can cause personnel issues. Top salespeople aren’t likely to respect a company where underperforming salespeople are able to stick around.
To ensure that standards were high at The Corcoran Group, she told new hires that, in order to stay on the team, everyone was required to make one sale in their first three months.
“What actually happened is that people got ready to fire themselves because they knew what the requirement was,” Corcoran said at IGNITION. “We ran mean and lean because of our clarity of hiring and our clarity of firing.”
The Corcoran Group otherwise had high retention rates. Corcoran previously told Business Insider’s Alyson Shontell that she kept company morale up by fostering a workplace culture in which employees cared for each other.
“I did what my mother did,” Corcoran said previously. “I adored my children … I pushed them forward, got them to believing they could do a lot more than they were doing. And they did! Because people don’t really know what they’re capable of.”
And one key way she cared for her employees was by ensuring that underperformers and “complainers” didn’t stay for too long in the company.
“One negative person will take the energy out of 15 great people quietly,” she said.