The other day, I was meeting with the CEO at a company I advise. Our goal for the meeting was to review his executive team to identify potential gaps.

The CEO pulled up the list of his C-level executives and started walking me through it. I stopped him abruptly.

“What about Kent?” I asked.

“Ah, Kent,” he said, with just the slightest hesitation. “We had to let Kent go.”

“But, but, …” I stammered. “You just hired him three months ago! He was your prized hire, the one whose hiring you trumpeted in an email to the board…