Someone on your payroll needs to go.
You know it, the people that work with this under-performer know it, and the under-performer probably knows it.
Ranchers call it “culling the herd,” the process of removing animals from a group based on specific criteria to reinforce certain desirable characteristics of the group. No problem. Happens every day.
In shows like American Idol and X Factor, about 10,000 people attend initial auditions with the dream of becoming a star. The 10,000 hopefuls are culled to 121 contestants then culled to 30 for the semifinal, where they’re culled again so that 10 top-performing contestants proceed to the finals. Judges and the viewing public cast their votes and the finalist with the fewest votes is culled from the competition until a new winner is crowned. No problem. Happens every season.
In sports, teams hold training camps for veterans, rookies and walk-ons with each player vying for a roster spot. In professional football, for example, the first cut reduces the team to a 75-man roster, the second cut to a 53-man roster. At the end of the season, teams decide – based on performance – who will stay and who must go. This cut can include coaches. And GMs. No problem. Happens every season…unless you’re the Dallas Cowboys.
What about culling the herd of under-performers in business?
It’s a big problem for many leaders.
It occurs when you realize you’ve got an under-performer on your payroll but delay having a tough conversation. When you finally address the issue, you feel better because you finally put the issue on the table. With clear expectations, the under-performer either improves, leaves on his own, or is terminated due his unwillingness or inability to perform. Once that happens, your colleagues ask, “What took you so long?”
In my work with CEOs and leadership teams of small- and mid-sized businesses, the reasons I hear for not addressing performance issues include:
Have these issues hurt your business performance? Here’s how to find out: Take my free 10-minute Accountability in the Workplace assessment.
When you receive your scores from the assessment, you can confirm areas of strength, pinpoint opportunities for improvement and begin to dig into the reasons you’re getting the results you’re getting.
These issues and others that hinder performance are also addressed in my March 30 accountability workshop in Dallas. We have 10 seats left and registration closes this week, so get more info or register today. We’ll provide 7 action steps leaders can take to improve performance, including a 4-part formula that’s guaranteed to drive accountability.
Whether you’re culling your herd, force-ranking your employees or maintaining a relentless focus on continuous improvement, the reality is that talent is the single best predictor of future success.
Most leaders have used the economic recession as an opportunity to upgrade talent and eliminate under-performers.
It’s likely, however, that some under-performers are still hanging around your organization and going through the motions. These laggards are missing deadlines, disappointing the high-performing colleagues who are depending on them, and causing you to send mixed signals that under-performance is tolerated.
It’s time for them to go.
As a leader, it’s up to you to make the tough decisions. Culling the herd is up to you. Saddle up.
To dive even deeper into the topic of accountability, I invite you to purchase a copy of my bestselling book, “Accountability: The Key to Driving a High-Performance Culture.”
Business schools teach case studies. Hollywood blockbusters are inspired by true events.
Exceptional leaders are students of history. Decision-making comes with the territory.