December 16, 2017

Prune Dead Wood and Let Employees Shine

“Stop avoiding conflict and prune the dead wood.” Author Tom Peters concurs when he writes: “Give a lot, expect a lot, and if you don’t get it, prune.”

The truth is that some turnover – of the people who aren’t contributing – is good. But low performers, once surrounded by other low performers, are loathe to leave. People like to work for people who like them and are like them, so if you notice that your business is heavily weighted with “falling stars,” take a keen look first at the management team. Recognize that some low performers are actually high performers in disguise but will only perform up to the manager’s expectations. Maybe your expectations…..

Here are two lists that summarize the upside and downside of keeping or pruning the dead wood:

Keeping Low Performers:

  • Means positions are full and you don’t have to place a want ad
  • Increases theft
  • Lowers productivity
  • Wastes your time on daily disciplinary issues, reports and discussions that could be better spent building business
  • Sends a terrible message to everyone else: “You can under-perform consistently and complain regularly and we still have a place for you – a place right alongside our most valued employees and even a place interacting with our most valuable appreciating asset, our customers.”

Terminating Low Performers:

  • Means brand standards, values and character are upheld
  • Keeps high performers longer (and recruits their friends)
  • Puts other low performers on notice
  • Typically raises the game of average performers
  • Makes the crew more focused
  • Gives customers better service
  • Helps you work and sleep better
  • Means you or managers may have to cover a shift until a better person is hired
  • Raises productivity and profitability

Logically, which choice makes makes the most sense? Unhire the people who make your job harder, your team mediocre and your customers disappointed. People are your brand. Put the right ones in the office.

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