The following is a typical conversation regarding a long-term low performer that has been allowed to stay on the team.
"We have this long-term employee, his name is Fred. He came with the merger and has been with the company for 10 years. People love and hate him."
"Love and hate him?" I typically ask. I know where they are going.
"The low performers love him and management hates his low performance."
My next question is always the same, "Would you hire Fred again?"
The answer is always the same, "No. No I would not."
"Is Fred doing anything wrong other than not performing?"
"Well... I am not sure this is really wrong... Well perhaps it is... Fred seemingly thumbs his nose at management. He does not turn in sales reports on time and in some cases he does the opposite of what he should be doing."
Yes. Failing to do the job is wrong. Poisoning the morale of the team is wrong.
I already know the answer to the next question I ask, but I must ask it to help the Client get the courage to do what they must do - let Fred go. "Do other employees notice what Fred is doing or not doing?"
"Then you know what you must do, right."
"I know. Fred needs to go. He poisons the water so badly now. I know he needs to go, but he has been with the company so long."
Most sales managers do not let sales people like "Fred" go. They keep them and pay the consequences in reduced morale and lost Customer opportunities. The longer people like "Fred" stay, the worse the problems become. The best thing to do is let low performers go - and the sooner the better.
When a low performer is let go, an important culture standard statement is made to the team saying, "Mediocrity is not allowed here."
Fast forward two weeks... Fred was not let go. I received the call from the VP of sales letting me know that Fred quit and is now working for a competitor.
Quite frankly... After knowing what Fred was capable of (or not capable of), there is nothing sweeter than allowing a problem employee to go to a competitor. But I would have let Fred go - and sooner-than-later.
The longer a low performer is allowed to stay, there are three costly consequences.
- The Performance Culture of the team suffers. Low performers drag down the performance of the team.
- Valuable management time is tied up. Low performers require a lot of management time.
- Customers suffer. Low performers hurt Customer relationships.
Decide what your Culture will be and guard it carefully. Very carefully. Let low performers go.
Fortune magazine recently named Steve Jobs one of The 12 Greatest Entrepreneurs of our time. Unfortunately, the first paragraph of the write-up begins with...
Though he could be abusive and mean-spirited to people who threw themselves into their work on his behalf, Steve Jobs has been our generation's quintessential entrepreneur. Visionary. Inspiring. Brilliant. Mercurial.
"Though he could be abusive and mean-spirited to people who threw themselves into their work on his behalf..." Really? That's how Steve Jobs' brilliance is to be remembered? That is how a man who reshaped how we use computers, communication, and mobile devices is described? That is how an incredible man who defended excellence with vigor and passion is to be described?
Yet... Many bloggers and article writers begin almost apologetically... Steve Jobs was a jerk and...
What about the results?
In Psychology Today, Greg Henriques explains that, “Jobs should be defined by the products his company produces, not by the means by which he leads people to produce them.”
Although people may have thrown themselves into their work, were they getting the results Steve Jobs desired?
The results Steve Jobs and Apple created scream loudly for themselves and will for years to come. Steve Jobs and Apple created multiple game-changing and life-enhancing products that many (including myself) enjoy and take for granted.
The real problem was not Steve Jobs' behavior towards those that did not deliver results. The real problem is that the American business world has become so politically correct that "feel good" programs have created large continents of mediocrity. The feelings of the employee have become more important than workplace accountability.
It has become politically incorrect to expect results.
It has become politically incorrect to actually expect employees to work when they go to work while achieving the results expected of them and to take responsibility for their work.
Steve Jobs was without a doubt demanding. He expected excellence. He expected results.
Steve Jobs is a hero and will be remembered as such. He got the right things done and he never wavered. It is high time that we describe Steve Jobs for the results he got and stop talking about the feelings of those who got hurt because they did not meet his standards of excellence.
By the way... If you have not done so, study this man. Steve Jobs was perfectly imperfect. There is much to learn and integrate from Steve Jobs. There are two books out right now about Apple and Steve Jobs that I recommend strongly. Read them and then re-read them. Both are available in iBook format, which is superior to every copycat out there.
An also must read... Especially if you like brevity - HBR article about The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson.
Happy Monday Everyone!
Welcome to the latest edition of Human Capital Strategies! Each week, we give you insight into the 5 most interesting blog articles of the week. They will help you improve your most important assets, your people and yourself. This week, we feature posts, which contain information on leadership development, personality profiles, sales and much more!
We hope you enjoy!
See you next week!
Walter Isaacson, Harvard Business Review: The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs - Everyone has his or her own opinion of Steve Jobs. The one think we do know though is that he was a great leader. In this post, Walter explains quite a few leadership lessons that we can learn from Steve Jobs. Follow Walter on Twitter: @WalterIsaacson
Linda Finkle, Incedo Blog: Good Skill Set and Great Personality: One for the Job - What is your definition of an ideal employee. In this post, Linda explains that the perfect employee needs to have two things, a good skill set as well as a great personality.
Follow Linda on Twitter: @IncedoGroup
Mike Myatt, SmartBrief Jobs Blog: 5 Steps to Becoming More Interesting – and a better Leader - Would you classify yourself as interesting? How about a good leader? In this post, Mike explains 5 ways to become a more interesting individual as well as a better leader.
Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikemyatt
Robert I. Sutton PHD, Fast Company Expert Blog: Why “Big Picture Only” Bosses are the Worst - In this post, Robert states, “There is a difference between management and leadership, but focusing on it is dangerous.” Robert takes his changes and goes on to describe the big difference between management and leadership.
Follow Robert on Twitter: @work_matters
Paul McCord, Sales and Sales Management Blog: Can It Get Any Strager? - People are creatures of habit. Once you start doing something your way, it is often hard to change your ways, sometimes even if it is not working. In this post, Paul takes a look at why people act this way.
Follow Paul on Twitter: @paul_mccord
A large sized heavy equipment manufacturer was facing considerable performance difficulties in its aftermarket service department. Efficiency and profitability were of particular concern for the service department. In fact the service department was nearing a total collapse under the pressure of the firm's quickly increasing sales.
The company was facing numerous problems in the service department, which were made even more difficult due to long-term emotional ties to a number of employees. Many of the employees in the service department had given the company decades of hard work and loyalty.
A real dilemma had arose: the service department wasn't getting the job done, but nobody wanted to hurt the feelings of the employees who were such a large part of the company's identity. The bottom line was hurting and something needed to be done fast.
Job Match Testing Made The Difference
The company wisely sought outside help and learned of the hiring system used by The Rainmaker Group. They quickly learned that the problem in the service department was likely a people problem i.e. they had the wrong people in the wrong job positions.
The employees had proficient technical knowledge of the firm's products, however many lacked the soft skills necessary to be successful in the service department. With the help of our consultants, management began establishing a suitable job benchmark for the service department.
They were able to determine which values, behaviors, and attributes were most needed for success in the service department. The personality profile was then given to employees in the service department to determine who was best fit for a position in that department.
Those employees who were well fit to work in the service department remained, while those who were not were reassigned to different areas of the company where their skills complemented the job position. The remaining vacancies in the service department were then filled using the same employee selection process.
The results were outstanding. The service department was able to get back on its feet and regain efficiency and profitability. Overall moral for the firm has improved significantly as employees are better fit for their job assignments and the firm's customer satisfaction numbers have improved as well.
The equipment manufacturer has also experienced a healthy increase in its bottom line since implementing a benchmarking program. Sales volume has more than doubled, and profitability has increased by 96%.
Thirty-five years ago, Hal began his new career as a sales professional selling B2B for a regional company that is now part of a national company.
While his sales performance was almost always slightly below average, Hal was a good "soldier". He did what he was asked to the best of his ability and weathered the various mergers and acquisitions over the years.
Ten years ago Hal began inquiring about getting a promotion he thought he had earned. After all, he did everything he was asked to the best of his ability. It was his turn this time - to be an area sales manager.
Management did not see him as a sales manager and avoided promoting him until five years ago when a new VP of sales promoted Hal.
Today, Hal is close to retirement. Despite his best efforts, he was a lousy sales manager. While other regions grew, he did everything he could to stay even with prior year sales.
The real problem is that Hal was not "wired" to be a sales person nor a sales manager. This was a disaster waiting to happen.
Three months ago, Hal was demoted by a new VP of sales. The new VP of sales did what they had to do. The prior VP of sales did the company, team, and Hal a serious disservice.
In a recent meeting with Hal, my heart ached. A once proud man who took a lot of pride in his work was now a broken man. He did all that was asked of him.
Hal should not have gotten promoted in the first place. The VP of sales that promoted him retired, and left with his head held high. While at the same time, his decision to promote Hal left Hal with his head hanging low.
Hal's last year or two of his career (if he makes it) as a sales person will be filled with "what ifs" and eventual anger. In retirement, Hal will not hold his head high.
Unfortunately, situations like this occur too frequently. The "reward" the prior VP of sales gave to Hal became a curse to the organization, team, and now Hal.
What is even more unfortunate is that all of this could be avoided if management would have used an effective Employee Selection Process that involved a Sales Personality Test to identify whether or not Hal was fit for the sales positions.
By simply using a Sales Personality Test, Hal would not be retiring with a low hanging head and the company and team would have done much better than just breaking even with the previous year's sales.
If you are like the company Hal is working for and the damage is already done, check out How to Improve a Struggling Sales Team by Tim Donnelly.
Happy Monday Everyone!
Welcome to the latest edition of Human Capital Strategies! Each week, we give you insight into the 5 most interesting blog articles of the week. This week, we feature posts, which contain information on leadership development, team building, employee motivation, sales strategy and much more!
We hope you enjoy!
See you next week!
Gary Burnison, Fast Company Expert Blog: Learning The Softer Side of Leadership - Close your eyes and imagine a leader in your head? Now open your eyes. Was the image of the leader that you imagined rough, tough, and strong? A lot of times people only view leaders as strong individuals. In this post, Gary explains a side of leadership that tends to slip our minds, the soft side of leadership. Check out this post to see just what exactly Gary is talking about.
Follow Gary on Twitter: @Korn_Ferry
Stephen Sharpiro, Making Innovation Cultures a Reality: How to Listen Better - Do you have problems listening? You are not alone. Truly listening to someone can be very hard for humans, especially in today’s world. In this post, Stephen shares a personal story of how an entire JetBlue flight that he was traveling on at the time sat straight up and listened contently during the flight.
Follow Stephen on Twitter: @stephensharpiro
David Burkus, SmartBrief Jobs: Social vs. Monetary Motivation in the Workplace - What motivates you in the workplace? In this post, David discusses research from Ian Larkin who is an assistant professor at Harvard Business School. Larkin’s research states, “social comparison-our natural tendency to measure ourselves against peers- may be the most powerful workplace motivator.” Do you agree? Check out this post to read more on Larkin’s research on the matter.
Follow David on Twitter: @LDRLB
Marlene Chism, Stop Workplace Drama: I Might Be Wrong... - Do you always feel the need to be right? In this post, Marlene explains that even though a person really believes that they are right, they might be misinformed or not have all of the information on the subject. Thinking you are right all of the time can cause workplace drama.
Follow Marlene on Twitter: @StopYourDrama
Paul Castain, Sales Playbook: Breathing Some Life Into Repetitive Boring Messaging
I’m sure you have already read Stephen’s post above on how to listen better. Now we feature a post by Paul Castain, which describes what to do when you are on the other end. How many boring messages do you send out per day? Do you ever feel repetitive and boring? In this post, Paul provides examples of how companies have taken their once boring messages and completely changed the way they present them to get people interested again!
Follow Paul on Twitter: @paulcastain
Right Management has published a new survey highlighting what executives think will be the most pressing issues in human resources this year. I cannot say the numbers surprise me.
Here is what the executives are worried about . . .
- 31% say lack of high-potential leaders in the organization
- 26% say low engagement and lagging productivity
- 23% say shortage of talent at all levels
- 19% say defection of top talent to other organizations
After seeing the results of this survey, the first thing that came to my mind is how many of these executives are still using traditional hiring methods? The most recent data shows that 2/3 of employers do not use pre employment tests, meaning that only 1/3 of employers do.
With only 1/3 of employers using Personality Profiles to hire, it is obvious why 31% are worried about having top leaders in their company. Executives are not able to identify top leaders using traditional hiring methods based on a good interview, faulty references, and intuition.
If the majority of executives began using Personality Profiles to select their talent, they would not have to worry about putting top talent in their organization, keeping them engaged, and keeping them on board rather than fleeing to other organizations.
The human resource worries of executives in 2012 could be dramatically lower by simply using a more accurate hiring method that includes a Personality Profile to eliminate mediocrity and increase top talent.
This is a podcast that originally aired on Wild Inspire with Scott Wild.
I recently had the opportunity to engage on Wild Inspire's Top 3 Podcast series hosted by Scott Wild. In the conversation, we discussed the Rainmaker Group's business approach and how it is beneficial to companies. The three areas of focus were talent selection, accountability systems, and cultural standards. Listen to the podcast to learn more about these areas, and what the Rainmaker Group Inc. is all about.
As the leader of the Rainmaker Group, I understand that executives and managers do not have spare time for many of the tasks that arise. In most cases, these tasks are handed off to an administrative assistant. However, managers and executives need to realize there are some tasks that an administrative assistant should not be handling.
Tasks that should NEVER be handed off to an administrative assistant are tasks involving talent management. We will often get calls from an administrative assistant asking about our Personality Profiles, and almost always the question of highest importance is "How much do they cost?"
Price should not be the determining factor. Consulting companies that just throw a price at you before obtaining all the necessary "diagnosis" information should be immediately removed from consideration.
A true consultant - a professional - is unable to provide prices to solutions that are based on limited information from an administrative assistant. In fact, a professional would insist on speaking with you - the person making the decision.
We are solution providers. We help people and companies who are committed to solving their talent management problems by actually solving them. As a consultant - a professional, I must understand the extent of the problem prior to diagnosing the correct course of action - the "remedy."
Imagine an administrative assistant calling the doctor's office on behalf of their boss... "My boss needs something for his headaches. He says it hurts a lot. He would also like to sleep better. What do you have and how much for it? And no... You cannot speak with him. He just wants options and prices right now."
If you want the best solution for your talent management issues, you will not find it by having your administrative assistant do the job. Only the eye of the beholder can find the best talent management solution for your company.
To learn more about the difference between assigning a task and delegation check out How to go Further Faster by Dan Rockwell.
Happy Monday Everyone!
Welcome to the latest edition of Human Capital Strategies! Each week, we give you insight into the 5 most interesting blog articles of the week. They will help you improve your most important assets, your people and yourself. This week, we feature posts, which contain information on organizational culture, customer service experiences, sales strategy and much more!
We hope you enjoy!
See you next week!
Whitney Johnson & Bob Moesta, HBR Blog Network: Procrastination is Essential to Innovation - Is procrastination your best friend? Or is it your worst enemy? People view procrastination differently. In this post Whitney and Bob share their story of procrastination.
Follow Whitney & Bob on Twitter: @johnsonwhitney & @bmoesta
Doris Nhan, SmartBlog on Leadership: How a creative work environment encourages more risk and more rewards - Is creativity encouraged at your workplace? Do you believe that creativity creates a more successful organization? In this post Doris provides a great video featuring Tim Brown, the CEO of IDEO, a global design consultancy. Check out this post to see if you agree with Doris!
Follow Doris on Twitter: @Doraquinn
Carol Roth, Business Unplugged: You Can’t Automate Common Courtesy - In today’s world, it is very easy for people to turn into robots. Auto messages, e-mails, calendars and many more tools are making the world less and less personable. In this post, Carol describes the importance of simple common courtesy, and how today’s technology is taking it away little by little.
Follow Carol on Twitter: @CarolJSRoth
Alen Mayer, The Science and Art of Selling Blog: Are Sales People Born or Made? - Do you think that people are just born great sales people? Or is it possible to be trained into becomming a successful sales person? In this post Alen tells all. He also provides a very interesting infographic!
Follow Alen on Twitter: @mayeralen
Jon Gordon, Jon Gordon Blog: The Worst Customer Service Ever - How many times have you experienced horrible customer service? Now think of how many times you told your bad customer service story. Did you use your social media networks to spread the word? Check out this post to see Jon uses an example to show how positive customer service experiences are more important than ever.
Follow Jon on Twitter: @JonGordon11
Chances are your Customer Service Departments is a cost center - an afterthought - part of the cost of doing business. If your Customer Service Department is like most others - your employees ended up there by accident. No one dreams of working for a Customer Service Department.
Over the last decade of being a consumer and a consultant, I have found very few Customer Service Departments that I would say, "Get it." To name the few that come to mind... Apple, Zappos, Discover Card, and Ritz-Carlton.
These companies get it.
Companies that create extreme value through their Customer Experience...
- Purposefully design the Customer Experience – The Customer Experience is carefully designed to create the desired emotional outcome for the Customer.
- Add Value through Cross-Sells / Up-Sells – Identify ways to add value to the Customer Experience through additional products / services that create Customer Value and additional revenue.
- Hire the right Talent consistently – Carefully select employee team members who are “wired” to create extreme value in every Customer interaction.
- Goal-Oriented Compensation – Give incentive to Talent for adding value to the Customer.
- Create Culture Standards – Transforming the Culture of your team takes time and commitment. Moving from the “old world” of giving everything away to the “new world” of selling.
If you were to score your company's Customer Service Department in these four critical areas, how would you do? Does your Customer Service Department create extreme value?
Today would be a good day to begin that transformation.
For more on Customer Service check out . . .
Don't Destroy The Customer Experience in an Effort to Cut Costs During a Recession
Why Customer Service Training Is Likely A Lousy Idea
Yet another study analyzing the impact of "bad bosses" has been completed. This one is by the Université Francois Rabelais, and published in the Journal of Business and Psychology.
"Our study shows that both organizational and managerial factors have an influence on satisfying or frustrating the basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and how we relate to others. We have shown, for the first time, that the fulfillment and frustration of these needs plays a central role in the improvement or reduction of well-being at work. Therefore, to satisfy employees' needs, supervisors should provide subordinates with options rather than use threats and deadlines, a strategy which could improve their workforce's well-being."
The study found that the more employees felt that their supervisor supported their autonomy, the more the employees' needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness were met and the happier and more satisfied they were.
Guess what happens when you give more freedom to an employee who cannot do the job?
That is correct... You get more work not being done correctly. However, those who do the job right will see an increase in autonomy.
When the work is not being done correctly, good managers reduce employee autonomy until the employee proves they can do the job well.
Which begs the question. Is the problem really bad bosses or bad job fit?
And yes... I realize that bad bosses do exist and in most cases (not all) they eventually get "weeded out".
Think about it for a second… A manager's responsibility and duty to the organization is to supervise, correct, and guide the performance of those below him or her. If a team member is in a position that is not a good fit based on his or her behaviors, values, and personal talents, what is going to happen? Chances are VERY HIGH that he or she will perform below expectations for that position and that his or her performance will need to be corrected by the manager. Autonomy will be reduced. Guaranteed.
When this happens the employee will likely begin to ask themselves questions like, "Why can't he/she just let me do my work?", "Isn't anything I do good enough?", or "why is he/she such a jerk?"
When the employee is not doing their job and the boss holds them accountable and reduces their autonomy, many people will begin to characterize their supervisor as a "bad boss".
Ever met someone who was not doing their job who loved their boss? Me neither.
People who do not fit the job almost always fail to put the blame on themselves. They blame the chair they sit on, the people around them, their equipment, and yes - the boss who is trying to get them to do what they are paid to do - their job - which they cannot do effectively.
How exactly do you determine the root cause of the job fit problem? I suggest you consider the following strategy I have found to be very effective:
- Use Job Benchmarking to determine what is truly needed for success in the position. Until you know what is really needed to be successful in a particular position, you cannot assess how well a given candidate or team member fits the job.
- Have your team members complete a personality profile and compare the results against the job benchmark.
- Ensure that your team members are in the right position based upon how well they fit the job and help those who are not a good fit for their position to find a more suitable position in your organization.
The wrong people in the wrong positions will spell disaster. While the right people in the right positions will take your organization to new heights never before imagined.
Happy Monday Everyone!
Welcome to the latest edition of Human Capital Strategies! Each week, we give you insight into the 5 most interesting blog articles of the week. They will help you improve your most important assets, your people and yourself. This week, we feature posts, which contain information on company cutlure, leadership development, sales and much more!
We hope you enjoy!
See you next week!
Debra Auerbach, The Work Buzz: Have you experienced violence in the workplace? - You hear stories about workplace violence, but let’s be frank, it never really happens right? Wrong! Workplace violence is actually quite common. In this post, Debra tells all about workplace violence. Even if you do not think workplace violence is possible with your organization’s culture, take a look at this post. It could happen to anyone, no matter how perfect your company’s culture may be.
Follow Debra through Careerbuilder on Twitter: @CareerBuilder
Jesse Lyn Stoner, Jesse Lyn Stoner’s Blog: 5 Important Leadership Lessons You Learned in Kindergarten - It is amazing how much we learn at a young age. If only we would have known at the time that the things we were learning would come in handy in the future. Maybe, just maybe mothers are always right after all… In this post, Jesse Lyn Stoner brings us back to the basics. She explains 5 different leadership lessons that we learned in Kindergarten. Check out this post to see the 5 lessons that you have been over looking all of these years!
Follow Jesse on Twitter: @JesseLynStoner
Ron Whitaker, About Leaders: Life Goals: Plan It… Live It… Achieve It. - Have you created your life goals? Are they SMART goals? In this post, Ron discusses the importance of creating life goals. Ron provides examples of other’s life goals as well as a printable goal setting worksheet. After reading this post, you will have no excuse to not have SMART life goals. Ron states, “Believe in yourself and surround yourself with people that support you.” So what are you waiting for? Take a look at this post and start creating your SMART life goals!
Follow Ron through Dr. Mary Kay Whitaker on Twitter: @AboutLeaders
David Brock, Partner In Excellence: Curiosity – A Critical Trait of Great Sales People - I’m sure you have read list after list of how to be a great sales person, but usually they do not have the trait of curiosity listed. In this post, David explains why curiosity is a very important piece of being a great salesperson! Check out this post to see why curiosity is so important in sales success!
Follow David on Twitter: @davidabrock
Tim Maly, Co.Design Blog: Should You Send That E-Mail? Here’s A Flowchart For Deciding - If you are at the top, do you receive too many e-mails per day? If you are an employee, do you send too many e-mails per day? I this post, Tim explains that e-mails today are sent too much! Tim goes on to provide a very entertaining infographic which will help you decide if you should really send that e-mail. So what are you waiting for? Go take a look at the infographic to see if you should be sending as much as you do.
Follow Tim on Twitter: @doingitwrong
There are a plethora of "personality test" instruments available in the market place and quite frankly, there should be regulation. There are a lot of people with good intentions selling personality tests who are clueless about what they are selling.
I have seen a lot of scary personality tests (and consultants) out there that are biased, not validated, and quite frankly of little predictive value.
End-users - usually HR - are often too trusting with the personality test consultant or company they buy from and typically focus on one thing and one thing only - price.
I learned a long time ago that price is what you pay and value is what you get.
The problem with focusing on price is the assumption that all personality tests are the same when in fact, they are not. Very few go beyond Behaviors. Fewer still are validated by an independent third party within the last two or three years. And very, very few are without bias.
The real focus should be on predictability of outcome. In other words, "Does the personality test actually predict performance consistently?"
Take sales for example. I recently saw the top and bottom performers of the same inside sales team produce an annual $1.1m and $300,000 respectively. Both higher and lower sales performers were hired using a sales personality test that turned out to be a very poor predictor of performance.
We ran our highly-validated sales personality test on both and found that the Job Fit of a higher performer was high and the lower performer had a low Job Fit. Imagine that!
The Client originally spent less than $25 per candidate when they hired the lower performer. They thought they were "saving money" with their cheap assessment. I bet HR even patted themselves on the back for the super low price...
The problem is that a $25 cheap personality test allowed a low performer to get onto the sales team and destroy Customer and Shareholder value - not to mention occupy significant management focus.
Let's do the math... The higher performer produced $1.1 million and the lower performer produced $300,000. The cheap, low validity sales personality test this company used is actually costing them $800,000 a year or over $4 million over the span of five years for one bad hire.
How much are your cheap personality tests costing you?