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Your Organization’s Ability to Retain Top Performers Depends Upon ONLY Two Things!

You must create a culture where Top Performers are able to thrive.

You must create a culture where Bottom Performers cannot hide, nor survive.

Some companies do a good job with the first. They have performance management plans, timely performance reviews, managers who acknowledge and truly care about their people.

However, unless you deal with low performance quickly and effectively, Bottom Performers can remain and negatively impact your organization for years!

We call this “stay-over” and in organizational terms – it is much more deadly than turnover.

Sometimes the underperformers have been in the company for YEARS. Granted in some larger organizations, it’s easy to hide. But why is it when someone obviously isn’t succeeding in a position have they been allowed to flounder for so long?

The three most common reasons are:

  1. Management is overly empathetic to the person’s challenges. “S/he is a nice person with a family to support and s/he tries really hard.”
  2. Management not only wants to avoid the gut wrenching job of having to let the person go but they are worried about the consequences. “What if the person I fire becomes litigious or what if the next person I hire is worse?”
  3. Management hopes for the best. “Maybe the person can turn it around. Perhaps we as a company have not given them the proper direction or support they need to succeed.”

In all of these scenarios, management is overly focused on the needs and challenges of the individual.

Instead they need to think like Kerry Patterson, author of Crucial Conversations suggests,

“It is my job to keep the company as competitive as possible thus securing the jobs of every employee and not just the one.”

If we truly understood the impact of allowing underperformers to remain in our organizations, we might be more willing to take on the difficult task of figuring out what to do with them.

Here are the consequences of some employees not carrying their fair share of the work…

  • Others are left to pick up the slack.
  • Top Performers begin to resent the underperformer(s), as well as the manager who allows them to stay.
  • When the underperformers know they are not meeting expectations, they have to deal with personal disappointment.
  • When the underperformers don’t know they aren’t meeting expectations, they are being set up for future failure.
  • The manager is likely so busy managing the underperformers that s/he neglects the development of Top Performers and other strategic initiatives.

I feel there is no greater disrespect you can do to a person than to let them hang out in a job where they are not respected by their peers, not viewed as successful, and probably losing their self-esteem. To do that under the guise of respect (or compassion) for people is, to me, ridiculous.” Debra Dunn, VP Strategy & Corporate Operations, Hewlett-Packard

The bottom-line of all these consequences is that team and business results suffer. And yet, ironically, suffering is what you are trying to avoid by not addressing the situation.


As we mentioned at the outset, you must create a culture that both inspires and nurtures the development of Top Performers and yet makes it impossible for Low Performers to remain.

What kind of culture accomplishes both of these tasks?  A Culture of Accountability.

Only when people are not held accountable, can they exist for years in a position where they are not performing.  So how do you create this Culture of Accountability?

It takes three simple, but not easy disciplines:

  1. Performance Management
  2. Ongoing Coaching
  3. Redeploying or Firing Low Performers

Let’s look at each of these options.

info(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)discwizardonline.com or call the DISC Wizard today (1.888.347.2949) to discuss the different options for your specific retention needs.