HomeContact Us

The #1 Mistake Companies Make

The #1 Mistake Companies Make

Since 2002, I’ve been working with businesses both big and small.  There is one thing that stands out to me that successful businesses do better than struggling businesses that ultimately fail.  It is so simple – but it’s not easy.  What is it?

Letting underperformers go.  That’s it.  Not letting low performers go is the biggest mistake I see companies make.

It’s also the second most common reason I get hired to consult with companies.  First and foremost, I get contracted to help them hire Top Performers.  Second, I get hired to coach, develop, and hopefully turn around underperformers.

Sometimes the underperformers I coach have been underperforming for YEARS.  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. The manager is overly empathetic to the person’s challenges.  “They are a nice person with a family and they try really hard.”

2. The manager 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. The manager hopes for the best.  “Maybe the person can turn it around.  Perhaps I as a manager have not given them the proper direction or support they need to succeed.”

In all of these scenarios, the managers are overly focused on the needs and challenges of one 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 letting them go.