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“Your biggest procrastinations are telling you what to work on next.”

– Dan Sullivan 

The following is a book report on an outstanding business book, my favorite of the year, Multiplication by Subtraction by Shannon Waller.

From my own personal experience, and listening and working with hundreds of business owners over the last 10 years, “recruiting” and “letting people go” are right up there in the top 3 or 4 of things we hate to do. (Doing reviews with your employees, I bet, is another one)

You listen to owners talk about people and you hear many of the following statements:

  • I can’t find any good ones
  • I can’t afford good ones
  • Most of my people feel accountable for being busy (not results)
  • They don’t seem to care – they just want a paycheck
  • Some of my team just don’t fit in
  • I have a few that are not on board with anything, in fact they are outwardly against any new initiatives
  • I have a few who I cannot afford to have leave – they are so skilled – but they don’t want to learn anything new and just want to get their check and go home
  • I have a family member in the business just not pulling their weight
  • I could never fire her – she knows all the customers and they like her
  • I could never let him go. What would it do to the morale of my other employees?
  • She has been with us for 15 years but she is not keeping up with the business

Sound familiar? I bet you can think a few others too.

Well (shocker coming)…this is all your fault. You hired them and you keep them around, you walk by these issues, you think about recruiting and letting people go and you settle. The excuses “I’m busy, busy, busy – I’ll get to it later” or “I’ll address it in our annual reviews” (Oh yeah?) don’t work – when in your mind you know it is because you hate recruiting and letting people go.

But it doesn’t end there. Here are many reasons we delay ending a relationship with any employee that does not FIT in or is not an A Player.

  • Dread confrontation
  • Tears
  • We think it is our fault
  • We don’t recognize the issue – we don’t see it, other employees do
  • Loyalty – we feel responsible for them
  • We think we need the warm body
  • We fear the work will be put on our shoulders
  • We think morale will take a hit
  • Recruiting and hiring – we hate it and we think it is hard to find anyone better
  • They still get great results so leave it alone

Fear – it is all in the future and the more we think about it the bigger and more intense it gets.

Before we go any further let me define what A, B and C Players are:

A Players /Right fit – they have some basic skills, but they are eager to learn and get better. They are engaged with the job, you, your values, purpose, goals and vision and the team they work with.

B Players – may lack the skill but have the other 2 characterisitics. They are coachable and can become A Players.

C Players – may be highly skilled, but they don’t want to learn anything new, and they want to get their check and go home. Not engaged with anyone or anything – in fact sometimes are vocally against it all behind your back or they have been around for a long time and lost the passion, drive and the interest in what they do and who they do it with.

We will address the above as we go along but first why should we set C Players/wrong fit employees free?

  1. They negatively impact your credibility (other employees wonder why the expectations are not the same for everyone)
  2. Eats up your time and energy dealing with them
  3. Resist change and improvements – sometimes vocally behind your back
  4. Can leave bad impressions on your customers
  5. Consistently bring down employee morale and interfere with culture
  6. Leave messes for others to clean up
  7. Small issues become a crisis because they hide things
  8. Create drag, friction, slowing down projects, teamwork results
  9. Bring down productivity and/or are not keeping up with the pace themselves
  10. Other employees have to pick up their slack and resent it
  11. Cause you to lose your best people – they get tired of your procrastination

Why an all A Players/Right fit team?

  1. Positive environment where everyone wants to learn and get better
  2. Maximizes productivity and profits
  3. Everyone is engaged and believes what you believe
  4. Aligns with your values and culture and purpose
  5. Maximizes momentum
  6. Keeps and attracts the best talent
  7. Provides a superior customer experience
  8. Decrease frustration and increases fun
  9. Constantly improves processes and systems
  10. Feels optimistic about the future
  11. Makes for a place where everyone enjoys coming to work

The costs of settling with what you have:

Dollar cost

You have to look at labor as an investment, not an expense. Productivity is a huge lever in profitability. For every dollar you spend on labor you need to see how many dollars of Gross Profit are we returning.

An A Player might cost you 20-30% more but they will provide 2, sometimes 3 times, the return in productivity as a C Player. You do the math. Plus the C Player is dragging down company overall productivity in many ways – as we discussed above and below.

Toxic to the team, culture and company

Creates Friction and Drag

Causes you to lose A Players – you neglect taking action and your good people resent it and question why they are held to a better standard.

Occupies your time and energy – keeping you from doing more valuable things like recruiting and letting people go.

Creates friction and drag on everyone and everything

Negatively impacts the wrong fit person – face it – they know and can’t be happy – they just hang on (believe me, 99% of people who are let go are happier 6 months later in a new company)

Demoralizes the team 

Are you convinced yet that you are not alone? That 95% of business owners share your dislike of letting people go? They use the same excuses and have the same fears for not pulling the trigger. There is a huge cost to you and your business when you continue to walk by and settle with what you have. It is in everyone’s best interest as well as your own to take action, make this your #1 priority in 2018.

If you simply took 2 hours a week and blocked the time and focused on Coaching, Recruiting and building a Virtual Bench you will get it done. Your profitability will soar, the companies dependency on you will decrease and you will have a place where everyone is engaged and enjoy coming to everyday.

Start this week and begin Topgrading your team like Jack Welch did. Replace your C Players with A Players and watch your productivity, engagement, revenues and profits grow.

Next time — how to let people go with dignity and without guilt.