The Story of Stanley-

So there he was sitting in the small conference room… We have all been there as managers or employees.   There are many reasons to be there:

  • Our boss wants to meet with us
  • We need to meet with a team member
  • Performance is a problem
  • There is an issue…

He closed his eyes and waited for his team member.  Stanley had been to see the accounts of his problem person at the request of the clients.  Stanley had pulled his team member into meetings to help him get organized repeatedly.  Stanley has had complaints from other team members about  performance.  There were official write ups and hour long phone call that were not on the record.

Sound familiar?   Are you Stanley? The 80/20 rule is in full force with this employee.  There are many interpretations of this rule.  F. John Reh discusses the 80/20 rule on About.   “Pareto’s Principle, the 80/20 Rule, should serve as a daily reminder to focus 80 percent of your time and energy on the 20 percent of you work that is really important. Don’t just “work smart”, work smart on the right things.”

Work on Smart things!  Smart Things! Like the 10 other team members Stanley did not have time to talk with for two weeks as he was on-site trying to save the problem employee’s clients.  He thought back to the first time he realized his team member was going to be difficult.  There were so many things Stanley wanted to say….

Missing the Obvious

Could we focus our attention in a better place?

Here is the meeting Stanley wished he could have had:

“We have a problem and the problem is you.  You are not getting the job done and if you do not step up, we will fire you.  Your lack of attention to detail and continued denial that you are the problem is dragging down the entire team.  I have spent most of my employee management energy on you and your problems while neglecting the people on this team who are doing a great job and deserve my attention.  If we have any further issues, you are gone. ”

Leaders cannot do that-  some do-  but more often than not that type of leadership is not effective.  What we as managers need to realize is that when we decide it is time to make a change with a problem team member;  the ripples of positive change are going to be huge.

You could hire another employee with a better attitude for less than your problem person was making- You could use the difference in salary to reward the members of the team that were working hard.  By eliminating a poor performer you show the team that mediocrity is not tolerable.  Remember that when you make a change like this you save the company’s relationship with your clients, allowing you to keep the best team members on staff because you maintain your revenue.  You are now  free to meet with your best employees to work on making them better and not trying so hard to fit a square peg in a round hole.

Managers need to focus on those that can be saved.  This type of management will make the difference in how you help your team, reward your best employees and grow a world class organization.

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