Leaders Do Everything They Can Do…

When someone dies in an emergency operating room, it is the moral obligation of the doctor to report this to the family: “We did everything we could possibly do.”

Before leaders remove team members for non-performance, they have the same obligation. Ask yourself: “Did I do everything I could possibly do?”

It’s easy, especially when we’re experienced, to see some behaviors (lateness, missing deadlines, inattention at meetings) and jump to conclusions like “she doesn’t care,” “he doesn’t want to be here,” “she is in the ‘wrong seat’.”

We might even be correct about those characterizations. But before acting on them, start rehabilitation and frequent feedback right away. Assume that they want to change (that’s the “level 3” approach) and treat them accordingly.

Once all options are exhausted, we move to HR. Then we start to move them out. But not until we’ve tried to save them. Bad fits happen. It’s why the hiring and on-boarding process may be the most important part of a leader’s job. But when we’ve got someone we suspect is in the “bottom 10%,” move fast and hard to confirm it, and move on.

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