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Get the Wrong People off the Team

Who are the wrong people that need to be removed from the team?   They are a combination of one or more of the following three common dysfunctions:

  1. Very smart and/or productive people who are disruptive to team cohesiveness, collaboration and trust. There is no room for individuals who repeatedly demonstrate a pattern of disrespectful and abusive behavior.  If you don’t remove this type of person you demonstrate that the core values are a charade.
  2. People who repeatedly do not perform because of a poor work ethic, competency deficiency or because they don’t buy into the business model or culture.  It doesn’t matter why, it only matters that they don’t.
  3. People who repeatedly demonstrate that they are not committed to the team, core values (especially integrity) or organizational direction.  It is a big world out there and if an individual can’t be productive and or happy within your organization, it is not your job to try to convince them to be happy or productive.

The majority of leaders do well identifying and developing the high potential professionals.  It is also true that most leaders are slow to remove poor performers and even slower to remove behavior problems that hurt team cohesion, trust and overall performance.

The leadership team has to be completely committed to team success, core operating values and client-inspired objectives. The key to getting the leadership team on board is through significant dialogue to identify the cultural aspirations and core values.  Once the leaders have identified the business model they want to build, the core operating values they want to live by and the client inspired objectives they want to drive them, then it has to be determined if all the current key players are committed to the whole package.  The CEO can’t force commitment, and can’t be successful with leaders who are not completely committed.  Some on the team may say they are not committed to the organizations intentions. Others will say they are committed but nothing about their attitudes and actions demonstrates commitment.  In both cases these people need to find new professional opportunities outside of the organization.

The most extensive research on this topic comes from Jim Collins in Good To Great. Collins found that: “First get the right people on the bus and the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.”  As Collins puts it, “People are not your most important asset.  The right people are.” Our experience confirms these findings and unless you get the right leaders in key positions, this misalignment of commitment and objectives will create significant drag on the progress of the organization.

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