Roberta Chinsky Matuson
Creating Exceptional Workplaces and Extraordinary Results
Roberta Matuson's Blog

Why Your Efforts To Move Forward May Be Holding You Back

Invasion of the Leaf Blowers

It’s Monday morning here, which means my street closely resembles the set of a Star Wars movie. Hosts of landscaping crews have invaded the neighborhood with leaf blowers on their backs. They’re on a mission to rid the sidewalks of grass cuttings and leaves.

I watch in amazement, as crew members blow the debris from one sidewalk to another. I’m left thinking, “Wouldn’t it make more sense to blow everything into one pile, pick it up, and dispose of it?“

This invasion takes place weekly, rain or shine. It’s my guess the same stuff is blown around week after week, as it’s spring here in New England, and there is little in the way of falling leaves.

I see something similar happening in businesses quite frequently. Leaders are moving poor performing employees from one part of the organization to another. They keep doing so, until someone has the sense to say, “It’s time to stop this madness and deal with the problem at hand.” Is your organization guilty of doing the same?

Here’s a recent example of how this plays out in companies. A client calls me and says, “Roberta, I need your help in letting an employee go.” We discuss the matter at hand and then I ask him, “When did you decide this person needed to go?” He tells me he knew twenty years ago!

Here’s some advice that will help to ensure that you won’t be reaching out to me, 20 years from today, with a similar plea for help.
  1. If you think someone is a problem, then they are a problem. Take immediate steps to help them improve their skills or move them out of the organization.
  2. If you make a hiring mistake, own it and move on. It happens to the best of us. We make a hiring mistake. No point in continuing to pour good money after bad. Say your good-byes early and learn from your mistakes, so you don’t hire a replica of the person you just released.
  3. You can’t want more for someone than they want for themselves. You may want a non-performing employee to succeed, but if they don’t want it as much as you do, your efforts will fail. Invest your time and energy in those who genuinely want to grow.
  4. Know what you’re looking for before you go out to hire. Lots of people start the hiring process without truly knowing what they are seeking. Don’t be one of those people. Get real clear on your ideal candidate before you go out to the market to fill any position.
  5. You have to manage people. I once had a manager say to me, “You’re not meeting my expectations, although I’m not sure I ever told you what they were.” Seriously. You cannot make stories like this up. No matter how skilled someone may be, they still need direction and feedback.

Next Steps: Think about your team and ask yourself the following question.

If I had to do it over again, would I hire this person?

If you even hesitate for a moment, then you’ve got your answer.

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