I just heard a sports commentator say “If he didn’t draft him, he’s not married to him” when referring to how NFL coaches often respond to underperforming rookie players they inherited from previous coaches who originally selected them in the first round of the draft. This made me think about how often senior executives have exposed themselves and their organizations to needless risks after they recruit a highly touted key player who fails to live up to expectations.
A frequent contributing factor to this trap is that several human factors (including our egos and optimistic natures) often cloud our abilities to see things as they really are. For example, if we personally made the decision to select them, we often give them more chances than others would because that would require us to “publicly acknowledge” that we made a mistake.
To validate this, when was the last time you heard a senior executive say “I should have held onto that poor performer longer than I did?” That rarely happens. Instead, we’ve found that many leaders often engage in wishful thinking, delay the inevitable, and allow such low contributors to “linger longer” (at least 12-18 months) than is warranted.
This doesn’t mean that implementing corrective action plans and coaching our poor performers should be abandoned. It’s just that hoping and praying for these employee issues to spontaneously correct themselves isn’t consistent with the best practices of Baldrige leaders. Rather, they expect good performance, address problems as they arise, are disciplined, and refuse to allow the poor performers to drag down the productivity and profitability of the team. The following are 6 of their most common practices:
- They establish accurate selection criteria for what will make someone a great performer for each specific position on their team,
- They establish objective and measurable expectations for what constitutes good performance,
- They hold all others accountable for their performance,
- They give them the knowledge, training and resources they need to do great work,
- They recognize and reward good performers, and
- They do not hold onto poor performers longer than they should.
Over the last 27 years, The Synergy Organization has helped progressive healthcare leaders and organizations across the country, including national Baldrige Award recipients, to hire the right leaders the first time. Blending unique expertise, psychological testing, the findings from national Baldrige leadership and HR Best Practices research studies, along with the Baldrige Criteria, enables us to provide our clients with the precise data and confidence they need to increase quality, mitigate their workforce risks and consistently hire extraordinary leaders most cost-effectively. Also, in close collaboration with the Baldrige Foundation, The Synergy Organization proudly serves as the Founding Sponsor of the Harry S. Hertz Leadership Award (HSHLA).