It’s time to cut out the dead wood

Adam Morgan explains how important it is to make sure your staff are pulling in the same direction

23 March, 2016 / management
 Adam Morgan  

Do you have a person in your team right now that you really wish was not?! You can often spot these people from a mile away! There are very few businesses where everyone gets along with one another, peace and tranquillity reign and extremely high productivity just happens. Let’s face it – people are people and because of that, they bring problems to any workplace; whether it’s poor attendance, passionless attitude, little desire to get things done efficiently – the list could go on… but if you do have someone like this in your team, I strongly encourage you to do something about it now.

Today, the businesses that are thriving have all cut out the “dead wood.” They understand the importance of not carrying people who are happy to be carried. Think about it, the most productive team members are all typically self-sufficient, reliable, operate to a high standard and can be trusted to get things done. This is a stark contrast to those who take most of our time, quite often demand the special treatment and quite honestly are destroying the momentum needed to reach your goals and overall vision – regardless of whether you own the businesses or are part of the team.

Now comes the hard part. In order to do something about a poor performer’s behaviour, you must get to the point where you no longer accept their level of output. I am tired of hearing the phrase “Well that’s just the way he/she is…” – let me tell you, he or she is that way because you have allowed them to be.

when people do not fully know or understand what is expected of them, they most commonly underperform

Adam Morgan

When building a solid business that has longevity, it is vital that each team member contributes toward the overall goal for the future. For this to happen there must be:

1. Clearly set goals

Everyone needs a goal or goals to be successful. Goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed – think SMART!

Ask yourself: Do I know what my goals are for 2016? How will I measure my success or progress? How will the rest of the team know about their progress and success? How will I be rewarded when I reach that goal?

When people do not fully know or understand what is expected of them, they most commonly underperform and bad habits and detrimental behavioural patterns become visible.

2. A Clear Measurement of Success

Everyone must be rewarded for the right behaviours and for being a “producer.” A producer is someone who adds value. They might add value in many ways – for example: they add energy to the team, they are highly relational with patients/customers/suppliers, they spot cost savings, they use time incredibly efficiently, they are great with finances etc.

If you are a business owner, it is ultimately your responsibility to create these measurements of success. They are the benchmarks you set for everyone else to exceed beyond. A simple example would be that as a receptionist, the phone must be answered every time with a “whatever it takes attitude” and a tone of confidence, happiness and friendliness. This must be done every time, without fail – no excuses.

3. Training to Achieve Success – not a Result

Once you have set your benchmark, it is time to train people to deliver results. I find that most businesses do not do a good job of training their people – they expect people to have the skills or know what the right thing to do is.

While this might seem logical, why would you want to leave it to chance? Everyone should be taught how to succeed and how their part contributes to the wider vision and goals of the team/business. If you do not teach it, you can’t then get annoyed at poor performance – after all, you didn’t set the benchmark in the first place… they did.

When you teach or train your team, look at equipping them to succeed as opposed to teaching them what to do. The main difference here is in the “How to do it” and the “Why we do it”. The “How to do it” teaches what is expected – how to answer the phone, how to welcome a customer etc. But the “Why we do it” is the most important part. When people understand why something is done (the reason behind what we do and how it relates back to our overall vision or goal), they are then able to contribute even more to the overall team and are “culture carriers.” They carry your same passion for excellence because they see the bigger picture – not just the task at that moment in time. This takes a great deal of time but is invaluable once you have people like this.

4. 360 Degree Accountability

Once everyone has been taught how to succeed in their role – each person must be accountable to the rest for providing excellence. When people hold each other accountable, there is no room for under performance as each member of the team has the desire to succeed – the team is truly a team and not just a group of assembled individuals. Focus is always put on the little things that people did that enhanced the overall team or moved us closer to the goal. The whole team must talk about the vision repeatedly and how we are achieving it, with specific examples of what team members have done to push us closer towards success. Remember, what you focus on develops.

5. Appropriate Rewards

Once each person has been trained, the benchmark has been set, success is being measured and it is clear how each person’s performance contributes to the overall goal of the team, it is now time to reward individuals for their contribution. The reward must be appropriate to the contribution – and this is often where managers or leaders crash to the ground in the eyes of their followers. If someone has truly shown exemplary behaviour and contributed massively towards the team vision or goal, then they must be rewarded for that.

If the reward is not appropriate to the level of input or contribution, this can demotivate and kill the momentum that has been created. For the reward to be appropriate, find out what the individual most values and contribute towards it. For example, if someone lives for their time away on holiday; buy them something to use or do on holiday or if the contribution was great enough, buy them the actual holiday! If someone loves spending time with their family, give them something they can do with their family to create memories with. Use your imagination here – but the key is to reward people for their contribution towards the goal – it should never go unnoticed.

If after doing all of this, you have someone that still does not perform or is hindering the performance of others; you must eliminate this from your team. Today, it is more important than ever to have a cohesive team or contributors, where everyone not only plays their part, but succeeds in their role. Do not allow others to dictate your success – instead, be the creator of it. The reality is that it is hard to create a highly performing team… but it is even harder to create one with people that do not belong and contribute to the overall vision for the future.

As I said earlier, I am tired of hearing the phrase “Well that’s just the way he/she is…” – let me tell you, he or she is that way because you have allowed them to be. Choose not to allow other people’s performance to hinder your own from now on. Do something about it.

About the author

Adam Morgan is an award-winning training specialist who teaches businesses and individuals how to grow and create greatness in their marketplace. His fresh approach and dynamic style make him highly popular with companies around the world.

Adam works specifically with practices throughout the UK and helps dental teams to raise the bar, be more successful and achieve their goals and vision. With more than a decade of expertise working with leading hotels and resorts, retailers and financial institutions of the world, he is a talented consultant able to deliver results.

Twitter: @AdamMorganUK
Mobile: 07557 763 785
Find me on LinkedIn – Adam Morgan

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