Discover a simple exercise to quickly identify significant gaps in employees and either coach them on desired behaviors for improvement or part ways if a fit cannot be realized.
Numerous studies from past economic crises show organizations aligned in leadership core competencies, strategy, communication, and accountability outperform their competitors by large margins as economic conditions change.
The biggest step in alignment is to make sure you have the right people in the right seats. Each of your employees must believe in the organization’s vision and purpose. They should have the ability to lead themselves and the ability to have crucial conversations with their colleagues.
As a manager and leader, you need to share these traits. You must also be able to build trust and communication in your team so that you and they are able to pivot and move quickly to understand the new environment and take advantage of all opportunities.
It may seem obvious, yet most clients and colleagues continue to complain about their people issues. In fact, the first answer I get for the question, “What gaps exist on your team?”, is usually along the lines of, “They’re fine, I guess.”
The reality is most leaders hire and then keep far too long subpar employees who don’t fully believe in the vision, are not performing, and are often actively engaged in diminishing culture and trust.
Let’s take a look at some things we can do to understand, identify, and begin to solve the issue of having the right people in the right seats on our teams.
Understand Why Leaders Allow Gaps to Exist.
When well coached with powerful analytical tools, the following rationalizations are often revealed:
- It takes so much effort and time to hire employees. I just want them to work out.
- They perform, but they are jerks to everyone. They are not team players.
- They don’t perform, but they are well liked.
- They have been with me a long time.
- My own fear of confrontation keeps me from addressing gaps I know exist with my employees.
- It might be my own and/or our team’s lack of communication skills. Trust may be lacking.
Identify the Gaps.
On a spreadsheet:
- Write the names of all team members in a column on the left.
- Write the letters G, W, C in three column headers.
Now think about the answers to the following questions, keeping in mind each person’s position requirements and performance, as well as each person’s cultural fit within your organization.
Give each person a check mark under each letter if they fulfill the requirement, or a zero if they do not.
- G = Does this person Get It? This is non-negotiable. If he or she doesn’t get it, find a person who does.
Do they understand the vision and purpose of the team? Do they understand how the performance of this team and their own performances support the organization? Do they routinely produce predictable results? Do they hold themselves and others accountable?
- W = Does this person Want It? Again, if the individual does not want It, he or she is ultimately not the right person. Find a person who does want it.
Is this industry, company, and position for them? Are they passionate about the work they are required to do? Do they lift customers and other members of the team up or bring people down?
- C = Does this person have the Capacity to Do It? Different from G and W, a problem of capacity can be solved if the person both gets it and wants it. If you believe the right person can gain the capacity quickly, and you’re willing to invest the time, resources, and energy for him or her to do so, go for it.
Do they have the desire, talent, skills, time, and knowledge to be successful in this position?
After rating each person on G, W, C, take a hard look at the results and decide if this team is the one to fulfill your organization’s ultimate vision and goals?
Be honest with yourself. What gaps exist? One of my favorite sayings in this situation is, “The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.” Many leaders continue to allow these gaps to affect their teams for years.
What Do You Do Next? Lead.
Leaders are sometimes resistant to change, but with proper coaching, can understand why it is necessary. I recently went through the G, W, C exercise with a client who quickly identified she had three people on her team with significant gaps, and she was ready to move on from these three.
But first, we coached her on how to get the team aligned on vision, purpose, strategy, accountability, and desired behaviors. They discussed and discovered how each of their actions and results powerfully affected their teams’ personal and professional goals, as well as the organization’s vision.
The team then agreed on powerful goals to improve the group’s performance, and each individual set a performance improvement plan. Lastly, we coached the leader on how to spend time with each of her team members as an empathetic leader, coach, and mentor.
And what were the results? Two of the team members who were initially identified as “wrong people” began and continue to succeed. The other was quickly terminated and realized it was not the career for him.
Be the manager and leader you were called to be. Make tough decisions and get specific about what the right person for each position ultimately looks and acts like. Then lead each person up or out and your team to success.
Greg Karl is an Ontological Executive Coach, Leadership Development Expert, Professional Traction, and OKR Coach. Greg consults, writes, and speaks for hospitality companies in Live Events, Catering, Restaurants, Destination Management, and Professional Sports.
If you are interested in exploring how you and your organization can take the next step in your leadership and get better results, Greg is offering free one-hour coaching sessions to help you explore next steps. Contact him at: