The #1 Cause of Business Failure

We’ve all worked with people who do the bare minimum. Yet, somehow, they fly under the radar and keep their gig…until it becomes a problem.

So, you make your case to HR, “Bill’s got to go. He’s missing work, blowing deadlines and his bad attitude is affecting the team.”

Then HR reminds you, “There’s nothing in Bill’s personnel file. No warnings, no poor performance reviews, and he wasn’t caught surfing porn sites. So, you can’t fire him.”

Meanwhile, morale tanks, bitch sessions flare up and problems fester. It’s no surprise that the most common reason for business failure is:

Management’s inability to deal with poor performance

Still, dead wood employees are tolerated or shifted to another department.  Sorry, you can’t fire the under-achievers without a drawer full of documentation. Somehow, condoning poor performance isn’t worth risking lawsuits.

But at what cost?

Here’s My Take: The most damaging people at a company aren’t the ones who quit, and leave. It’s the ones who quit, and stay.

They’re easy to spot, but hard to remove. So, it’s time for managers to pull up their big boy pants and openly discuss their good, bad and ugly performance concerns. Re-focus attention on responsibilities and expectations. Then, document every step in the turnaround plan, including a firm timetable.

Basic stuff, right?  So, why isn’t this being done?

To paraphrase Jack Nicholson, not many can handle the truth. Dealing with poor performance requires courage and diplomacy. With the potential for conflict, there’s anxiety on both sides of the desk. Most people dread confrontation and the aftermath, if things go badly.

So, the Bills of the world live another day – and the can gets kicked down the road.

Beau Phillips is President of Rainmaker Media. 
He’s a creative marketing consultant, strategist and speaker.
Reach him at 203-256-9347 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *