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Leadership…Of 9's and 10's and 3's and 4's

As leaders, do we realize the long-term consequences of failing to deal with poor performance on our teams?

Recently I was visiting with an owner of a franchise company about the training they offer franchisees. In particular, how to properly evaluate staff members.

“We tell our franchisees the goal is to have a staff of 9’s and 10’s. These are the employees who work hard, care about excellence, and are motivated to grow. A staff of 9’s and 10’s leads to great customer experiences which leads to repeat business.

“We also tell our franchisees that if after sufficient time and training they discover there are some 3’s and 4’s on their staff, they are wise to remove them. Because if you don’t deal with the 3’s and 4’s, eventually you will lose the 9’s and 10’s. And when you lose the 9’s and 10’s, you’re left with a staff of 3’s and 4’s.”

Reality is you experience the loss more than once. First, in losing the 9’s and 10’s. Second, in losing the business you would have had if the 9’s and 10’s were still here. Third, it’s very difficult to recruit 9’s and 10’s to a team of 3’s and 4’s. If you think that’s not true, remember the current state of the NFL Cleveland Browns football team. No free agents are racing to Cleveland. Free agents want to play for a team of 9’s and 10’s. Because that’s where they have the best chance of winning.

But what of the 3’s and 4’s? If after sufficient time and training they aren’t becoming 9’s and 10’s, we aren’t doing them any favors by keeping them around. Maybe our “round hole” isn’t a fit for their “square peg”. By moving them on, we might be moving them into a new environment where they will thrive.

Regardless, the goal is growth. When we replace our 3’s and 4’s with 9’s and 10’s, we’re aspiring to continued excellence.

Dr. Andy Neillie –