Scaling Up: The People In Your Organisation

Aug 18, 2022
A team is having a discussion in the office meeting room.


If you're somebody who is the leader in an organisation, ask yourself this challenging question:

Are all the stakeholders in your organisation, your staff, your customers, your suppliers all happy? And, if you had the chance, would you rehire them?

In a high-performance sporting team, the team is constantly being adjusted and coached, and performance is managed to get a high-performance result. If a player is underperforming, they're let go from the team. Now, that's a little bit more difficult to do in the corporate environment, and some might say, "well, that's because that's someone's job". It's no different to a high-performance sports team, and for professional sports teams, that's their job. These players accept that if they don't perform, they're going to get let go. So, these team players constantly want to be on their A-game and achieve results. However, it's not as crystal clear in terms of tracking performance and defining success in organisations. So sometimes we can let players or people stay on the team a little bit longer.

How Can You Bring Up An Underperforming Employee?

I use this quick little acronym I picked up from a book called "Traction" by Gino Wickman. "Get it, Want it, Capacity." If you're looking at an underperforming person, do they get it? Do they want it? And, do they have capacity? Capacity can be broken down into emotional resilience to do the work, skills and competency. So, does the employee have the physical capacity to do the work? For example, are they available during the hours that the work is required to be done?

A great way to measure an employee's capacity is to write the person's name down and, next to it, write down their grade (circle, tick, plus, minus). If somebody has crosses against their name, you'll need to assess if it's time to let them go because they may bring down your team's ability to perform. The A players will have to make compromises and sacrifices to carry the weight of those who underperform, which is not what you want. Moreover, your organisation is not getting a fair exchange of productivity and results for the money invested in their wages. I understand that it's a hard thing to let go of somebody as it can affect their livelihood, and that's why it's important to use the resources you have to help find that person's next step on their career journey. 

Now, there is a crucial question. Are they coachable? Can you see improvement happening fast enough so that they may become a B player? A B player will show signs that they are coachable and that they can become an A player with some more effective investment and learning development. If you think this is possible, think about how much effort, energy, and money it will take to transform them into an A player.

I live by this philosophy that hiring is guessing and firing is knowing.

How Can You Identify A Players and Show Your Gratitude To Them?

Celebrate your A players because they're genuinely working really hard. A players are invested in what they're doing and their professional development. One of the things we see here at Best Practice is people complaining that their boss won't pay for the course they want to do. Now, our courses are not that expensive, and employees can invest their own money into them. In contrast, I have people who work for me who buy courses, buy books, and do all their professional development. They don't sit back and wait for their employer to pay for stuff. That's a sign of an A player because they want to move forward in their career, and they're not going to wait for the organisation to support them. Nevertheless, If my employees can pitch me the return on investment of a course or a book, they're more likely to have the education they want to be funded by our organisation.

As the leader, it's your job to reward positive behaviours and acknowledge the hard work and results you're seeing. Why? Not only will it make your A players feel appreciated, but your B players will see what gets rewarded. And, what gets rewarded is results, performance, delivery and the fair exchange of productivity and value. If an employee is not offering a fair exchange, that's stealing. If they have other impacts on their day, which is not intentional, then it's partial exchange. Equal exchange of results for wages and salary is a fair exchange, and going beyond is called exchange in abundance.

In Football teams, when someone scores a goal, the whole team rallies together and celebrates that success, the team's success. So, when you're thinking about high performance, think about what high-performance teams do to build rapport, to get good communication channels, to hold each other accountable, to have the safe space to be saying this is our objective as a team versus a toxic culture of cutting down tall poppies.


Employee Alignment With An Organisation's Goals

Start with "WHY?", acknowledge and identify your worthy cause. So, when new people start, you can say, "our vision and our mission is to..." and ask people to come on that journey with you. The team will then rally around that cause or find another that they believe in. Simon Sinek expresses that "people don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it." It's really important to start with "WHY?" because you can ensure that your people's values are aligned with the organisation's.


I highly recommend you all to invest in Scaling Up by Verne Harnish and his team. There's a section on people and some great templates that you can use for your organisation, which can help you map out people's roles and responsibilities, among other valuable topics that can contribute to your organisation's success.


Keep learning, 

Kobi Simmat 


Prefer to watch content? Check out my YouTube Channel here.

Prefer to listen to content? Check out my Podcast, Talking Business, on Spotify, iHeart Radio and Apple Podcasts

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