When Your Business Outgrows Great People

When Your Business Outgrows Great People

This week what we’re talking about is what to do when you have a loyal, wonderful, long-term employee that’s holding your business back.

Have you ever heard the saying, “what got you here won’t get you there?”

Well it’s the same in business and specifically around your leadership team.

It’s a critical function that you have as the leader of a high growth company to make sure that you’ve got the best leadership team possible not only for today, but for tomorrow.

And if you’ve been in high-growth long enough, what you might find is that you’ve got a team member or two that just can’t keep up.

In other words, the demands of the business are outstripping their ability or their capacity to be successful in the role.

So what do we do about that?

Something has to change, but it’s tricky because this person may have been with the business from the beginning.  They’ve been there through the hard times.  They’ve supported you.  They’ve been a fantastic loyal employee, but they’re just not able to do their job effectively anymore.

They could be causing drama, chaos, and even inadvertently a toxic environment for the people around them that are having to prop them up.  So something’s got to change.

I wanted to share with you a few ideas of what to do, how to handle a situation like this should you encounter it.

The number one is let’s make sure we’re super clear on the objectives of this role.  What are the deliverables that this role must provide?

Sometimes roles grow and they get a little bit amorphous or vague, and we’re not really sure what we’re looking for out of the role.

Let’s get really specific on that, so we know if that person can deliver or not.

The next thing is let’s identify all the skills, abilities and attributes of someone who would be completely successful in that role.  What does this person look like?  This avatar of the perfect person for the role.

Next thing is we want to contrast.

Look at those attributes of the ideal person for the role.  And let’s look at the attributes of the person currently in the role.  What are the gaps?  And do you think the gaps can be bridged fast enough that the role is not going to continue to degrade?

If you think it can, the next step is put in place a performance improvement plan.

Get that person some coaching, some training, help them understand where the gaps are, what needs to happen by when in order for them to stay successful in the role.

Now, if the gaps are too wide, the next step I would encourage you to look at is, is there somewhere else in the business you can deploy them?

If this person has been around for a while, you like them, they’re well liked, they’re a good person, but they’re just not able to keep up with this role, can their skills and abilities and energy and enthusiasm be deployed elsewhere in the business?

I’ve seen this happen successfully several times where people make a lateral, even sometimes demotional type move, but removes a lot of stress off of them.  They’re a lot happier and they can feel successful again.

The next step is that, if that person does have to be moved off or possibly if there’s no other spot in the business for them, release to pursue success elsewhere.  Find another job with our support.

We need to then recruit for that rockstar that we identified earlier.

So this is a tough one, right?  Because we have to maybe let somebody go that we care about.  We care about their family.  We’ve known them for a long time, but it’s not just them that we have to be concerned with.  We have been concerned with everyone else in the business as well.  If the business is being held back, that could mean job insecurity for others in the business as well.

So this week, if you can identify someone in your business that’s just not able to keep up anymore, and you know something’s got to be done about it, you’ve probably been procrastinating about it, consider these steps as a way to gauge where that person can step up, how you can help them be successful either in the role, in another role or elsewhere so that you can remove that constraint from the business and you can continue to staff up most effective team to grow into tomorrow.

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