I remember a vivid scene from the movie “Master and Commander” when the captain (Russell Crowe) decided to leave a sailor overboard, instead of saving the crew member but endangering the whole ship. <PS A great movie about leadership, and reminded me of the Hornblower series I read as a nerdy kid.>

Luckily our business is not life or death, and this is a tough decision that you will not have to make.

However, when you choose to keep onboard the crew members who are “dragging down” the team, you are essentially slowing or sinking your ship.

So consider—if everyone fell overboard, who would you “save” and why? (This is sometimes call the lifeboat drill.)

Now you have two lists—one to save (your best performers and solid citizens) and your list of the ones you would leave behind.

Before I get irate comments—let me be clear I am not advocating “throwing someone overboard” as a solution.

What I am suggesting is that you take each person that was on the “leave behind” list and do four important things:

  1. Systematically and objectively identify this person’s strengths and improvement areas
  2. Consider how the strengths can be re-deployed into another set of tasks or role
  3. Create a list of crucial and immediate changes required
  4. Meet with this employee to discuss 1-3 and create a plan to bring this person back on the crew list

Almost all of your low performance employees can be improved with a combination of change in role and expectations.

You can learn more about how to identify the three main reasons someone isn’t keeping up (gap in ability, motivation or values) in our webinar “Evaluating Your Current Team for Job Fit.”

See our current webinar schedule here: People Plan Webinars

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