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Making the Tough Call with Poor-Fit Talent – Winning Actions, Not Costly Traps
Susan Battley, PsyD, PhD.  Leadership Psychologist and Author Susan Battley, PsyD, PhD. Leadership Psychologist and Author
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Stony Brook, NY
Thursday, June 26, 2014

?When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.?
- Maya Angelou

The realization may come over time, or it can occur as the result of a single critical incident. You have a poor-fit player in a key management or project position.
Consider the many ways poor-fit talent can make their presence known. For example:
? Under-performance due to technical skill deficits
? Inability or unwillingness to act on performance feedback
? Counterproductive – or toxic – personality traits
? Lack of alignment with the organization’s values and culture
? Increased interpersonal or departmental conflict
Three Costly Management Traps
Over the years I’ve noted the most common – and costly – traps that executives and board directors make in dealing with a poor-fit professional. Are any of the following familiar to you?
1. Avoidance. Denial is an all-too-human reaction to having to face the fact your wonderful hire has become a major disappointment. However, if after one specific and supportive corrective action discussion, you do not see substantial improvement in the person, ACT! Just as a toothache progresses from intermittent to constant pain, so too does avoidance result in a far more painful and costly ?extraction? the longer you wait.
2. Appeasement. Rather than confront the poor-fit person and move to transitioning said person out of the organization, you give the person even more resources and time. You do this despite the fact you know the person’s promises to improve are empty or the situation is no longer salvageable. Is this approach irrational? Yes. Is appeasement common? Yes.
3. Fudging the Facts. You inflate the poor-fit person?s performance review in the hope that your glowing appraisal motivates better performance in the future. This is pure wishful thinking. It is also misleading and creates an inaccurate personnel record. Your fudging of the facts is more likely to solidify the problematic status quo. Plus your lack of candor early on can make it harder to be frank with the person later on. You are on a slippery slope, and one that can make eventual separation of the person more complicated.
If you’re honest with yourself, you’ve probably been on both sides of the poor-fit scenario at some point in your career.
Trade Excuses for Actions
Excuse: ?He just needs more time.?
? Action Point: Face the facts once you have the facts. Recognize when you have a poor-fit professional and initiate a conversation with the person about these facts.
Excuse: ?I don?t know how to tackle this problem and am afraid of making matters worse.?
? Action Point: Consult with your Human Resources professional and/or legal counsel sooner rather than later.
Excuse: ?We don?t have anyone to replace her.?
? Action Point: Start looking for a replacement as soon as you have enough data to confirm a poor-fit situation.
Excuse: “I’ll look like an idiot since I recommended the person in the first place.”
? Action Point: Have a strong talk with your ego. Recognize that all external hires – and some internal promotions – involve an element of risk. Your leadership effectiveness increases significantly when you are able to make the tough call when circumstances so require.
Excuse: ?It will cost us too much money to buy him out.?
? Action Point: Calculate the Costs of Inaction. These include non-renewable executive time spent on firefighting and conflict resolution, reputation risk, sub-par project execution, possible stakeholder litigation and missed business opportunities.
In closing, I urge you to take Maya Angelou?s observation to heart: When you see what a person is really made of, believe them the first time. Respond promptly and progressively to poor-fit talent situations. Make the tough call. You will be more effective and have less stress at the office. And overall team and organization productivity will increase.
Now that’s brilliant execution!
The post Making the Tough Call with Poor-Fit Talent – Winning Actions, Not Costly Traps appeared first on Battley Performance Inc. - Leadership Consulting Services.
News Media Interview Contact
Name: Susan Battley, PsyD, PhD
Group: Battley Performance Consulting, Inc.
Dateline: Stony Brook, NY United States
Direct Phone: 631-751-6282
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