5. Build your farm team
Often, executives don't deal with poor performers because they don't have anyone else to do the job. One of the best things that you can do to deal with poor performers is to build a "farm team" of potential employees who work for other people right now but are interested in coming to work for you. In my upcoming book How to Hire A-Players: Finding the Top People for your Team-Even if You Don't Have a Recruiting Department (coming in April 2010) I discuss strategies for building relationships with new A-player emloyees. One strategy is to interview people all the time. For example, if you have built a relationship with a great project manager from a competitor, and know that he or she wants to work for you, you will be a lot more effective in confronting a poor project manager about his performance and firing him or her if you have to.
6. Make the hard decision
Rarely does an executive say "I fired that guy too quickly." Every day, thousands of executives say, "I should have fired that guy a long time ago." When the President of my client company followed the steps above, he was actually able to salvage the situation and get his current project manager to improve his results enough to stay in the job.
In your situation, follow the steps above and hope for the same result. If you don't see the improvements you want, make the hard decision to let that person go. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but hoping for a different result. If your employee can't or won't respond to structured coaching and accountability, you have to find someone else with the skills and drive to do the job right.
Eric Herrenkohl is Founder and President of Herrenkohl Consulting (www.herrenkohlconsulting.com), a management consulting firm focused on creating organizations that drive growth and profits. His work has been published or cited in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Inc.com, Monster.com, Careerbuilder.com, and MSNBC.com. Eric is also the author of Performance Principles, a monthly e-letter that reaches thousands of subscribers across North America and is re-printed in a number of industry and company newsletters.
Additional resources that build on topics from this article
Direction and training for employees
Conflict Resolution for Construction Crews
Building a construction "farm team"