Holding On To Things That Aren’t Working? 5 KEY STRATEGIES to drop the dead weight and create superstar tradies!
Have you ever held onto something for way too long? Maybe because you’d invested so much time into it. Maybe because you’d invested a shitload of money into it.
Sometimes we feel “pot committed” to a relationship, lifestyle, or way of doing things, and we don’t confront the big fat elephant in the room…the fact it’s no longer relevant or useful.
In business, this can apply to “dead weight” staff, or a process that is genuinely broken. Maybe a system, or software application, worked great before you hired a few staff members – but now that you’re bigger, the process has lost its scalability.
System and process adaptations are fairly easy to make once you realise there’s a better way of doing things – so in this article, we’re going to focus on getting the most out of dead-weight staff.
Have you ever invested significant time and money into a staff member who isn’t performing – both on-site, and off-site? This is a really common complaint we hear from tradies in the Academy – dealing with an absolute train-wreck can put a massive load of pressure on your shoulders.
We like to say in the Academy – what’s worse than having no staff? Having the wrong staff. Obviously, going on a gung-ho firing frenzy isn’t the answer – you need to start rethinking and reassessing the way you do things. You might need to start by putting systems in place to encourage high-performance. Prevention is always better than cure.
So with that in mind, here are FIVE EPIC STRATEGIES to help you drop the dead weight and create superstar tradies.
It’s always important to self-reflect in these situations and understand what you might’ve been able to do better as a leader, and what needs to be done today. It’s important to be self-critical and disconnect from what you feel, or how your underperforming staff member has made you feel.
Because otherwise they’re already damned in your eyes. That’s unproductive for both of you – everything they do will simply be confirming the biases in your own mindset. The “Jimmy is useless” internal chatter starts feeding itself. If you’ve cast a certain lens upon poor Jimmy, you will be harshly critical of him even when it’s undeserving. Disconnecting from what you feel and reflecting on the situation is always your starting point.
2/ One on one meetings
This is precisely where most tradies go wrong. You’ve got to catch up with your staff every 8-12 weeks for a coffee, or over zoom. Have a discussion over their KPIs, and what you expect from them. Address what’s going wrong, and what could be going better. Listen to what they have to say.
Don’t just tell Jimmy he’s an idiot.
Imagine being able to open up a document with their KPI’s and ask them – “how do you think you’re doing here?”. Which brings us to the next point…
3/ Make achieving success clear to your staff
Your staff should know at all times if they’re doing a bad job or a good job, and how they can get better. Magic happens when you get this right.
Underperforming staff will clearly understand that they’re underperforming, and noone wants to be “that guy”. This should’ve been done on day dot – But later is better than never. It’s as simple as outlining “THIS is how you succeed here” in a document. It should be something they can refer to, and something you can measure them by, like a set of KPIs.
It might just be twenty performance metrics; being on time, pitching upgrades, keeping the van organised, whatever it is you expect from your staff – just make sure it’s clear.
4/ Confront problems head on
If you’re the top dog in the business, it’s your job to have these conversations. Most trade business owners don’t like the idea of taking a step back, even if it sets them up to take two steps forward, because things can get much harder before they get easier.
The reality is that at some point someone might need a stern word. At some point, you might need to let someone go. They’re tough conversations, and they might cause you pain in the short-term, but your situation will only get worse if you ignore or delay them. If you don’t create the space and place you’ll explode from bottling things up.
It is absolutely case by case, so you need to evaluate your choices and the impact of them carefully. It comes back to your appetite as a business owner – because make no bones about it, if you’re hiring and firing, things will get harder before they get easier.
5/ Be an awesome leader
People would rather follow someone who’s real instead of someone who’s always right.
Jocko Willink says; “Leading people is the most challenging and, therefore, the most gratifying undertaking of all human endeavours. There are no bad teams, only bad leaders. The leader’s attitude sets the tone for the entire team. The leader drives performance—or doesn’t.”
We’re always banging on about the importance of creating an awesome team culture where your staff are respected, valued, and rewarded for their contributions. If your staff really want to work for you and succeed in their roles, it will pay dividends in the long-term.
Apply these five strategies and you’ll never have dead weight in your team again.