#118: Change the People Or Change the People
John (Intro): I have been on a quest to learn everything I can about leadership obsessed with what makes the best leaders so good. After running companies small and large for the last 20 years, today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name is John Laurito and I’m your host. I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this topic: What makes the best leaders so good? Welcome to Tomorrow’s Leader.
John: All right, welcome to today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader, where we dive deep on all things leader related, related to leading yourself and leading others. I am John Laurito, your host. Tonight, I would like to talk about a topic that I know applies to so many leaders out there, and why do I know this? Well, I know this because it’s applied to me many, many times in my career. And it also applies to many of the leaders that I’m talking to on a regular basis and working with and coaching I see in organizations that otherwise would be fantastic. Top shelf, top tier organizations. I see one key problem. And let’s back up for a minute and understand the number one ingredient to a company or an organization’s success. The product and the service are absolutely critical, but it will only go so far unless there is leadership that ultimately can take it to its full potential. That’s the number one reason why organizations succeed or ultimately reach their potential or do not. And in some cases, that’s the number one reason why those organizations fail. And if you don’t believe me, just think about all the companies out there that had actually really good innovative novel new ideas or products or services that ultimately failed. There are tons of them.
John: So what I want you to think about is this scenario and whether you’ve been a member of a team like this, it could be a sports team, it could be a company, or you’ve been a leader of a team like this, a team where it has one individual that is clearly not to the caliber of the others or they are and they have the competency, but they are such a negative influence on the organization. They become a cancer and they infect the organization. They’re like a little poison pill running around, infecting everybody else with their negativity or whatever their issue is, their bottom line, a bad element, a bad egg. And they don’t belong in your organization. Now, I understand what you’re thinking because I was there to say you are a believer in people and you ultimately feel that people can change over time. And yes, they can. And that’s what great leaders do. They develop people. But ultimately, there are some people that no matter how much time you invest in them, there are certain things about them or tendencies or personality styles or just skill levels or knowledge levels or competency levels that just you are not going to get there with this person. And ultimately, you have to remember the phrase that if you cannot change the people, you have to change the people. I see leaders and again, I’m speaking from experience that have held on to people way too long.
John: I know I can think of very significant examples in my career where there were people that I knew in my gut did not belong in my organization. And what happened is I convinced myself so much that I could spend enough time with this person and develop them and coach them. And I almost looked at it as a badge of honor that, hey, listen, I took this person from somewhere. And occasionally you do see this where they were just on their way out of the organization or failing out of the organization. And you turned him around and they
became an A player or B player or something like that. Yes. On occasion that does happen. But you also have to know when you’ve gone too far or when you will have to go too far at the detriment of everybody else in the organization. And here are the key things you’ve got to think about.
John: There is a price and a cost and a very, very significant one to keeping the wrong people in your organization too long, every single day that goes by. And as you’re listening to this podcast, you may be one of those leaders that right away, as I brought up the title of this or the opening comments, you thought of this one individual. Every day that goes by that this person is in your organization, it is costing you money. It is costing you great people that could potentially join your organization. It’s costing you retention issues. It’s costing you clients, customers business. It’s costing you more stress. There’s a significant amount of cost to keeping those people that deep down inside, you know, are not your answers are not the people that ultimately should be part of your organization. Now, they may have been a good person to have in your organization to get you to where you are today. But this is another individual, the one that got you to where you are but does not have the skills or the competency to get you to where you need to go or want to go. I see this all the time. They’ve hung on to somebody, hey, this person has been part of my organization for so long, I can’t let him or her go. Maybe there’s a relationship there. Maybe there’s just maybe it’s just personal feelings and love and everything like that. And that’s great. I’m not going to tell you to not factor that in, of course. And we all want people that we love and we care about.
John: And I encourage you to think about building your organization that way of people that you genuinely enjoy spending time with, not just that have the skill sets that you’re looking for or the assets or the contributions that you’re looking to have somebody bring to your organization. But. I see people that hold on to those people trying to think that this person will advance and develop enough so that they can take you or help take your organization to the level that it needs to. And you have to be reality-based. Everybody has limits. Everybody has capacity constraints. And ultimately, you’ve got to make the right decision for your organization as to what people are going to be part of the future and what people, unfortunately, are part of your past. OK, I’ve talked to many leaders, one of which today who said that they just felt this unbelievable sense of relief when they made a decision in January to let this person go out of their organization, who had been part of the part of that organization for a few years. They knew deep down inside this person needed to go. Ultimately, they finally pulled the trigger. And it was one of the best things in the world for this person’s business. And not only did this person, the leader, feel great about it and better about it, but the other people in the organization noticed it immediately. The other A players said you know what? Wow, what a great relief that this person is gone. And what I will tell you, there are multiple things. And this is the cost ultimately of keeping the wrong person.
John: Here’s one, and I’m going to give you six of them, OK? One of them is the fact that you have to spend it’s the time that you’re spending trying to develop this person that isn’t going to pay off. And it’s ultimately going to take away from the time that you’re spending
with the A players. Think about this. How do your A players feel when you as the leader or the captain of that organization or the captain of the team or whatever, are spending all your time with B, and C players and not the A players because it’s taken away time from them? OK, that’s number one. Number two is the standards of the organization drop. It’s natural. If you have substandard people or average people, it’s going to lower the standards of the
organization. There is no way you can keep this person in a silo and not have them negatively impact the standards. And guess what? When standards drop, what else drops? Quality drops, service drops, ultimately results drop. OK, that’s a big one. Results drop. Revenue drops. OK, I think I’m on a three, four, or five, but let me say a couple of others.
John: Negativity builds in frustration because you see all the other people in the organization that deep down inside know this person doesn’t belong there. They see the leader tolerating this mediocre person, this negative person that’s in the organization and their frustration level builds the leader’s credibility, drops the negativity, builds and builds and builds. And ultimately, what that could cost you is losing. You’re a player. So I want you to ask yourself: “If I kept this person and I don’t even realize it right now, but if keeping this person that’s in my mind that doesn’t necessarily belong in my organization, if I kept this person another week and because I did that, my top person left and the only reason my top person left was that I kept this person, would it be worth it?” Would it be worth it to your organization? Would you absolutely be able to even live with yourself if that was the case? The answer clearly is no. You would not want to lose your A player because of keeping a C player. But we convince ourselves as leaders that that’s not going to happen. Yeah, I can afford to keep this person for a little bit. It’s not that she or he is not causing that much detriment to the organization, but guess what they are. You just you’re not you’re convincing yourself that they’re not, but I guarantee they are. You can tell I’m passionate about this because I’ve had personal experience with this and it hurts every time I look, I’m like, God, I should have gotten rid of that person so long ago. OK, hire slowly, fire quickly. If your gut tells you this person either doesn’t share the core values, they don’t buy into the vision. OK, ultimately, they’re not the type of person that’s going to row the boat in the same direction as everybody else. Then why are they on the team? Why are you keeping them? Get rid of them right away. You’re going to feel your acceleration of the business. You’re going to feel everybody else bond together and your credibility go up. You’re going to see results go up and you’re going to feel better. Your stress is going to go down. It is unbelievable what a difference that makes when you finally make that decision.
John: And by the way, of course, this person that you’re keeping day after day and ultimately having this negative impact internally is also having a negative impact externally because guess what? Customers and clients see that. They feel it. They can tell when the culture is off, your brand suffers, and ultimately your brand and your client service and the client experiences ultimately everything. So why keep that person that’s jeopardizing that you work too hard as a leader to get it to where it is right now. You’re working too hard to try and get it to the place you want it to be. It’s time to pull the trigger. Okay, I’m not. Saying you going tomorrow fire everybody, of course not, but that one person that came to mind when I brought up the beginning of this podcast, you know who it is. You’ve been hanging on to them way too long. If you can’t change the person, it’s time to change the person. OK, make that decision. And I promise you that will be the best decision to look back on in 2021. All right. So not to take a negative tone on this podcast, but you know what? This negative actually turns out to be a big positive because of all the great stuff that’s going to happen in your organization when you do what you know you should do. All right.
John: So a quick one, 10-minute podcast just to share a quick thought, a situation that came up recently that I thought would be worth sharing with the rest of the audience here, if you like. This offer was helpful, DM me, let me know. Shoot me an email, give me comments,
ask me for some help, whatever. I’m happy to spend some time with you and go through your specific challenges, maybe help you through it, help you come to the right decision. Maybe it is to keep the person, but more times than not it’s not. And I’m here to help in any way I can. So continue to like subscribe share this. Give me comments. Go down below. Give that five-star review, of course, with your comments below the review, and keep listening. We’ll look forward to seeing you next time. Thanks, everybody. Take care.
John (Closing): Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. For suggestions, or inquiries, about having me at your next event, or personal coaching, reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org Once again, that’s email@example.com. Thanks! Lead on!