Positioning Systems - Small Business Coaching



Articles > When to Upgrade Your Talent #94 6-30-09

How do I know when it’s time to make a change with my current employees? Do I risk cutting someone on my team to hire someone from the outside or do I stay the course?

Answer: As discussed in our last newsletter, the present economy is offering an opportunity for prudent business owners to upgrade their talent pool. At the same time one needs to be careful that you don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Good business owners are seeing the present flux in the economy as an opportunity for growth, and at the very least to make sure their fundamentals are in place so when the economy recovers they are in a position to capitalize. 
Acknowledging this, how do you know if you should change or stand pat? It requires two sets of equally important systems.   A way to judge your present talent pool, and then a recruiting and hiring system that you are confident can bring you A players to replace the staff that is not performing to your standards.
But first you need to ask yourselfa couple of critical questions: Are you committed to elevating your staff and getting better performance? [It won’t come without some significant dedication on your part.] Are you willing to change? Are you truly determined to reach new levels of growth in your business?
Topgrading is a process we as Gazelles coaches recommend to our clients. Topgrading means building your team through constantly coaching, and training your present team to improve, assuring your people are in the right positions to utilize their strengths, and/ or hiring the right people who are or can become A players. [For an A player definition complete the request in the link at the bottom of this newsletter.]
The first step is to assess your current group of employees. Imagine a graph with 4 quadrants. The axis on a vertical line on the left measures Value, the horizontal line on the bottom measures productivity.   At the top of the graph on the vertical line you measure the employees who provide the most value. At the bottom and to the right you would measure employees who provide the most productivity.  Accordingly those employees with the greatest value and productivity would find themselves occupying the upper right quadrant of this chart. Place your employee’s initials in the quadrant where they would be graded. This upper right quadrant is for A players. The lower right quadrant is for B/C players who need to be monitored closely, warned and coached. The left hand upper quadrant is for B players who have the stuff to become A players and most likely need coaching to reach their potential. The lower left quadrant is where you would place your C players, those employees who most likely need to be replaced or reassigned to a different responsibility where their talent and skills can be best utilized. [A copy of this chart can be requested in the link at the bottom of this newsletter.]
Please understand that we are not suggesting you haphazardly eliminate employees. This is not about change for the sake of change. It’s a mistake to eliminate people indiscriminately just as it is a mistake to hire someone just because you need to fill a spot in your company. 
How do you replace a loyal player who’s been with your business for a long time? Ask yourself how many of your employees have 5, 10, 15 or more years of experience? Do they have that much experience or have they just had one years experience 20 times? Do you have people on your team that have talent and a skill level that would be better placed in another position in your business?
One of our clients had a plant manager whose talent and skill level are better suited for sales. The owner has found a plant supervisor and has been progressively moving the former plant manager into a sales position where he is producing. In fact one of the reasons they are growing right now is due to this person’s success at closing their single largest customer.
Right now is the best time to plan for the future. Right now is the best time to make sure you are growing while your competition is licking their wounds. Right now is the best time to be preparing to put the fundamentals in place so you can be prepared to jump when the economy turns. With the right people on the bus you can take advantage of the lack of aggressiveness and foresight your competition is demonstrating.
When was the last time you assessed your people? Have you ever truly taken a look at the contributions they make to your business?   Do you believe championships are won by great teams, great people or a combination of both?
A Gazelles business coach can help you create the right hiring and recruiting process to find A players for your business. Topgrading is the best tool to do that. First you need to decide if you’re prepared to change and make the commitment to getting the right people on the bus. Once you’ve made that decision, evaluate your present talent pool and get started elevating your team to reach your new higher goals. 

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Positioning Systems helps business owners and entrepreneurs transform their business.  We provide the tools and coaching to help you take control of your business -- rather then having your business control you.