Regrettably as managers, unless we surround ourselves with clever people we just are not going to rise above the crowd. Having just had the results of 15 mystery shops recently carried out where sales people, just had no sales process, no follow up, no demonstration those dealerships need to review their standards, not the manufacturers but their own.

This week let’s talk about your standards and how you weed out poor performers. People working for you should know three things and it should be up dated every three months by assessments.

1. What is expected of them specifically
2. Feedback as to where they stand should they fail to achieve your standards.
3. Consequences for not meeting the standard.

When you terminate someone for poor performance, it should never be a surprise. Good leadership, communication and coaching ensures that the problem will be addressed early on. In this manner, poor performing employees basically fire themselves.

Here are some points to create focus and urgency within non performers:

1.Set standards for new employees so they know exactly where they are expected to be , in 60 days, 90 days, 180 days, etc into the future.
Get this straight up front so that they know what is expected. For instance in car sales a new salesperson coming to work may be told that within 60 days they would be expected to be selling 8 cars per month, in 120 days the average is expected to be 10 in 6 months the acceptable average is 12 and after one year it is 15.

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By doing this, you have a chance to focus your people on the minimum they must do to work at your company. This brings out focus and urgency and stops them from just doing the best they can hoping it is good enough. By setting these standards with new employees, you lay a strong foundation for the future progress

2.Meet with your veteran performers, you know those who hit their 14 a month without busting a gut, they sit back with their repeat customers in a comfort zone, when you just know they could achieve more. These are more difficult to handle as when they were employed there were not any standards laid down. Give them targets with deadlines to get up to speed . This is a terrific wake-up call for those who are in the comfort zone just going through the motions.

You know the type, the salesperson you know could be doing better if he would just apply himself. When you set his standards you must set out the consequences up front for not hitting them; suspension, pay plan change, loss of privileges. Then you must stick with the consequences or you will lose all credibility. It should be understood that the standards you are setting are minimum standards. They are not a resting point.

3.To balance out your expectations, you should also set out “stretch” targets, that if hit bring forth special rewards. These targets should be at least 10-20% higher than normal production and the rewards should be clear and motivating. However if a team member is only achieving 12 a month to ask for 20 is demotivating, look for a percentage improvement on current performance.

Often the best guide I have is that I look at each employee each month and say to myself if they were applying for a job today, knowing what I know now, would I offer them a position, if the answer is no then it is time to move them on.

The purpose of setting out expectations is to find ways to keep people and stretch them by helping them see and reach what they must do to be successful. It is crucial that you provide ample support through coaching and resources to help them reach their goal . Clear Result Driven Job Descriptions are designed to purge your organisation of underachievers.

These people condition you to accept below average performances and the longer you let them hang around, the worse things get. Remember it is not the people you fire that make your life miserable it is the ones you keep!.

This week discuss your companies standards at your management meeting, do your employees have result driven job descriptions, which enable you to measure and monitor their performance, do they get a pat on the back for increasing their performance,