Jack Welch is one of America’s legendary CEOs. He ran General Electric (GE) for 20 years from 1981 and during his tenure, its valuation increased by 4000%.Quite something given that GE is the industrial giant built around Thomas Edison’s electricity-related business and his most well-known invention – the light bulb.
Jack Welch implemented a methodology to assess GE managers that offers a useful way of quickly assessing your own team. It can also be used if you ever have to downsize.
See the diagram, which shows the four quadrants in the 2x2 matrix. “Results” are often quantitative and therefore you can usually measure them – or you should be able to. Remember - if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Behaviour can be harder to measure, but you will have a view of what behaviour is acceptable in your organisation or team.In any business you need your team to be happy and effective, and your culture is critical. For the purposes of this exercise, liken “behaviours” to your “culture”. Now you just need to put everyone into a quadrant.
So, if somebody is just not delivering and is a painfully obvious round peg in a square hole when it comes to your culture, then the decision is easy. They need to leave. If somebody in killing it and is a poster child for your culture, then you need to work hard to develop them, manage them, support them and keep them. Such talent is hard to find and even harder to keep. If somebody is not delivering when it comes to results, but they fit your culture and are willing to learn and develop, then you should support them to improve their results.
The hardest people are those that are hitting the ball out of the park when it comes to results, but are just, in the extreme, assholes.Let’s take an aggressive salesperson, who knows how to sell and executes their sales process like a boss (even if they never actually report their sales pipeline like they are supposed to) and keep closing.However, they do not reflect your culture, nor do they even care about trying to. They are rude, expect preferential treatment and are universally disliked.In fact, good people have even left instead of putting up with their behaviour. In a young business you want that revenue and there is a temptation to put up with them and ignore the complaints or other employees who can’t understand why they were able to get away with being arrested at the Christmas party!
Don’t put up with it.They need to leave.
You need to measure their behaviour against standards so that you can manage them out. In the long run, the people you want to keep will not hang around and it will your cost more. They probably don’t adhere to process, and the day may come that they cost you a great deal, whether that is through good people leaving, or as the result of a legal or customer problem.
Obviously, there is a spectrum for both results and behaviours, but you will find that you can place people into the quadrants reasonably easily.It’s a starting point and is an exercise worth coming back to from time to time as your business begins to grow.