Is It Time To Eliminate Your “C” Players?

Filling all of your positions with the right players is a constant struggle. The right players are the best people available in your market who are dedicated to achieve results, perform, improve and meet expectations.  The right players are also those who take ownership, are accountable and responsible, do what they say they’ll do, make good decisions, find solutions, take action, have integrity, are committed to professional excellence, and are respectful of others.   

The right players are not those who disrupt or impede productive workflow, cause problems, whine or complain, make excuses, disrespect others, make the same mistakes over and over, are unwilling to learn new systems and processes, don’t follow standards and rules, and can’t work with or communicate well with other employees or customers. 

Hire slow, train hard and fire fast! 

The first step to building a great winning team is to hire the right players who have the right attitude and character. Experience only counts if your candidates have positive winning attitudes, integrity, and put the team ahead of their own interests. The right players are also the best available who have the ability to fill your current and future needs thus allowing your business to move to the next level. 

Next is your commitment to train and mentor players to become the best they can. This takes a dedicated investment of time spent with your top players who have the highest potential to make a difference in your company’s future. Most contractors don’t really have a formal training program or career development ladder. In fact, most contractors don’t do any training with employees and hope they get better while learning on the job. This lack of training keeps companies stuck at a below average level of results as they continually try to find some trained help and hope things get better. 

The next commitment to build a great team filled with the right players, is to not accept poor performance and be willing to fire fast. When players don’t perform, play within your core values, or have the wrong attitudes and character, they must go. Don’t waste time keeping the wrong players you can’t afford to lose. Remember that one bad apple rots the entire bushel. The ‘train or fire’ test we use at our mastermind peer group meetings I host for construction business owners, when an employee question comes up, is to ask: “Do you love them or like them?” Everyone unanimously agrees to only keep people if you love them. Keeping the wrong players identifies the true strength and character of the leader. If you are unwilling to make tough decisions, people will not respect you, won’t give you their all, and never perform at their highest level.  

Focus on your ‘BEST” and dump the rest! 

The right way to build a team is to focus on your “A” players, train and mentor your “B” players to become “A” players, and eliminate your “C” players as fast as possible. “C” players are those employees who shouldn’t work for your company. They don’t fit in, like a round peg trying to fit into a square hole. They aren’t happy.  And as their employer, you’re not happy with their performance, attitude, drive, work ethic, or abilities either. The wrong players include, those with bad attitudes, employees who aren’t willing to continually improve, and people who aren’t team players. So, what’s the solution?  The best thing you can do with poor performers is to free them from working for your company and let them move on to where they can thrive.  

What to do with slackers? 

Golfers who pad their handicap are often called sandbaggers. They keep their handicap artificially higher than it should be so they get a few extra strokes from their opponents when playing match play competition. The term ‘sandbagger’ comes from the concept of filling your golf bag with some sand so it’s heavier than normal, causing you to get tired, not play up to your potential and maintain a padded high handicap. This allows sandbaggers to win games by cheating the system versus playing up to their ability.  

You act as a sandbagger when you tolerate or postpone the need to eliminate poor performing players. Or you let them constantly disrupt your crew production, or not be required to follow company standards and systems, or treat them special because they can’t work with certain people. Who on your crew or staff is a slacker and causes you the most grief, doesn’t do a good job, or has a bad attitude? These poor performers are infiltrating everyone on your team and bringing them down. Poor performers need to be cleaned out, fired, and removed fast. To start the process of finding the right players, email GH@Hardhatpresentations.com to receive your free copy of George’s e-book: “How To Build Winning Teams!” 

Clean out the “C” players now! 

Think of employees as trees in the forest. When they die, run out of life, or stop growing, they become dead wood. Dead wood gets in the way, is a fire hazard, and causes you to trip or fall as you move forward. When you let the dead wood remain, you slow down and stop productive growth. When you don’t remove or clean out dead wood, other employees have to put up with them, work around them, cover for them, and make excuses for them. Additionally, your good employees lose respect for a boss who won’t do what’s right in a timely manner and accepts less than the best from his people.   

I know you say you’re too busy and can’t afford time to eliminate dead wood employees and find some better people to do a better job. But, by doing nothing and tolerating poor performers, you’re avoiding tough decisions and losing more money than you can imagine. One dead tree can reduce your crew efficiency by as much as 25%. Make a list of your employees and rate them on the skills you need them to have to be proficient in their duties. Also rate their attitude, character, teamwork, and aptitude. And rate them on their desire to take on more accountability, responsibility, and leadership. Through this process, you’ll discover your valuable employees you want to build your business with, those who can improve, and those who shouldn’t work for you. Who knows? You might also find that a few ‘old-timers’ or relatives are not on your ‘keep’ list. = 

How many of your players should be eliminated? 

It’s not your fault that as many as ten to twenty percent of your employees might not be the right fit or suited to work for you or your company. You shouldn’t feel bad about realizing that not everyone you hired was the right player to work for you. You did your best hiring them, but some people don’t fit within your company’s core values, culture, the required job description or aspire to excellence in your company’s environment. In other words, a few of your employees are working at the wrong place. It is not good for them nor you, and they need to move on and find a place where they’ll contribute in a positive way. Feel good about cleaning out the dead wood. It’s good for you, your employees, and those who’ll be leaving your company. So, get tough, make those hard decisions, get out your axe and trim the dead wood. Then make it your priority to find the right players who’ll make your company a better place today and into the future.  

George Hedley CSP CPBC is a certified professional construction BIZCOACH and popular industry speaker. He helps contractors grow, make more profit, build management teams, improve field production, and get their businesses to work for them. He is the best-selling author of “Get Your Construction Business To Always Make A Profit!” available on Amazon.com. E-mail GH@HardhatPresentations.com to sign-up for his free e-newsletter, start a personalized BIZCOACH program, attend a 2 ½ day BIZ-BUILDER Boot Camp, or get a discount at www.HardhatBIZSCHOOL.com online university for contractors.