Imagine you own a muffin shop and have two employees working for you that have similar training, tenure and experience.
Employee A can make 2 muffins per hour and Employee B can make 10 muffins per hour. As a manager to both employees, you think to yourself, My business would be much more profitable if we could increase output by getting Employee A to produce at the same rate as Employee B.
You spend countless hours observing, retraining and developing Employee A and help to increase his output by 50%. After a long, grueling week you now have one more muffin produced per hour from Employee A.
As you sit at your desk on Friday afternoon you think to yourself – What if I had spent the same amount of time with Employee B and could increase her output by 50%?
The moral of the story is that there is an opportunity cost associated with everything you do as a leader and manager of people. Time spent with one employee takes away from time spent with another employee, developing your own book of business, sourcing and hiring new employees, and the list goes on and on.
So - How do you decide where to focus your effort?
Consider this: given the same amount of leads, a great rep will outperform a poor rep by 9.1x and a good rep by 2.6x due to the following:
Great reps sell with a higher margin – poor reps rely on discounts to close business which often is a faulty strategy
Great reps have a higher and faster close rate – you can make mere mortals rock stars by instilling a structured, repeatable process for your reps to follow
Great reps have larger deal sizes – great reps position themselves as Trusted Advisors or Strategic Partners with their clients and ensure they get the maximum amount of customer share
So, why do we continuously focus our efforts on low performers? When asked this question in previous leadership training sessions, I have heard answer such as:
I feel responsible for the employees I hire
Under-performers show signs of greatness and I want to pull that out of them
My top performers don’t need my help – they are self-sufficient
HR won’t allow me to fire this employee
The labor market is too tight. it’s easier to keep a low performer on my team then hire someone new
If you can confidently say you have provided all of your employees with the tools, training, and support to be successful (See Simplify the Most Complex Generation) then it is much more valuable to focus on developing your high performers.
On top of that, high performers crave your attention and support. These employees want to be pushed to the next level and perhaps become future leaders within your organization (See An Open Leader to My Sales Leadership)
As a leader, you simply cannot want something more for your employees than they want for themselves. At Butler Street, we teach a Coach, Coach, Change methodology which ensures you are investing your time where you will get a return by identifying action and inaction patterns through weekly one-on-ones. As coaching conversations progress and patterns emerge, the leader is empowered to make the change or the employee ultimately achieves the desired behavior.
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