When I talk to entrepreneurs about their current teams I hear a lot of the same complaints.
“It takes forever to get anything done.”
“I have to review everything.”
“It would be faster to do it myself.”
And while we all would love a clone that knows what we know and has the same insights, experience and work ethic, if you want a better team it takes a bit of doing.
You see, even if you’ve done the thing a thousand times and could complete the task with your eyes closed, your team member probably doesn’t have all the nuances down yet.
That’s because… Truth #1: It’s difficult to emulate by observing someone else work.
Ever watch the Superbowl? Think you could throw a touchdown pass? Just because you’ve seen someone else work, even studied them, it takes more to do it on your own. Sometimes that’s muscle memory – like the quarterback – or attention to detail.
So even if your team member has “seen me do it a hundred times” they too might need 100 times to be just as proficient.
It’s easy to think you’re more efficient than a team member but even if they’re slower at first you’ll still see a time saving benefit.
Before you fire make sure the employee has had sufficient time to practice the skills on their own, not just observing.
There’s a common joke that Millennials are all “special snowflakes” who crave individuality. While we are all individuals, in your business that means Employee A is going to do things a little different than Employee B. Not a big deal, unless one employee is doing things the hard way and it takes twice as long to complete a task.
You’ve probably done this task so much that you know the most efficient way, right? Well, Truth #2 is that if you don’t show the how, your employees will make up their own way.
I call this becoming the GPS of your business. Sure, I can get you from LA to San Francisco but if I don’t have a GPS telling me where and when to turn it’ll probably take hours longer, waste fuel and make me extremely frustrated.
This is how your team members feel when you want them to “do the blog” but don’t specify what that means and what to do step-by-step.
Before you fire an employee for incompetence make sure you’ve actually trained them on what you want done. (Pssst! This is commonly called a system!)
Maybe, just maybe, you’re rolling your eyes at me and thinking, “yeah, I’ve done that and my employees STILL take forever to get things done. They’re not learning and it’s costing me money!”
Truth #3 is that some people are just not fast workers. They might have the mentality of “filling the hours” by working slowly – after all, if they do the work in half the time and get paid by the hour then they get half the pay!
These employees I can’t help you change. If they’re not willing to work more efficiently so your business can grow and they can learn new tasks then there’s not much we can do. The best thing you can do before you fire someone for lack of growth is to make sure they have had time to practice and a clear system to follow first.
As entrepreneurs we crave the fast lane: move fast, pivot, disrupt the status quo. And not everyone is cut out for that type of business and environment. The great news is that if you provide an employee with the system and practice and they don’t work out then you’re already set up to train their replacement!
Entrepreneurs shouldn’t be afraid to fire employees who are wasting time and resources but if you want a more efficient, productive team then provide them with the tools they need to work smarter, not harder.