How to fix weak management teams
- September 28, 2017
- Jeremy de Constantin
- 18 Comments
Is your business under-performing? Management teams play a crucial role in your company’s success. If you know or suspect there are weak elements in your management team, you need to take action.
So, how do you identify the weak links and fix a poor management team?
It’s all about the people! As an experienced business turnaround advisor, that’s something I learnt very early in my career.
And while this article is specific to fixing internal management, this statement applies across the board. Weak external advisors, inexperienced owners in board roles, finance managers in positions where the business has outgrown their skill set, advisory board members well past their used-by-date – these all contribute to under-performance in a company.
However, let’s focus on how to sort and improve your internal management team.
How to identify weak management team members
Here’s a useful metaphor:
Think of your business as a wooden row boat.
A boat full of Rowers, Passengers and Drillers.
In the early stages of a change program in a company, I attempt to classify all senior managers into one of these 3 categories. With the proviso that first impressions are not always accurate. Even Drillers can become the greatest Rowers.
How can you start to recognise these individuals?
- Rowers. Who will usually bend backwards and go the extra mile?
- Passengers. Who will coast, see what happens and just do enough to keep out of the firing line?
- Drillers. Who are the saboteurs when your back is turned; drilling holes in the bottom of the boat, trying to sink it?
6-Step process to improve your management team
The following actions will arguably be the most important game-changing initiatives you will ever take in improving the culture and bottom line in your business.
- Categorise. Get a third party to help you classify your management team into the 3 categories – Rowers, Passengers or Drillers. This really is the role of a skilled advisory board member, if you have one on hand. Or check out our page on getting your own Professional Advisory Board.
- Let go. Bench the drillers immediately. In the words of Jack Welch, “fire fast, hire slow”.
- Assess. Rate the Passengers from 0 to 10 on the following, in order of importance: 1) Attitude, 2) Coachability and 3) Skills.
- Correct. Poor scores on the above might indicate a need for further benching or one-on-one coaching to move the individual up a notch, from Passenger to Rower.
- Keep score. Put your Rowers on Job Scorecards, an invaluable tool to get absolute clarity on performance expectations. Download a scorecard template below
- Reward. Make sure you are paying your Rowers industry benchmark salaries, plus a reward based on their meeting targets on their Job Scorecard.
This process generally takes between 3 and 6 months for a senior management team.
However, I assure you it will be worth it. This process is one of the most important and beneficial initiatives you will ever undertake for your business.