Too often, when someone underperforms or fails, our industry’s knee-jerk response is that person is stupid, lazy, incompetent or has some other character flaw. And while that may be true, it is not the place to start! We have provided you a sequential checklist for you to follow to help you determine why the person is underperforming and if it’s correctable. Below this chart we’ve elaborated on each concept in more depth.

There are two reasons people fail or underperform: can’t or won’t. Let’s first evaluate whether they actually can do the job.

Begin with “Can’t” and place a check mark in the box next to each item the underperformer exemplifies. The first empty box in the sequence provides you with the next step toward correcting the underperformance.

Once you’ve addressed that issue, continue through the remaining items in the sequence and repeat the process for correcting each of the next identified gaps.

Do they have a talent for this?
If not, can you realign roles and responsibilities to better deploy the talent on your team?
Have they acquired the necessary skills for this?
What is your training and development plan?
Are their priorities aligned accurately?
When someone is juggling too many balls, sometimes one or two might get dropped.
Are there any obstacles in the way?
Can they be modified, delegated or discontinued?

Do they understand why it's important?
Have you taken the time to explain the importance of this role and/or responsibility?
Is the compensation aligned?
Does your compensation and recognition structure support their role and responsibilities?
Are there incremental consequences?
Consequences must be meaningful, consistent and incremental.
Now you can begin the exit strategy.
If all seven boxes are checked, the person has been given every opportunity to succeed and you may now begin the exit strategy.