Performance Recovery Plan

 In 1978, Kenny Rogers recorded a #1 hit called “The Gambler.” These familiar lyrics speak a powerful message:

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run

This message can be applied to leaders: coach people up or coach them out.

While most leaders know in their gut within a matter of months, or sometimes weeks, if a person is going to be successful in their role, it often takes months or even years for that the sales manager to let that salesperson go. Underperforming people remain in their roles significantly longer than they should, costing a company valuable resources. These resources include money, time, and emotional energy.

More commonly, it happens like this. The salesperson is not performing. Leadership feels bad for this person. The leader doesn’t want to face hurting them, and they feel guilty because they know deep down they have not done enough to really help develop this person. They have not given them enough time and training to help them be successful. So they think: “I’m going to give her longer. I am going to help her.” But, because of leadership’s lack of systems, they continue to not provide enough time, coaching, or accountability.

This is a costly mistake.

You must decide quickly if someone is not a fit and allow them the opportunity to go be successful somewhere else by implementing a Performance Recovery Plan (PRP).  A PRP is a set of pre-defined expectations that must be hit at pre-established checkpoints with predetermined implications if those expectations are not met by those checkpoints.

To implement a PRP:

First, you need to determine how long it should take for someone to start seeing results. Depending on the length of your sales cycle and the skill level needed to succeed, the ramp-up could be two weeks or a year. Decide based on these factors how long you will give someone to determine if they are doing the things that it will take for them to be successful.

Second, decide the frequency of your checkpoints. If you are allowing for a 6-month ramp-up, then you might schedule a checkpoint at the end of each month, for a total of 6 checkpoints. If you are expecting a 2-week ramp up, then you might only have two checkpoints, one at the end of week one and the other at the end of week two.

The third step is to decide what activities and results need to be achieved at each checkpoint to be tracking toward success. At early checkpoints, the focus needs to be on generating activity. At each subsequent checkpoint, there should be an increased expectation for results.

Next, decide what consequences should happen if the expectations are not met at each checkpoint. Implications should increase in severity at each checkpoint. Often they should include increased training or accountability. The final implication is to be asked to be successful somewhere else.

It takes courage and consistency to implement a PRP, but the benefits are exponential.

It will stop leads from being wasted, opportunities from being blown, and customer relationships and market perception from being damaged. You will show your organization that only healthy attitudes and work habits are accepted in your organization. You will have more mental energy for the people who can and will respond to help. They will churn out major results. It will help your underperforming team member to become successful with you. Or allow them the opportunity of doing so somewhere else.

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