If it’s not IT, it is finances, if it’s not finances, it’s something else, and of course there is always, always the people side of the business equation.

In the last week I had been speaking with a handful of business owners and leaders, and invariably the conversation heads toward the challenges of dealing with staff.

They talk about challenges with staff that are not performing.

They talk about challenges with staff with bad attitudes.

They talk about challenges with staff who have both bad attitudes and are not performing.

These talks made me think about how can probably loosely categorise your team or workforce. This may provide a bit more clarity about where to focus your efforts on dealing with challenges.

You could do this by thinking in terms of where individual staff members may sit within say, one of four quadrants. Quadrants you could classify. For example,

  • The top left quadrant could be- “Achieves Goals, Exhibits Good Company Behaviours.”

In an ideal world, we would like to have all our staff double parked in this space. I have known leaders to lovingly describe these gemstones as “High Productivity/Low Maintenance”.

  • The top right quadrant could be– “Achieves Goals, Poor Company Behaviours.”

These quadrant dwellers are a bit tricky, because their poor attitudes may have a knock on effect. However, they are often not the target focus area because they are doing their job for the most part, but they may not be the sort you may want to promote.

  • The bottom left quadrant could be– “Misses Goals, Exhibits Good Company Behaviours.”

Residents in this space we normally have a crack at training and helping because their hearts and souls are in the right place. Let’s give them a chance, because there is a good chance they may get there, stay there, or be good somewhere in your company.

  • The bottom right quadrant could be– “Misses Goals, Poor Company Behaviours.”

Warning. Warning. If these total non-performers in this quadrant are left to their own devices they can be A) Erosive to other staff, B) Damaging to the bottom line, and C) Both A and B.

The B.F.O. (Blinding Flash of the Obvious) point is?

These park benchers should be the most logical choice of any performance management focus.

It comes as no surprise that when staff are viewed along the lines of where they may sit in any given quadrant, leaders generally agree those in the “Bottom right” have to be attended to, no matter how difficult they may be. 

For a number of business owners and leaders though, it is just a matter of how long they are willing to let these quadrant dwellers hang in there.