“I’m at a loss about what to do about Margaret.” a manager said to me.
“What is the concern?” I asked.
“We hired Margaret about a year ago to manage a troubled group. Although she has worked very hard, performance continued spiraling downward.”
“Were your expectations clear?”
“Yes, and she admits that she has fallen far short.”
“Did you give Margaret enough support?”
“Yes, we fully financed what she requested. We met frequently and often agreed on needed changes. For some reason, Margaret was unable to effect the changes or she took too long.”
“Were there unexpected challenges, things that blew up seemingly out of nowhere?”
“Not really, she had issues with a couple of employees and she had to replace a vendor but nothing too unusual.”
Margaret is an example of a good cooperate citizen who tried hard but was unable to achieve a tough goal. There is a temptation to lower expectations and continue supporting hard working employees who do not achieve desired outcomes.
I believe, though, this is a case where the person just did not have the wherewithal to get the job done. While it is heart-wrenching to remove a hard-working, committed employee, I think it would be better for all—including Margaret—to replace her and try again.