How to Cut Your Losses and Move On

Trajectory predicts the future.

Minimize the negative impact of laggards by managing them up or out. Give employees on the rise freedom, opportunity, authority, and position.


Experience suggests you have, on average, a 60/40 chance of getting people-decisions right.

You hired them. You’re reluctant to acknowledge that their trajectory points downward.

Hope blinds leaders to hard realities.

Track trajectory:

Every person has trajectory.

Don’t go down with people who are going down. Lift them up or out.

Downward trajectory begins with attitude.

Watch for:

  1. Inverted navals. Everything’s about me. I can’t get out of myself.
  2. Black holes. Its not that bad. Its horrid!
  3. Fat heads. I always know.
  4. Life-vesties. Please don’t rock the boat. Change makes my belly hurt.
  5. Finger pointers. I didn’t do anything wrong. But, they did!
  6. Foot-draggers. I’ll get to that later. Much later!
  7. Peacocks. You’re lucky to have me. I’m entitled.

Trajectory is about attitude not skill.

Pour energy into those with passion to improve; cut your loses with those who don’t.

Manage out:

  1. Compassion and opportunity to change trajectory.
  2. Clarity regarding performance and expectations.
  3. Increased oversight and firm accountability.
  4. Fewer opportunities.
  5. Demotion
  6. Removal.

Push laggards to the fringes and major contributors to the center.

Place your hope in people on the rise.

5 foundations of hope:

  1. Recent performance.
  2. Aspiration for development.
  3. Drive to make a difference.
  4. Taking responsibility.
  5. Elevating projects to new levels.

7 requirements for upward trajectory:

  1. Openness to learn, which includes willingness to acknowledge failure.
  2. Unreserved buy-in to mission and vision.
  3. Transparency regarding motives and intentions.
  4. Clear – agreed upon – expectations.
  5. Commitment to service.
  6. Leveraging their sweet spot where opportunity, passion, and skill converge.
  7. Consistent feedback, along with openness to receive it.

Honor people with upward trajectory. You get what you honor.

How can leaders manage out poor performers.

How can leaders develop and maximize employees who are on the rise?