This is Podcast number nine. Today on the Clay Staires Leadership Podcast, I’m going to be talking about, once again, just tools that we can use to keep our employees moving forward. This is by far the number one, as I’m travelling across the country as Clay Staires Leadership Tulsa, and working with leaders, business speaker Tulsa owners, business speaker Tulsa managers, the number one complaint that I have, the number one question that I have is, “Clay, how do we get people to do what we’re telling them to do?” And again, I don’t think this is rocket science. There definitely is a consistent we have to stay with them, we have to continue to encourage them.
I totally get that. But it’s not like it is magic. Unfortunately though, because of the practices that we put in place, as leaders, what I find over and over and over is we are just setting ourselves up for expecting magic out of people. business speaker Tulsa
What I want to talk about today here on the Clay Staires Leadership Tulsa Podcast is we’re going to be going over what I’ve learned from Dave Anderson, of Learn to Lead, what I’ve learned about the three T’s. Yes, you may remember the podcast where we talked about where we talked about Jack Welch’s four T’s. Well, this is the three T’s. It’s a tool that we can use as managers and as leaders to help us keep our workforce moving forward.
So let’s start out with this scenario. Okay, a couple weeks ago. I had one of my clients come to me going, “Oh my gosh, Clay, this one employee is driving me crazy. They’re terrible. They are wearing me out. I’ve talked with them and I’ve talked with them and I just can’t get out of them what I need. Now, I’m thinking I’m going to have to fire them. But man, it’s just wearing me out.” This one leader just happened to be a caregiver so they’re having a hard time releasing people, which totally makes sense. So to fire this person, it was so emotional. business speaker Tulsa
We’ve been spending them time with the Clay Staires Leadership Tulsa. We’ve been spending time with them teaching them how to, as a caregiver, how to lead well and how to remove the emotions from difficult decisions. This three T’s step that I want to give to you, this power move that I want to give to you today is all about a process or a system that you can put in place and, as you’ve heard me say many times, I love to add this language to my culture so everybody knows what we’re talking about, everybody’s familiar with it. “Oh, Clay’s giving you the Three T talk. Got it. [unintelligible 00:02:37] make sense.”
So here’s what we do. When you’ve got an employee that is not cut in the mustard, I’m not even sure what cutting the mustard means, because I don’t cut mustard, I spread mustard, but we’ll just say that. Okay? These not cutting the mustard. They’re just not producing what you need them to produce. There are three T’s that I go to let me know what is my next step with this employee.
Number one, we need to catch it quickly. We need to catch it quickly. First of all, if they are not meeting their requirements, the first T is, is it a training issue? Have I trained them well? Again, with, as I work with folks all across the country with Clay Staires Leadership Tulsa, as I work with leaders all across the country, I find that most organizations, most companies do not have a strong training program. Now, do they have a training program? Many of them do. But is it a strong training program? No it is not. Even to their admission, it is not a strong training program.
In fact, many of their training programs is that first day when they come in for about two hours and get introduced to their computer and then they are told, “Hey, go follow Susie. Susie is one of our best employees. We love Susie, follow her. She’ll show you the ropes. Be like Susie.” So the next day they come in, they begin to follow Susie. But you know, we just didn’t anticipate that this day is a bad day for Susie. Susie’s having a bad day. Sounds like a book. But there’s things going on in her life, there are pressures that she’s feeling and she is fed up. She’s mad at another employee at the job.
And so, now I have a brand new employee that is getting trained through shadowing another employee that is not showing the right way to do the job. Happens all the time. All of a sudden Susie begins to cut corners. It’s no big deal for Susie because Susie knows the right way to do it but she is training this new employee, not how to cut corners. She is training the employee on how to do it because the employee doesn’t know the corners are being cut. business speaker Tulsa
The way that Susie talks to other people, the way that she responds to customers, the way that she responds to struggle during the day, she is not showing this new employee how to cut corners and how to do it wrongly. She is showing this new employee how to do it. If we’re not careful, the training program that we have in place is actually training our employees on how to be a bad employee. When I’ve got an employee that is not doing well, when they are really struggling, when they are not meeting the requirements, my very first question in my head as a leader is, “Have I trained them? Have they gone through the training?”
Again, for me, that immediately puts a shiny light on my training program. Is it systemized? Is it reproducible? Is it written down? Are there pictures that go along with the training program? Who was the person that trained that new employee? Was the new person a trainer or was the new person a manager or a caregiver or a leader? Again, it’s very important that we have the right person doing the training or else it can really lead, yes, they went through the training but it didn’t have the output that we wanted.
My first question is, the first T, have I trained them? If I have confidence in my training program, if it has produced numerous star employees. Then I go to the next step. If I know that I’ve trained them and they’re still not hitting the mark, I go to the next step. The next T is to transfer. Transfer is simply, can I move them to a new responsibility, to a new job description into a new box as it were on the organizational chart because this is a great person. They’ve got a great personality. They fit here in our company.
It’s just the task that I’m asking them to do, they don’t have the skill. They don’t have the knowledge. They don’t have the capacity to do what I’m asking them to do. But man, they’re a great person and I want to keep them in the company. I’m simply going to look to transfer them. Is it possible for me to move them from one box to another box and have them do another responsibility? I’ve done this a couple of times and found an immediate change. Not only a change in their productivity but an incredible change in their attitude because now they feel productive. Now they feel positive. They don’t feel likes a failure anymore. business speaker Tulsa
Because not only was I seeing them fail every day, they felt like a failure every day. Simply by transferring them and putting them into a new position with new responsibilities that are more aligned with who they are and how they’re wired, they’re able now to play to their strengths. And it makes for positive, everybody’s doing fist pound and doing the whole thing all around. Party poppers going off all over the place because now they’re in their area of strength. That’s the second T.
Number one, what we’re going to do is we’re going to check the training. Have they been trained? “Yes, remember that month that we had the person out with the detached retina, the trainer. Yes, and we had to bring in that other person from that place, yes, they got trained by that guy.” “Oh, okay. They probably didn’t get the good training, let’s take them back through to it. Do we got the detached retina guy back? Good deal.” I don’t know where I came with the detached retina. But let’s go ahead and bring that and take them to their training again with the guy that we know as a great trainer. Okay? Let’s train them both.
If that is not the issue, then let’s look to transfer, if that’s possible. If you have taken them through new training, if you have transferred them to another place or if you can’t transfer them to another place, then that brings us to the third T. The third T is to terminate. There is no fourth T that people like to make up. People like to pull the fourth T out of the bag and say, “Let’s just tolerate it.” You guys, there is no toleration of low performance. If you tolerate it, once again, it will kill your culture. It will thwart. I can’t believe I used that word. I didn’t wake up this morning knowing that I was going to use the word thwart today, but it will thwart your momentum.
If you have star employees and you keep a low-performing person around, it will hack them off and they will begin to look elsewhere. You guys once again, it’s Clay Staires Leadership Tulsa. I’m finding this over and over with leaders that I work with. And it doesn’t matter the industry, it’s just all across the board. Again, what I want to encourage you with is using these three T’s to help you know what are moves, what do I do when employees don’t do stuff?
Well, number one, are they trained? Number two, can I transfer them? And number three, if I have trained them, If I have transferred or can’t transfer them any place else, then the third option is to terminate. Get rid of them.
Again, everybody in your organization needs to know these are the moves, these are the steps, this is what we are going to do. Again, if we go back to the four E’s and a certain individual, a certain employee has been consistently getting some low grades and the four E’s, then they should be able to anticipate coming into the meeting with you knowing that you are getting ready to get the three-T talk. If they look all surprised and, “What? I didn’t know all that,” then you simply point over to the wall and you go, “What do you mean? We got the big poster right here. It talks about the four E’s, it talks about the three T’s. This is our culture, this is our language, this is how we keep the high energy. This is how we keep the high success rate in our company going. You know this, we talk about it all the time.”
You can’t hide when you have these systems in place. As soon as you get into that emotional place where you don’t have systems, you are just kind of going off of feelings, “Man, it can get really tough. It’s really hard to get your finger on things,” because people can be really slippery. Have you noticed that? Oh man. As the head of Clay Stair Leadership Initiative, I have found that — as the head of Clay Stair Leadership Tulsa, I have found that people can be slippery. We’ve got the train, transfer, terminate. Once again, we do not want to bring in number four T which is to tolerate.
In our next talk, in our next podcast, we’re going to be talking about, “How do I fire somebody? That can be tough, very emotional. I didn’t sleep good last night. I didn’t sleep at all last night just thinking about having to fire this person. It’s so emotional. How do I do that, Clay? Help me with it.” Thank you.
[00:11:40] [END OF AUDIO]

Clay Staires