How do you deal with people that under-deliver?

How do you deal with people that under-deliver? –@PriscillaPWood

I’m not sure if you are talking professionally or personally so I will answer both and maybe it’s the same answer.

My basic answer is: you get rid of them immediately. There are plenty of people (both professionally or personally) who will be more than happy to overdeliver for you.

But first, explain in a very constructive way how they are under-delivering. Don’t say, “you are under delivering.” Say, “Here is what I need. X, Y, and Z. Do you think this is more than you can handle. No problem if it is. But I NEED those things.”

If they then can’t do it, then they have “the disease”.

“The disease” is when people try to cut corners, try to get by, try to hustle, don’t like their employers and will consistently try to backstab them. The disease spreads during cigarette breaks, gossip breaks out on the stairwell, drinking binges with colleagues at night.

I had an employee once who was unhappy. He was constantly making fun of one of my partners. He started showing up later for work. And he was hanging out socially with other co-workers. Who were then starting to show up late for work. The disease is highly contagious. So you eliminate by firing them.

And on a personal level you have to very very quickly state what you need. If they won’t meet what you need then that tells you something about them. Or, if they won’t at least have the discussion.

I’ll give you an example on the personal level. When Claudia moved into my apartment (on Wall Street in NYC) I had no furniture. I mean, ZERO furniture. I had a table with no chairs. And some mattresses for me and my kids to sleep on. Claudia wanted some sort of place to put her clothes. But I kept delaying.

Finally she said, “when you are delaying like this you are telling me that you don’t mind if the woman you claim to love is getting her clothes dirty all over the floor. You are saying you don’t mind if I live like a homeless person.”

I got the dresser. And gradually more furniture. Problem solved.