Skip to main content

What needs fixing in our business to improve performance? Part II

There are several reasons for employees not performing. Start by identifying the root cause of the problem and look for solutions that will make a difference to you and your team.

June 18, 2022  |  By Donald Cooper, MBA

Editor’s Note: This is an updated version of the article that appears in the Spring 2022 edition of the HGO Merchandiser. Click here to view Part I. Stay tuned next week for Part III.

In every business, we must measure performance to determine where we must improve – and who must improve.
Reflect on what needs fixing – below are four more reasons for staff non-performance.

6. Employees know a better way to fulfill their tasks….

…and have the guts to do it that better way and hope we won’t notice. But when we do notice, we see it as non-performance.

These people are gold. They’re smart, they get it, they care, and they take initiative. Don’t beat up on them. In fact, maybe you should promote them, or at least hug them.

7. A personal problem/crisis is distracting them.

Sometimes good employees go into a tailspin because of some personal problem or crisis in their lives. The road of life contains potholes. Now is our time to shine as an organization. Now is the time to show what we’re really made of. How can we and the rest of the team pitch in and support these folks? But we’ll be clear about which problems or crises we are and are not prepared to support. We may be absolutely determined to help an employee with a sick child or an ailing parent but not an employee with a cocaine addiction, one who beats their spouse or threatens the
life or safety of fellow team members.

8. They’re good people in the wrong job.

We’ve all seen this one. Many of us have been the square peg in the round hole at some point in our career. We were given a job or task for which we simply were not suited. For example, there are people who are great at managing people and there are people who are great at managing things. Never put a person who’s great at managing things in charge of a bunch of people. It will end badly. Before sacking someone, who seems to have some very good qualities, but who’s not performing, see if some other job would make excellent use of their talents, personality and experience.

Business woman who is stressed and frustrated

9. We’ve created a toxic culture or a culture of ‘us and them’ …

…resulting in resentment, fear or stress. We have some supervisors who are incompetent, unfair or unreasonable. We have policies that create an adversarial environment. We tolerate bullying.

This is 100% our doing. As managers and leaders, we’re in charge of the culture of the organization or our department.


Create a culture of excellence, urgency, fairness, appreciation, acknowledgement, celebration and joy. For more, read Donald Cooper’s 14 keys to creating a Winning Culture.