You have a leader Rob in Europe who is not performing to your standards. It appears that he works in one direction and then seems to switch and work in another direction. He reports to the SR VP at corporate in the United States but since that corporate leader is not over in Europe you have asked the Leader in England to jump in and assist. And since you realize Rob is floundering a bit, you have asked the other ELT members to jump in when they are in Europe to “straighten him out”. It has been 6 months and you have not seen a difference, what should you do?

In this situation, it can appear straightforward and seems the right thing is to put Rob on a PIP. However…

In digging into the root of the problem with a client what I uncovered was that each ELT member was shifting Rob in a new direction based on their knowledge. So, Rob was trying to please too many people.

So, what we did was stop all the other ELT reaching out and connecting. Instead, we built a schedule of when the US VP. Could be in Europe on a quarterly basis. We set up regular meetings with clear cut goals and focused attention on 3 key initiatives.

What happened? Rob thrived. He quickly became one of their best leaders completely turning things around in 3 months. The CEO came to me and said, “So I am realizing Rob wasn’t the problem, we were.”

Make sure you spend time getting to the root of the problem and don’t try and just solve a solution. You have to suspend judgement (in this case the judgement was “Hey we’re all smart and if he can’t follow what we are saying then truly the problem is him”) in order to clearly see what needs to be fixed.

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