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How to Upgrade Underperforming Team Members

I was in a meeting with one of my clients who was having a problem with one of his team members. The conclusion that he was arriving at was that he needs to motivate more and then the person would perform better.

To make sure he was making the right decision when it came to what kind of input would be required, I showed him this framework. As soon as he saw this framework, he realised that he didn’t actually need to “motivate” this person…

Once you place your team members within this framework that I have explained, you can then clearly see which strategies you should be using to get them to perform to the best of their ability in your business.

Prefer to read rather than watch and listen? No problem – here’s everything I said in the video as text:

The Framework

Hi this is Shweta from The London Coaching Group.

What I want to share with you today is a framework, which will help you unlock higher performance from your team.

Now, I was in a meeting with one of my clients and he was having a problem with one of his team members. And we were sitting down and looking at different possibilities, and the conclusion he was arriving at was that he just needs to motivate this particular person a little bit more. And hopefully the person will start performing more.

Now that’s fine, but just to make sure he was making the right decision in terms of the input that was required by the team, I shared with him a framework and as soon as the client saw the framework, he was like; “I don’t need to motivate this person, he needs more directive management.”

Now that’s very interesting, so let’s have a look at the framework because it might help you understand that what input is required for what team member, because that’s what makes a huge difference in management, and helping people achieve their best. So let’s have a look.

The Two Axes

So, simple two axis as you can see – on the horizontal axis what you put is “H”. And I’m really keeping it very simple, basically “Hard Work”. On the vertical axis, it’s “Competence”.

So this is the capability of working hard, putting in those hours or running those laps. And the vertical axis is basically the competence, the intelligence, the capability that the person has for their role.

The Quadrants

Now if I draw a simple grid here, you have this. If a team member is not showing competence in terms of what they are doing, and also they are not putting in those laps – then this is something called “IB” or “Iceberg”. 

What that means is that you look at this person and you’re hoping that they will show you more than what’s visible right now. And maybe they will start performing and start being more competent, and that’s the whole. Because over the surface, you’re not seeing much. And you just want to want to see more.

Now, this person who is actually willing to work very hard and they are the ones who will put in whatever hours it takes and they are motivated and they are driven, they are keen but you know that there’s a ceiling in terms of their intelligence or in terms of their competence. And what you’d call these people is “WH”or “Work Horse”. So they are the keen people, but there’s only so much, there is a capability constraint.

Now, this section is quite an interesting one and actually relatively a bigger problem and more prevalent in businesses, and you call these people “Problem Child”. What that means is that they are competent individuals, and smart and intelligence individuals but it’s more like; “I know what I have to do, you can’t tell me better what I already know.” And they do not want to put in that work which is required for them to move into this quadrant.

And this quadrant obviously is the one where I’m sure you would want your team to be, and the point that you need to understand here is that if a person is high on competence, but not willing to put in that hard work which is required, then they are still sitting in the Problem Child quadrant. Which is not a great place to be at, but if somebody is even 5.1 here and 5.1 here, the person is actually here which is your “Star.” Right? So they are competent and they can work hard and obviously the higher the levels, you have your superstars.

The Right Quadrant for You

Now what you want as a leader, or manager is you want your Problem Childs to become Stars, and you want your Work Horse people to move up and become stars as well. For Icebergs, now in terms of what you need to do for people who are sitting here, you need to do something dramatic. It’s about changing their environment, maybe the way they are sitting, maybe with whom they are sitting. It’s just shifting something so that it’s disruptive in that sense.

But if things are not changing, they are not improving – it’s exit. And it’s for you to then evaluate saying “Where did you go wrong in your recruitment process?” Something was not right, you didn’t evaluate the candidate properly and it should not happen often. It should be a one-off case actually, and the client that I was talking about – the team member was this. Very keen, very willing to work as hard as required, but not really moving up.

Now that person does not really require that nice motivational conversation, this person requires directive management – where you need to tell them where to channel their energies, their efforts, they need that direction because they are willing to do the hard work right?

For Problem Child, that’s an interesting one – the more you try to motivate them, the more they will find intelligent logics and reasons why they are not doing what they have to do. For them multiple things can be done, but I’ll just give you one thing. What you would need to tell them is basically you need to embarrass them into action. You need to shake them up by saying “Is this the best that you can do?” Because they get the message, and they don’t like that. Because in their mind, their benchmarks are quite high for themselves. And they don’t like to listen to that kind of statement, and either they will have a breakdown or a breakthrough. Most probably breakthrough, if you position that embarrassment into action strategically, and know when to do it and how to do it.

And obviously people who are here, they need to know that they are your stars. You need to tell them that you really value them, and whether it’s your training requirements, whether you’re guiding them properly, telling them to channel their energies – the idea is to keep moving them up.


So I hope that helps you to understand what inputs are required for who, and really putting your people here and helping your overall team to move in this quadrant because you know what the fact is, that your business is as good as your weakest link.

So with that, see below and you can find out more about what we do and also how we can help you and your team to perform at their best level, so that your business could achieve higher results.


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Business Reading: Know Your Values


The Values Factor is based on some great research done by Dr. John Demartini and I find that it really does unlock a lot of ways that you could be finding more fulfilment not only in your business, but in the rest of your life as well.

It contains a great questionnaire that I highly recommend you go through to help you highlight what is really important to you.

The rest of the book starts to explain why your values will help you achieve success. To me, this book also massively underlines that when you try to work with someone else – especially in a business context – you need to make sure you are conveying your values, but also putting them in the context of the other person’s values.

When you start understanding what drives the actions of your colleagues, or your customers, or your partner, you can really start to have very successful relationships in all areas of your life and business.

Have a plan to take steps towards fulfilling those values?

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When you understand your values, you then need to start looking at how your actions are taking you where you actually want to go.

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4 Decisions Every Business Owner Needs to Make


What separates good companies from great companies, and good managers from great managers is decision-making. It’s not just about making the right decision, when it is asked of you, but it’s about your ability to consistently make the right decisions, which will help your business reach its full potential.

Here are four key decisions that as a business owner, you need to be able to nail if you want to see your business grow.

Decide… on the right people to work with..

No company, whether it be a tech startup from Silicon Valley, or a multinational blue-chip company, can work towards growth without the right people.

Your employees are the engines that drive your organisation, and to grow, you need the right fuel to power that growth. It may seem like a given: when you are hiring new employees, hire the candidate who suits the position AND the company. Even though all managers and recruiters, know this ideal scenario, there may always be variables that hamper this ideal from becoming reality.

Often when business owners hire their team members, they do it in a haphazard way without any process. That was why we developed a 4-Hour Recruitment Process that helps business owners spend only 4 hours to hire a superstar.  

With this process, you may not find the right person in the first round. But since you have a process that you can follow – you can run it again easily to get new candidates in. 

Don’t try to  fill a position in as soon as possible – wait for the right person, not the first person.

The decision that you need to make here is to not settle for “good enough”.

Decide… where to establish your presence.

Especially in today’s fragmented marketplace across all industries, you need to make the crucial decision of what channels will be your main growth channels.

In 2016, businesses can’t be as broad and vague about their channel strategy as in the past. Trying to do a broad sweep will usually see you with small results across the board. Companies like ASOS and Kogan – which each have a laser focus on the online retail experience – are examples of how the simple decision of picking the right channel for your business can lead to growth.

Any company looking to grow cannot be all things to everyone, nor can it be present everywhere without spreading itself too thin.

The decision that you need to make here is to define your niche.

Decide… to stay the course in the face of failure.

If you want to see your company grow, you will need how to fail fast and fail right.  

A famous example of staying the course is J.K. Rowling, the author of the best-selling “Harry Potter” series. Before having Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone published, she was rejected by TWELVE other publishers. She chose to not give up at the first hurdle. She learned something from each rejection, improved her pitch and manuscript until she reached a winning formula.

Failure is never a reason to give up. Failure is a powerful tool that tells you what did not work, so that you can start moving towards what will work.

The decision you need to make here is to learn from every failure.

Decide… what your goals are.

All great business owners and managers are goal-driven people. However, it’s not just about simply making goals – it’s about setting the right goals, and creating a plan to achieve those goals. And sticking to it!

This may not be as straightforward as you may initially think. The best goals need to be realistic but ambitious, specific but flexible.

When Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook over a decade ago, he set it out to be a simple directory for university students to be able to network. Today Facebook is a social networking giant which boasts capabilities from gaming to e-commerce. From early on, Zuckerberg knew that Facebook could be something great, but needed to grow step-by-step.

Creating a step-by-step plan, setting milestones, and creating a structured growth strategy is what we do every quarter with our clients and special guests. Click here if you would like to learn more about the next Strategic Growth Intensives.

The decision you need to make here is to create tangible business goals and a definitive plan to take you from where you are now, to where you want to be.

These 4 decisions are not only key to creating a business that grows, but also key to helping you run a business with less stress and less time-wasting. Nail these 4 decisions and you will already be halfway towards achieving that next level of growth for your business.

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The Best Day to Start a New Hire

Induction is one of the most critical parts in the recruitment process. Ensuring that your new team member starts on the right footing is an important factor in retaining those superstars.

However, have you thought about which is the best day to start a new hire? What is the ideal day to ensure your induction plan leaves them well settled in?

Most business owners think Monday is the day – you start them in a fresh week. You may want to reconsider that after watching this…

Prefer to read rather than watch and listen? No problem – here’s everything I said in the video as text:

 Hi this is Shweta from The London Coaching Group. What I want to talk about today is what is the best day in the week to start your new hire. 


The Best Day to Start a New Hire…Monday?

Now what I noticed many times is business owners generally start their new hire on Monday – it’s the start of the week, so let’s make a new start. Now what generally happens is it might be you yourself have experienced that generally the first one or two days are probably planned, and then the rest of the day – you leave your new hire to an independent way of working. Hoping that the person will figure it out, and maybe that’s the best way of learning.

But at the same time, somewhere it’s playing on your mind that maybe you’re not doing justice for the first week of this new person. Somewhere you feel a little out of control, not knowing what exactly this person is up to, and whether you are getting the value against what you’re paying, or is this person learning to the right level? Will this person be up to the speed, and picking up the right kind of habits?

Induction of New Hires: Feeling Guilty or In Control?

From the new hire’s perspective, it’s possible that the person feels a little jaded, overwhelmed or unclear and really getting wrong first impressions and not sure about the decision. 

Now imagine a different scenario where you are in control, you know what this person is exactly doing over the next few days. This person is actually feeling all energised, very clear with the right induction, the right impressions, looking forward to the next week. And you’re not feeling guilty, you’re actually excited about the new decision of getting a new person on board.

Now I’m sure you would agree if there is this first scenario, versus the second scenario – and we need to make this change, we need to move more towards the feeling of positive control, feeling of positive induction, positive culture setting, the person getting energised.

So, the Best Day to Start a New Hire….

You need to do things slightly differently, and it’s a small tweak, a very simple one. But it will help you in a big way, and that simple tweak is that instead of starting your new people right at the start of the week, which is Monday. And therefore having a long week to take care of, I would strongly recommend that you start your new hires on Wednesday. 

That’s it, you start your new people on Wednesday. And as I just mentioned, the benefit is just three days – and in those three days, the person gets a real good feel of the overall company, the culture, the values. And you set some small tasks, and then pretty much from Monday onwards, they are ready to get into their role fully. In their mind they spent their first week, and now they are into the action mode, which is exactly what you would like to have.

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5 Cultural Differences Between Melbourne and London and their Impact on Business Coaching.


England and Australia have a long-term rivalry, especially when it comes to cricket. But there are other differences, cultural rebellions and strange idiosyncrasies that demarcate each nation’s identity, and which also influence their respective business worlds. Below we take a look at 5 of the most profound cultural differences and how they affect business coaching in both countries.

1. The BS Meter Vs. Mind Your P’s and Q’s

The difference in each nation’s culture may be typified (and stereotyped) by some of their respective popular male film stars. While the English temperament may be polite, stuttering, and gentlemanly – think Hugh Grant or Colin Firth – Australia’s film stars tend to be action heroes with a direct, physical and rough-around-the-edges charm – for example, Paul Hogan, Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe.

So if you are getting business coaching in Melbourne, you’d better be prepared for some direct and honest communication. While the business coaching in London may involve a little more tact, if an Australian thinks you are full of BS, they will probably let you know!

2. Put Another Snag on the Barbie Vs. City of No Sleep

In Australia, there is a big focus on work / life balance, and taking time out to “put another snag on the barbie,” despite the Australian reputation for getting into some “hard yakka”. A business coach in Melbourne is usually equally concerned about a client’s leisure time as opposed to their working hours.

A London business coach is often similarly called to help clients balance their home and work lives. However, they must face a greater challenge to help their clients maintain that balance due to the pace of the frenetic business world in London.

3. Australians and Drinking Vs. England’s Pub Culture

An English businessperson visiting Australia for the first time, may be pardoned for mistaking Australians as high-functioning alcoholics. While there seems to be more of a separation in England between work and play, in Melbourne it is common to do business over lunch and a couple of beers.

Australia’s egalitarian ethos would also be revealed in the coach-client relationship. Whereas in London the business coach is a respected expert and authority, a Melbourne-based coach may be more like a mentor or even a friendly paid confidante.

4. The Outlaw Vs. The Policeman

This may say something about the Australian character: their most famous Australian bushranger, Ned Kelly, is a national hero, despite stealing, killing and doing other dubious illegal activities during his lifetime. This is in contrast to England, where one of their most iconic cultural archetypes is the Policeman.

This is not to say that Australians are untrustworthy, just that trying to get an ‘outlaw’ to toe the line and listen to feedback or ‘rules’ laid down by a business coach can be somewhat challenging.

However, one of the advantages of being a young nation is that Australia is quick to adapt to new circumstances. The policeman, on the other hand, is typically enforcing older ideas and tried and tested ways of doing things which lead to greater stability and less risk taking.

5. Revenge of the Nerd Vs. The Popular City

Melbourne, unlike its older and more mainstream relative London, has a slight nerdy oddball quality. However, the creative character, fusion of international cultures and new ideas makes it inclusive, and receptive to new business developments.

In fact, Melbourne can lay claim to cultivating highly successful start-ups such as Envato, 99 Designs and Sitepoint. What’s more, Startup Genome ranked Melbourne amongst the top 25 start-up environments in the world.

Melbournians are inventive, innovative, curious and resourceful. They also have a penchant for rebelling, and labelling anything not to their taste as “Un-Australian”. This is a strange quirk of Australian culture, and perhaps part of the tall poppy syndrome. The English don’t brand undesirable behaviours by their compatriots as “Un-English”. In fact the very notion seems somewhat absurd!

With their “she’ll be right” attitude, perhaps in the past, less Australians would seek out business coaching, preferring instead to battle with their business challenges alone. However, this phenomenon is changing, with more Australians now willing to hire a business coach to improve their performance and be real competitors on the global stage.

The significance of cultural difference, even between countries that ostensibly speak the same language, is something that all business coaches in London, Melbourne or anywhere else in the world need to pay close attention to when helping business owners find their path to greater growth. Because we should remember that we are coaching business owners, not businesses.


This article was contributed by the Business Benchmark Group, one of Australia’s leading business coaching providers. Contact them today to help improve the business performance of your Australian team.


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