My name is Caitlin Bacher, founder and CEO of Scale With Success®, and I’m on a mission to help course creators all over the world grow their business in a way that is profitable and scalable. We are sharing revealing conversations about what it really takes to scale an online course business to millions of dollars per year. Join us here to discover the tough decisions we’ve had to make, the biggest failures we’ve had to bounce back from, and the learnings that emerged every step of the way. We are so grateful that we have the chance to share it all with you right here on Scale With Success®: The Podcast Built for Course Creators™. Let’s get started.
How do I know when it’s time to let a team member go? So, there’s a few steps to this, and I want to go over each step individually, but the very first step is that when it comes to letting go of a team member, you want to take the emotion out of it as much as possible. It’s really, really difficult if you have someone on your team that you get along with really well, but perhaps you should let them go, but it’s very difficult. It becomes very emotional and that kind of clouds your judgment and things like that. And so you want to make sure that you’re using data for this. So step number one is you want to communicate to them the specific goal. You have to define it for them and communicate it. So if they’ve been producing work that is not helping the company achieve the desired result, then you need to clearly communicate with them what specifically it is that you want them to improve.
So for example, “I want you to complete X that increases or decreases Y% by Z date.” So an example of that could be, “I want you to publish five Instagram videos that increase our engagement by 33% by October 1st.” So the deadline might be 30 days, it might be 60 days, it might be 90 days, whatever, but you want to give them a specific goal because most of the people that are on your team that you are unhappy with, they do not know that you’re unhappy with them. And if they do know that you’re unhappy with them, they have no clue why? Because they’re like, “Well, I’m doing the work. I’m producing the Instagram videos, right? I’m publishing five Instagram videos every single week. I’m doing what I’m supposed to do.” But what they may not be getting clear on is whatever task they have to do, it needs to be producing a specific result.
And so it’s up to you to communicate what that result is, right? You might say, “Yeah, our engagement rate right now is 10%. I want to increase it to 13% over the next 30 days.” That gives them a way to see for themselves whether they’re on track or off track, because then when they post those five videos and they are at like 8%, then they’re like, “Oh my God. Wow, I’m really off track here. I need to figure out a different way to do these videos.” So it’s really, really important that you are as specific as possible as to what you are looking for. The second step is just like in client success, it’s you need to have a feedback mechanism for your team member so that you can check on that. Because if the goal is 30 days from now or 60 days from now, you can’t just not meet with them and then meet with them in the 30 days, and then be like, “Okay, well, you didn’t do it. So this isn’t going to work out,” right? You have to be able to coach them… To give it your best shot to coach them to achieve that specific result. And so the reason why we have these processes in place like these regular recurring meetings, like the weekly one on one. Having a weekly one on means that they are accountable for proposing solutions to you. And so for you, if you are saying, “Well, you know what? Your goal is to increase engagement by 33%. How did that go? Here’s some ideas.” No, no, no. You’re not going to do that. You need to tell them, “These one-on-one meetings are for you. My expectation is that you are going to come to each weekly one-on-one with the data that shows whether you are on track or off track.
My expectation is that if you are off track that, you are also coming to that meeting with at least three solutions that you would like to propose as well as a recommended solution. So you might give me three options, but I want you to have an idea of which one you’re leaning towards.” What that is doing is teaching them how to be proactive. Let me know if you’ve ever been in this situation where you are hunting down information, right? You’re like, “Okay, I gave you this goal. I told you need to do this. Have you done it? Have you done it?” And then you’re having to go look up the data yourself, and you’re like, “This person is way off. Why haven’t they brought it up?” That’s because you have, haven’t defined that clear expectation. “My expectation for you is that you are going to come to this weekly one on one with this data.
You need to have it ready to go, ready to report,” right? They’re reporting to you. So it’s written down and you’re asking them, “Okay, what’s the data?” They tell it to you, you write it down. “Okay. What are the recommendations?” They deliver the recommendations, right? And so they are accountable for it. You’re not accountable for doing the work for them, you’re accountable for coaching them. So if they’re like, “Ah, I have these three different solutions, but I’m not sure which one to do, or I have these three solutions and this is the one I’m leaning towards, but I’m not sure. I need your input.” And then you can give it, and you can coach them through that. The second kind of feedback mechanism is a daily data report. So sometimes hearing someone on a weekly basis, sometimes they need to get even more ahead of the data, right?
They need to be even more proactive. So in that case, again, what you don’t want to do is hunt them down every day and say like, “Oh, what’s going on here or there or whatever.” Or look over their shoulder and look over every single thing that they’re doing. You want to create a feedback mechanism that they are accountable for. So you can set up a private slack channel where it’s just you and that person and nobody else can see it or join it. And the only thing that they’re using… They’re not using the Slack channel to ask questions. They’re only using it to report on data. This is a forcing function that makes them need to look at their numbers every single day. Now, if the numbers that you’re shooting for, if they don’t change a lot day to day, then that’s not necessary.
But a daily data report maybe it’s leads, right? If someone on your team is responsible for generating 10 leads every day from Instagram DM, then every day they need to report that in the Slack channel. Tuesday – seven leads, Wednesday – five leads, Thursday – three leads. And what’s that doing? It’s building a habit for them. It’s teaching them that they are looking at the numbers every single day. Then at that one-on-one meeting the following week, then you can look through and say, well… And you can use that as a teachable moment. When you see the numbers start to go down each week, what’s going through your head if they’re like, “Well, I’m panicking or I need to figure it out.” And then you can say, “Well, it’s really important that you asked for help. So if you see something is not going a certain way, let’s figure out a way that you can get the help that you need or why you think it’s not working or whatever it is.”
But both of those feedback mechanisms are very different than you just feeling frustrated and looking over their shoulder and all of that.
So the third step is that you want to review progress toward desired result and identify the cause. So at the end of 30 days, whatever… In step number one, it says, “Complete X that increases or decreases Y% by Z date.” Whatever that end date is, you’re going to review the progress towards the desired result. Now, I say progress because sometimes it takes a couple weeks for someone to get going again. And so it might be that during that feedback process, they were able to identify, “This is what I was supposed to be doing and actually wasn’t doing it the right way. So now I know the right way to do it.” And then they’re able to build momentum, right?
So at the very minimum, you should be seeing progress. They should be producing whether it’s a lower percentage or a higher percentage, that number should be moving in the right direction, right? It shouldn’t be the same. If it’s the same, that’s not good. And so you need to review that progress and figure out what is the cause, right? So is it that it’s the right person, but they’re in the wrong seat? Are you like, “Man, this person is so motivated. They were so proactive, da, da, da, da, da, but the result is flat.. there was no improvement for the result.” If that’s someone that you want to keep in the company and you’re like, “You know what? I’ve determined that this is actually not the best role for them. What they’re really good at is client communication or email communication or whatever is.” And if you have another position in your company that’s available, that is more suited to their talents, you can move them over to that.
But only if you actually have that position available, right? So you don’t need to create something new for that person that actually has no benefit to your company but that you’re like, “Well, they would really excel here.” It’s like, “Okay, well, it has to be beneficial to your company as well, so you can continue to pay them.” So it might be a case of right person wrong seat. If it’s the wrong person, that means that they’re… The core values are just off. If they’re not in alignment with the core values, then it’s just like, no. No matter which position you put them in in the company, if they’re not in alignment with your core values, then you just have to let them go. And so what this does is it takes out a lot of the emotion.
It gives the person insight so that if you do have to let them go, they’re like, oh. They’re not going to be happy with it, but you will have something to point to, right? You can say like, “This is what I needed you to do, and unfortunately, progress wasn’t made so you’re not able to stay here and we need to let you go.” When you think about letting someone go or determining whether or not it’s time to let someone go in this way, what is most helpful about doing it in this way? So what’s most helpful about making sure that you are number one, defining and communicating the specific goal, number two, building out the feedback mechanism so you can track, see if they’re on track or off track to meet the goal and you can coach them to success, and number three, you review progress toward desired result and identify the cause?
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