A manager who attended my seminar in Augusta, Georgia, asked how
many chances a new employee should get.
We all know people who’ve given kids, spouses and friends so
many chances to stop screwing up that it eventually became a
The answer to how many chances a new employee should get doesn’t
lie in a number, it lies in your judgment.
Continue giving chances only as long as you believe:
1. He’s capable of succeeding.
2. He’s giving 100% in his efforts to succeed.
3. Your investment will pay off within a reasonable amount of
The first condition is a deal breaker. Good intentions and all
the motivation in the world aren't enough when an employee is in
over his head (which is where the Peter Principle comes in).
Assuming he is capable of doing the job, he must be
willing to work hard enough to succeed. You can't succeed for someone
else (although many managers have tried and ended up regretting
Assuming the first two conditions are met, you’ll have to make
the call on the third.
Most people will eventually come around.
The question isn't whether they'll get with the program,
You can’t afford to invest the time it would take to get
some people up to speed.
Letting someone sit on the sideline while he learns in hopes of
a future payback is what college football teams do when they red
shirt a freshman quarterback who's committed to four more
You don't have that luxury as a manager. We pay our employees
for what they do today, not for future potential.
The minute you decide a new hire is going to take more time
than you can afford to invest in him, cut your
losses and move on.
To Your Success,
P.S. No matter how many chances you give him, it's
normal to question whether you gave him enough. Go with your gut
instinct and don't second guess yourself. Managers are far more
likely to be guilty of putting off the inevitable too long, than
pulling the trigger prematurely.
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