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Submitted by m76 on



I've had a DR I've been struggling with for a while and I've recently been told it's time for them to go (decision has seemingly been made much higher up than myself).

BLUF for all the high Ds:

  • He does his job as required, but no more
  • On being introduced to change, he'll identify every possible problem, but no solution
  • He's a longstanding team member in a very comfortable zone of doing familiar work
  • I've been told it's time for him to go, but local laws mean he is entitled to ask for a PIP be implemented

Through feedback and coaching - and a blunt warning that he is seriously putting his job at risk - I have seen some small improvement over the last few weeks.  It's taken nearly 18 months to get traction on any kind of self-driven professional development.  The recent traction came after I advised that he has to achieve something substantial in order to make up for his lack of progress.

So, I'm preparing a PIP now.  I have some specific elements included, some of which have been feedback items in the past.  What I'm finding it hard to capture is more generic elements - eg. 'initiative'.  Last week he baulked at a corporate strategy with 2-3 roadblocks.  I pointed out that his job was to solve most of these and we discussed ideas on how to move forward.  It's a recurring pattern, and it's the one I've had most difficulty in trying to shake.

It could be that a PIP by itself will be enough of a motivator (the threat is now "real") to step up; it could also be that he'll simply accept a severance offer in order to avoid stepping further out of his comfort zone than I've already pushed.  In any case - I need to start capturing some of these more generic elements in a PIP, and I'd love to hear advice from others that have tried this.



Chris Zeller's picture
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Hi M,

Much here depends on how you position things. It sounds as if successful completion of the most thorough PIP may not be enough to save this person's job. If that's true, then you need to explicitly state that at the time of delivery.

You don't want to be in the position of having to terminate him after succesful completion or having to spend your own political capital to save an underperformer.

As far as capturing generic elements, the best recommendation I can give is to think of examples that lead you to those conclusions. When was the last time that you were left with the generic impression that he "lacked initiative?"

Now replay those scenarios and focus on the specfic behaviors that he engaged (or failed to engage) in and build the PIP around those behaviors. Where you can, try to quantify things with metrics and deadlines. That makes it easier to evaluate the success or failure of his ability to complete the PIP.

Question: Are you able to present severance options at the same time that you present the PIP?