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Tool #7 – Any Sandbaggers on Your Team? By George Hedley

Golfers who pad their handicap are often called sandbaggers. They keep their handicap artifi cially high so they get a few extra strokes from their opponents when playing match play. The term ‘sandbagger’ comes from the concept of fi lling your golf bag with some sand so it’s heavier than normal, causing you to get tired and not play up to your potential. To keep their handicaps comfortably higher than they should be, sandbaggers do little things like missing short putts on purpose when they don’t need to sink them to win a hole. And then when they need to win an important match, they take the sand out of their bag and play their best. Not an honest way to play. Business owners and managers have lots

of things to do every day to keep their ball rolling toward the target. They often get overloaded and don’t take enough time to do everything perfectly as they know they should. After a while, they get in the habit of doing things the easy or fastest way and take shortcuts to get things done. This reduces their bottom line net results. Think of the little things in your business you know you should do to play your best game every day. When you don’t follow sound business principles, added costs, small problems or costly mistakes add up and sig- nifi cantly weigh you down. This drags your bottom line lower than it could be. For example, when you keep poor employees

on your payroll too long or continually use the same supplier without getting other bids, you are sav- ing time but costing yourself money. When you continue working for bad customers rather than seeking new ones or not taking the time to focus on collecting your receivables fast, you’re saving time and losing small amounts of money that add up sig- nifi cantly. When you do extra work without signed change orders or only offer what is on the plans and

specifi cations to get awarded jobs, you are saving time while not maximizing your bottom line. Whether you’re too busy, stressed out or

overloaded, you have many options and choices available to do a better job or make more money. Here is another tool to help you get out of the rough, back on the fairway, make more putts and play up to your full potential all the time. This will help you get the unnecessary sand out of your bag and increase your bank account.

Clean out the dead wood! Who on your crew or staff causes you the most

grief, doesn’t do a good job or has a bad attitude? These poor performers are infi ltrating everyone on your team and bringing them down. Poor perform- ers should be cleaned out, fi red and removed fast. Think of employees as trees in the forest. When they die, run out of life or stop growing, they become dead wood. Dead wood gets in the way, is a fi re hazard, and causes you to trip or fall as you move forward. When you let the dead wood remain, you tolerate bad performance. When you don’t remove or clean out dead wood, other employees have to put up with them, work around them, cover for them and make excuses for them. Additionally, your good employees lose respect for a boss who won’t do what’s right in a timely man- ner and accepts less than the best from his people. I know you’re too busy to get rid of the dead

wood employees and fi nd some new people to do a better job. I know you can’t fi nd any good help. But, by doing nothing and walking by poor perform- ers, you’re avoiding tough decisions and losing more money than you can imagine. One dead tree can reduce your crew effi ciency by as much as 25 percent. Make a list of your employees and rate them on the skills you need them to have to be ef-

fi cient and profi cient in their duties. Also rate their attitude, teamwork and aptitude. And rate them on their desire to take on more accountability, respon- sibility and leadership. Through this process, you’ll discover your valuable employees, those who can improve and those who shouldn’t work for you. Who knows? You might also fi nd that a few ‘old- timers’ or relatives are not on your ‘keep’ list. It’s not your fault that as many as 10 to 20

percent of your employees might not be the right fi t or suited to work for you or your company. You shouldn’t feel bad about realizing that not everyone you hired was the right employee to work for you. You did your best hiring them. But some people eventually didn’t fi t the required job description or aspire to excellence in your com- pany’s environment. In other words, a few of your employees are working at the wrong place. It is not good for them or you, and they need to move on and fi nd a place where they’ll contribute in a positive way. Feel good about cleaning out the dead wood. It’s good for you, your employees and those who’ll be leaving your company. So get out your axe and trim out the dead wood. Then make it your priority to fi nd positive people who’ll make your company a better place.

George Hedley is a licensed professional business coach, popular professional speaker and author of “Get Your Business to Work!” available at his on- line bookstore. He works with contractors to build profi table growing companies. To request your free copy of “Profi t 101 For Contractors,” sign up for his free monthly e-newsletter, hire Hedley to speak, be part of his ongoing BIZCOACH program, or take a class at Hardhat BIZSCHOOL online university, visit or email


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