Few question the wisdom of Jim Collins’ prescription to “get the right people on the bus, the right people in the right seats, and the wrong people off the bus.”  (Good to Great, Harper Business, 2001). The debate is about timing and emphasis in moving on the people.

Almost every experienced CEO that has addressed the CEO Connection’s CEO Boot Camps since 2005 has answered the question, “What do you wish you’d done differently?” with “I wish I’d moved faster on people.” As people onboard into new roles, they need to evaluate people on their teams and move on them with all due speed. It may be useful to think about people in five buckets those you should:

1) Keep on the bus in the same seats

2) Move to different seats on the bus

3) Move to a different bus

4) Get off any bus

5) Run over with the bus

Keep on the bus in the same seats

These are the “A” players with the right strengths, motivation and fit for the seats they’re in. Feed these people. Keep them motivated to continue doing the good things they’re doing.

Move to different seats on the bus

Often good people are in the wrong seats. Moving them to better positions can free them up to become the “A” players they should be.

Move to a different bus

This is the first of three ways to get people off the bus. Moving people to a different bus is appropriate when they can make a contribution – just not on the bus they’re on. Help them get to a good place for themselves and for the organization.

Get off any bus

This move is appropriate for people that cannot make a contribution to the industry they’re in. They need to find a different mode of transportation.  (Think spacecraft with a one-way ticket to some place very far away.)

Run over with the bus

Obviously, this is the harshest prescription, reserved for people that not only cannot make a contribution in their seats, on the bus, on different busses, or on any bus, but do harm. These people need to be made to go away in a way that they won’t come back, ever.

If you’re the leader onboarding into a new job, figure out and move on your people with all due speed.  If you’re helping someone onboard into a new job, help them figure this out and move with all due speed.

(Note this was originally published by the Human Capital Institute.  I cut and pasted it here.  Since I’m the original author, I authorized myself to plagiarize it.  That’s Ok.  Isn’t it?)

George Bradt – PrimeGenesis Executive Onboarding and Transition Acceleration