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3 Strike Rule: When and How to Use It

Written by Randy Taussig on April 25, 2019

Accountability Management Solving Issues

when to fire a problem employeeOne key factor in managing people is to provide clear expectations around their roles and responsibilities. This builds the accountability that leads to results.

The 3-Strike Rule is a process for evaluation and action when an employee is not performing up to standards. It offers the feedback needed to help them get on track and set some clear consequences if they don’t.

Using the People Analyzer

The 3-Strike Rule should only come into play after making an objective assessment of what specific people issues exist. Though “job performance” is a key factor, the character and behaviors of your people are just as important.

The People Analyzer is the perfect tool to help sort things out. Companies running on EOS have all solidified their Core Values, which helps provide an objective assessment of the most important values that must be shared by all of your people.

The People Analyzer is a simple tool that helps you determine if you have all the right people (share your Core Values) in the right seats (GWC their jobs) and ultimately whether you need to apply the 3-Strike Rule.

Here’s how the 3-Strike Rule works:

Strike One: Meet with your employee to address your concerns, get their input and agree on what needs specific attention. Don’t leave this meeting until you have clearly articulated what needs to change and document what has been agreed upon, then meet again in 30 days (get it on the calendar) to review results.

Strike Two: Meet again to review the required actions from the Strike One Meeting. If these actions were not met, try to understand what happened and identify any remaining issues. Put any feedback in writing to avoid any misunderstandings. Agree and document again on the desired change/outcome and schedule to meet in another 30-days to confirm resolution.

Strike Three: If by this time the employee has not rectified the issue, it’s simply time for them to exit the company. They’re clearly not the right person (core values fit) or in the right seat (GWC) or both. After 3 strikes, they’re out!

Strike three will rarely occur because most employees have made corrections by strike two or they have self-selected out because it’s too uncomfortable to continue in an environment where they are held accountable.

Experience with the 3-Strike Rule

Frankly, most entrepreneurs fly by the seat of their pants when addressing performance issues. But those who embrace a simple process like the 3-Strike Rule commonly experience reduced turnover and a more satisfied workforce.

An Integrator from one of my client teams fought hard against implementing a formal process, stating “every situation is different.” After many quarters of “unique” people issues, his team convinced him to adopt the 3-Strike Rule. Two quarters later he and his team reported that overall employee morale was up (measured by the Engagement Multiplier) and that an employee who had been a problem for over a year, quit shortly after the second strike. The clarity of the process helped provide swift results.

The 3-Strike Rule is a simple process for addressing people issues before they blow out of control. It provides clear guidance for managers and employees, and helps reinforce a culture of excellence.

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