A few years ago a national retailer, after analysis of its worst performing stores, decided to close the worst of the worst. On that list was a store that had it baffled. It was a good location in a good trade area with plenty of traffic and great visibility. But, it continually lagged behind other stores in the system.
The plan was to close the store which would've resulted in over 100 people losing their jobs. In a last ditch effort to turn things around, the company decided to place one of its top managers in the store. Within several weeks it was making steady progress, delaying the decision to close it. Within a few months, it was one of the top performers in the system. Amazingly, there had been little turnover and no incremental cost involved.
The manager was recognized for his outstanding achievement and was asked how he had accomplished the feat. His reply was that he simply asked each employee whether he or she was a "box person" or a "people person". He explained that a box person is well organized, and great at keeping things in their place. A people person enjoys engaging customers and meeting their needs. He then focused the Box folks on stocking and the People folks on selling. No cross-training, retraining, pizza parties, pep talks or incentives were needed.
This is a great example of letting people play to their strengths. He simply aligned their tasks with what they loved to do and what they were great at doing. Is there a lesson in here for your organization?