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“Irresponsibility is not cured” – how to assemble a team with the right mindset


Why does the company have employees who systematically do not fulfill plans and fall short of the required level? And what to do with such workers? About how “mouse thinking” leads to a drop in the performance of the entire company, we talked with Oleg Afanasyev and Nikolai Inyakhin, founders of the Interim Business Association (USA, Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan).

Together with the Interim Business Association, we continue the rubric “Management of the company in times of change”… This section is published weekly on Wednesday. In them you will find useful information and practical advice on management.
You can find out if your company needs help in organizing more effective management right now using express diagnostics through a special bot or by going through diagnostics on the website.

Is it about plans or people?

– Once an acquaintance invited me to the final quarterly meeting of the representative office of an international company, which he headed. There, four regional managers, one after the other, reported on the implementation of regional sales plans. And each of them showed a 15-20% lag behind the sales plan.

Oleg Afanasyev Founder of the Interim Business Association
Oleg Afanasiev
Founder of the international organization of interim managers Interim Business Association
Nikolay Inyakhin, founder of Interim Management Group, co-founder and head of the Board of the international organization of interim managers Interim Business Association.
Nikolay Inyakhin
Co-founder of the international organization of interim managers Interim Business Association

After the presentations, the director of the representative office asked them all one question: “Why the plans have not been fulfilled?” To which they answered in unison: “Because the goals were unrealistic.”

Then my friend said: “Good. Draw me the goals for the next quarter right now that you think are realistic. ” Each of the managers presented such indicators.

The director looked at the plans and said, “Okay. I’ll sell the rest myself. Everybody’s Free”.When the results of the next quarter were summed up, the situation repeated itself – again the plans were not fulfilled by 15-20%.

What, in fact, is the matter: in plans or in people? The answer was obvious: in people.

What is wrong with people?

Most often, the problem lies in the level of responsibility and its interaction with goals. I distinguish three types of people:

1. Irresponsible. Their level of responsibility is always below their goals. They fall short of the planned indicators and have a bunch of excuses why they could not. Ultimately we called them “whiners.”

Here is a typical scenario of their behavior, leading to nowhere:

Click to enlarge.  Photo: company archive
Click to enlarge. Photo: company archive

2. Responsible… Their level of responsibility is always equal to or higher than their goals. They fulfill their goals at least 100%. We call them – “good fellows”.

Their typical behavior scenario looks like this:

Click to enlarge.  Photo: company archive
Click to enlarge. Photo: company archive

3. Overproductive. Their level of responsibility is always higher than their goals. They overfulfill their plans because they do not want to be “like everyone else”, they want to be the best. We call them “superheroes” – by analogy with the films of the American corporation Marvel Entertainment.

Their typical behavior scenario looks like this:

Click to enlarge.  Photo: company archive
Click to enlarge. Photo: company archive

Thinking of a “mouse” or an ambitious person – what determines the type of employee?

Let’s take a look at how the mindset of different types of employees works. It is it that determines how the employee achieves the set goals.


Irresponsible employees – with a “mouse” mindset. They are characterized by the following beliefs:

  • I am irreplaceable
  • I won’t get fired anyway
  • Last time “gave a ride “, which means that now it will pass
  • Fuck this company and its weakling leader!

Responsible employees – with the mindset of normal people. They think in the following categories:

  • This is my job
  • I must do my job well so as not to lose
  • I respect the company for the opportunity to make money
  • I respect my leader and do not want to let him down

Overperforming employees – with an ambitious mindset. They are characterized by the following attitudes:

  • I came here to be the best
  • I disagree for less
  • I want career growth and broad prospects in this company
  • I want to purposefully increase my income
  • I expect the company to create appropriate conditions, including payroll
  • I am grateful to the company for the opportunity for self-realization and real growth prospects

We see a direct relationship between thinking, behavior and performance. Understanding this gives us the opportunity to put everything in its place:

  1. Get rid of the whiners immediately because they are incorrigible.
  2. To recruit people who are responsible, able to take care of themselves and the company.

It is necessary to fire the irresponsible, no matter how painful it is. It is better to do this environmentally, so as not to cause immediate damage to the company with your harsh actions.


Here is the optimal course of action:

  • Find irresponsible people in the team
  • Find a replacement and hire as helpers for the irresponsible
  • Give new employees 2-3 months to integrate into the work process and master the mechanisms of action and information fields
  • Say goodbye to the irresponsible and work with the “fellows”.

It is imperative for managers to learn how to substitute so that they never again become dependent on the “irreplaceable”.

The same task can be significantly helped by the development of “activity maps”, first for critical, and then for all positions in the company. These “activity maps” need to include regular tasks and algorithms for their implementation, which are already being successfully performed by employees. It is this work that allows, by structuring the experience of the latter, to create training programs for new employees for their faster introduction into work.

Knowledge, separated from its bearers, makes the company immune to blackmail from the indispensable.

How to identify the irresponsible in the team?

In order to calculate irresponsible “whiners” employees, it is necessary to carry out certification of personnel. We propose to consider the mechanism of “instant appraisal”, which helps to quickly and soberly assess employees.

The main measure of evaluation here is “performance” – the basis of business prosperity.

Photo: company archive
Photo: company archive

After we have figured out the “whiners”, you need to understand that they are incorrigible. And there is a scientific explanation for this.

Why can’t irresponsibility be cured?

In psychology, there is such a thing as “locus of control”. It characterizes the personality trait to attribute its successes or failures only to internal or only external factors.

They share an external locus of control – when a person sees the influence of only external factors, and an internal one – if a person concentrates only on his own participation as a result.


For example, if a student received an unsatisfactory mark, then, having external localization of control, he will blame external factors: “Guests came to my parents and distracted me from doing my homework,” “The assignment was poorly written on the blackboard,” etc. And having an inner one – on the inner ones: “I did not have time to properly prepare for the subject”, “I could not find a solution to the problem”, “This subject is not interesting to me”, etc.

Internal locus of controlExternal locus of control
Look to the future, look at the world through the prism of positiveThey constantly return to the past, do not get joy from their life
They regard difficulties as additional life experience, see them as an opportunity to change, become betterThey are afraid of failures, shun something new, unknown, do not know how to analyze mistakes and correct them
In any circumstances, they adhere to their own opinionNot able to defend their views
Set goals, have planning skills, work for resultsIrresponsible, delay solving problems to the last, do not like to plan, stop acting at the first setbacks
They devote a lot of time to work, they are ready to sacrifice entertainment and rest for itLive one day, constantly feel helpless
They know that the future will be bright, full of good events, bright colorsSee their future as uninteresting
For them, time flies very quickly, because they are passionate about their work.Time for them drags on
Appreciate every minuteThey do not know how to organize themselves, manage their time correctly
They value themselves as a person. They expect good things for themselves: good luck, victories, love, etc.Not confident in themselves, they believe that they will not get anything good in the future

Do not try to correct, persuade, or re-educate the whiners. You will not change their external locus of control. Do not waste time, effort and money on persuasion. Get on with the more rewarding job of finding replacements for them and preparing them to be environmentally retired and fired.

If you don’t “clean up” the company today, it will “die” tomorrow.

People with dull eyes are those who are not interested in what they are doing. That is why they grumble and infect others with the “virus” of their disbelief in the company, destroying the most important engine of high performance – enthusiasm. Their disinterest in the growth of the company’s results decomposes the team and, over time, turns it into “psychological dust” of “Ivanov” who do not believe in anything, disillusioned with themselves, with life and the company.

I, of course, exaggerate in order to show in contrasts how dangerous it is to put up with the “wrong” people in the company. But you can look at the situation from the other side: free irresponsible employees from yourself – and, perhaps, in another company they will find a better place.

In any case, it is their personal choice to be losers or winners. You have nothing to do with it.Take care of the “social and psychological” bed of your company with love, do not let it overgrow the “weeds” of irresponsible, indifferent people, because if their critical mass outweighs, then the consequences for the future fate of the business may be irreversible.

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Fidenge Pecold

My profession is a journalist, but my hobby for 8 years has been studying Forex investing and trading. During this time, I managed to gain extensive experience in investing and trading cryptocurrencies and double my capital in the Forex market. To be the author of this magazine, the site owners invited me to participate in one of the 2020 trading webinars, and I will try to reveal the most relevant crypto market news for you.

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