No Love For The Inept

Written by Phil Hall
on February 13, 2012 No Comments
Categories : Blog View

10913_3clowns No Love For The Inept BLOG VIEW: Some time ago, I worked with a pleasant guy who was utterly wrong for the job he was given. He routinely missed deadlines, and his work was either pockmarked with glaring mistakes or was of such a painfully mediocre nature that it was an embarrassment to witness the fruits of his labors. At one point, he screwed up so badly that he tried to put the blame for a major mistake on me – and, needless to say, I was not very happy to discover that he tried to give me credit for his error.

One might imagine that this person would have been a prime candidate for a pink slip. However, our employer routinely looked the other way in regard to his many failings. Indeed, the corporate hierarchy inexplicably did everything possible to work around the problem, to the point of dispatching a small army of co-workers to prop up this hopeless bumbler when he was supposed to be assuming a semi-leadership role.

I once ran my own business, and during that time, I had the unpleasant task of firing several people who could not do their jobs correctly. Unlike the happy proclamation of a certain billionaire presidential candidate, I don't like to fire people – I much prefer to help people get on the right track and tap their previously untouched talents. But, sometimes, hiring mistakes happen, and the wrong person gets a job – and even the mightiest of corporate alchemists cannot spin golden treasures out of such a leaden source.

Valentine's Day falls during this week, and if you really love your business, then you will give deeper thought to whether or not it makes sense to hold on to incompetent workers who will never be able to perform at the level of excellence that your company requires. Of course, that is predicated on whether your company actually requires excellence from its staff.

Stop and ask yourself: What would you rather have your workforce generate, results or excuses? If your workforce's output is heavy on excuses and slim on results, there is a problem that needs to be fixed immediately.

Quality control has been a major concern for this industry, but the focus has been almost entirely on the operational aspect of the mortgage banking process rather than on the people who are actually doing the job. I believe that many of the problems that helped to derail the mortgage banking industry during the previous decade cannot be blamed on greed and intentional chicanery. Instead, I would put the blame on old-fashioned incompetence – the wrong people were at the helm at too many companies, and their inability to do their jobs correctly resulted in a lethal skein of astonishingly bad decisions that resulted in the fiasco we are still trying to put behind us.

Now, please don't take this as a battle cry to grab all of your in-house bumblers by their collars and immediately send them flinging skyward out the nearest exit. Instead, take the time to examine which members of your staff are not pulling their proverbial weight and try to determine how to best solve their problems. With patience and support, time can be your ally, and shortcomings can be overcome.

But if all of the mentoring and hands-on assistance fail to produce measurable results, the unpleasant task of disconnecting a worker from the job needs to be considered. Now, more than ever, this industry – indeed, all industries within this still-fragile economy – requires only the best and the brightest giving their all. Really, you cannot expect first-rate corporate results with a third-rate workforce.

– Phil Hall, editor, MortgageOrb

(Please address all comments regarding this opinion column to hallp@zackin.com.)

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