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Got a minute? If you're a busy manager, that's about all you have. That's why Carla Cross, management coach, speaker, and author, has created this blog just for you, with ready-to-use tips to master management through people.

Two Tips to Figure Out Who to Retain–and Who Goes


Hiring and firing is not a ‘black or white’ issue. There are many shades of gray. I know. I managed almost two decades. We become friends with our agents. They rely on us. We rely on them. In some cases, we become almost moms and dads to them. It becomes a very dependent environment. No one wants to disrupt it. However, you are running a business–not a social welfare state. 

Use This Analytical Tool to Evaluate Your Agents

Let’s recognize that not all the value, or, to some of us, even half the value of our agents is in their ability to close sales. In other words, your top producer may not be your most desired agent. There are other valued assets they bring to the table, like: 

Uphold the culture

Provide mentoring

Create stability in the office

Team player

Longevity and consistency 

What are yours? Write them down.  (Use 4-6 values). 

Now, give each one of these values a possible rating of 0 to 4 (4 being highest). Finally, evaluate each of your agents with each of your important values.  For example, let’s say you are evaluating your top producer. In the production value, that producer would get a “4”. But, let’s say that top producer isn’t much of a team player, and you’ve evaluated her as a “1”. When you’re through evaluating that agent, add all the numbers to get a cumulative number. 

Name Production rating Culture rating Mentoring rating Total
Sally Production/4 Culture/3 Mentoring/3 10
Joe Production/0 Culture/1 Mentoring/0 1


Leadership group idea: If you work with a leadership group, ask them to evaluate those in your office you’re unsure of. You may be amazed! 

What’s Your Agent’s Real Value to Your Office? 

Now, you have evaluated each agent on all the values you feel are important to the success of your company. To see how they stack up, make a list of them, starting with the agent who scored the highest cumulative number. This evaluation process will give you a very different picture of who your best producers are—and who your worst office associates are. 

Bottom-Line Questions to Ask Yourself  

I know it’s very difficult to terminate people. In fact, one manager asked me to advise him on how to do a ‘graceful termination.’ Really, behind termination anxiety lurks these questions. They need to be answered for you, as leader, to take the actions that your good agents are expecting from you: 

Can an agent be a noteworthy negative to your reaching your goals?

Can an agent actually provide substantial energy against your culture?

What’s Joe’s value to you?

Can this value be quantified in a business sense?

What are you getting personally out of keeping Joe?

 What are your next actions?

 Why are you avoiding what you need to do?

Don’t you deserve more than Joe is giving you?

How does Joe feel now? Does Joe deserve an environment where he can win?

Make a Plan of Action* 

 It could be to get Joe into production within a certain time period, or help him find a better career fit for himself. It could be to help Joe into that new career right now. I’ll bet Joe is just waiting to see what you will do. After all, you’re the leader…. 

Win a Copy of My New Book 

Would you like to win a copy of my new 4th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days, the new agent’s start-up plan? It’s not even on the shelves yet. Just go to my Facebook business page and enter the contest (win a book).

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