• Jonathan Bullock

‘Pruning’ is a natural in all high-performance teams



Developing a high-performing workforce is an ambitious, meaningful, and attainable goal, but takes hands-on management and occasionally making tough calls.


Building a successful team requires acquiring or maintaining elite talent, recognizing team members who lack the competencies, habits, or performance to continue on the team, and discussing their role in the future.

When is pruning necessary

Team members, in my opinion, should be coached out of a business when they exhibit a pattern of preventing others from doing or achieving results, contribute to good team members leaving, discourage others from true healthy teamwork, show a lack of willingness to be flexible and adaptable, do not get on board fully with contributing to organizational objectives or undermine the workplace environment through trash talk, harassment, or other inappropriate behavior. Some of these behaviors can of course lead to a faster path to the door than others.

How to get around to doing it

It is critical to establish individual objectives and expectations that align with your overall aims. If you have scaled to the size where you have a formal performance management process that’s a great start. You then need to do the hard yards of management and make tough calls when need to prune your team. And that isn’t always easy, but is a critical part of talent management imho.

TAKEAWAY: Development plans, active coaching and if needed active team pruning is a complex but crucial stage in creating any high-performing team. It will deliver significant motivation if done right while also allowing for long-term sustainability.


It takes discipline and attention to carry to do talent management well, especially if it ultimately means people leaving the business. However this is what is required to achieve excellence.


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