When you are dealing with under performers, once thing that you often find is lacking is accountability. They will find every reason outside of themselves why they aren’t getting the results they are supposed to be getting. They seldom take responsibility for what is really happening.

A tool that I find really useful is to look at cause and effect. This is a belief and principle that looks at:


How responsible are you for your life?


Cause                                     Effect


Either we are at effect and can respond in a negative way or we can be at cause and chose a reaction that is more useful for us which in turn will create better results.



“Your team does a lot of work – but they could do better. “ 

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Imagine a spectrum with cause at the once end and effect at the other end. For an underperformer they will normally be at effect. They believe that they don’t have any control over what is happening – they are at the mercy of their candidates and clients. This is not a comfortable place to be, feeling out of control. They will give excuses, reasons and justifications as to why they are not performing. Some classic examples of excuses given would be:

  • The candidate didn’t turn up for interview
  • I ran out of time to do my business development
  • I couldn’t negotiate a higher fee because all the other agencies had agreed 12%

Because underperformers believe that they are being affected by circumstances out with their control, they think they have no control or responsibility over their results.

At the other end of the spectrum is the thinking that we are at the cause of results. We create everything in our universe, whether it’s something that we want or not.  When we are at cause of our results, we take full responsibility for what happens.  If it’s something that we don’t want or like; because we have created it, we can un-create and re-create at will.  Ultimately, it’s how we chose to respond to situations that affect our results. At cause people don’t make excuses, they find another way to respond that’s more useful to them and therefore tend to get better results.

Let’s consider how this may apply to underperformers.

If they are at cause they may acknowledge that they are under performing. They may even recognize that the reason for that is because they lost a placement to another company. But it doesn’t matter, because if they are responsible for reaching our targets then they accept that loss and move on.  They respond by taking positive action and finding other jobs to fill to meet target.



“Your team does a lot of work – but they could do better. “ 

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In recruitment manager training I challenge people. Are you as a manager at cause or are you at effect? Are your team at cause or at effect?  If you are at effect, you can change this in a heart beat.  If you team are at effect, help them to cause and be responsibility for their results.

This principle is life changing if you grasp it and when you do, of cause and effect is one of the most important accountability tools I know!  Imagine how results would change if your team were at cause?

I hope you found this article useful.

If you want to learn how to set up your business, so that it stops under-performance once and for all, then join my free webinar:  The 5 Secrets Our Clients Use to Build 7 & 8 Figure Recruitment Businesses