5 Signs and Strategies When Working With Someone Who Doesn’t Have Their Stuff Together

 In Blog, Business-Faith Congruence

frustrated-businesswomanWe’ve all been there – delivering a sub-par product or service to our customers. Sometimes it’s due to overwhelm, ignorance, or growing faster than you can keep up with the business.

As Christians, we’re in the business of giving people a second chance. You know, the forgive and forget thing.

But if you’ve made a bad hire or had a disastrous contract work arrangement, you know there are some situations that go beyond just a learning curve or making a mistake here or there. If that’s the case, you’re likely dealing with someone who doesn’t have their “stuff” together.

Here are the five red flags the person you are dealing with doesn’t have their stuff together and what to do about it:

1. Lack of personal responsibility

People you don’t want to do business with won’t acknowledge when they make a mistake. Somehow they turn the situation back on you. You end up frustrated about whatever went wrong regarding the task they were supposed to do, but also irritated to the core because the person won’t acknowledge any wrongdoing.

STRATEGY: Look for virtue first before skills when hiring vendors, contract workers or employees. A person with virtue is teachable. A skilled person who knows it all and is a victim to every situation that isn’t working can take your business down if you don’t’ get a handle on it sooner rather than later.

2. You feel stressed when dealing with them

A good hire and a win-win outsourcing arrangement should relieve your stress, not create more.  A good employee should pay for him or herself within a month or two and you should be able to see the ROI on any outsourcing investment you make.  Often the person’s undone work on themselves and their business gets transferred to you when you work closely with them.

STRATEGY: Pay attention to your gut and cut your losses sooner rather than later. You are not in business to help someone work through personal issues. You are there to make a profit. Being stressed out hurts, not helps the value you are trying to offer your paying customers.

3. Foggy expectations

In these relationships you may have been sloppy in setting expectations around the work you want done or have done a poor job of following up with the task or project once you’ve assigned it. You may have slide into this business relationship or hire with someone you knew and been more casual than you normally would.

STRATEGY: It is never too late to have the “expectations talk”. Find out what this person expects from you and clarify what you expect of them. Own where you’ve fallen, but be direct about where reality is not meeting the expectations when it comes to their work. Set clear timelines of when things need to be done and to what standard. Be ready to make a move if you are not where you need to be by the time you’ve specified.

4. Boundary issues

Poor boundaries often accompany sub-par work, and people with happy customers and good reputations typically have great boundaries. Poor or non-existent boundaries or lack of boundaries are predictors of more problems to come.

STRATEGY: Set your own boundaries on what you will and will not tolerate. Communicate that and take decisive action quickly.

5. Bad results

Unfinished or sloppy work is also a clue of someone not having their stuff together.

STRATEGY: Compare the quality of the finished product with what you require. Be clear about any shortfalls. Take reasonable corrective action. If there still is no improvement, cut your losses and terminate the relationship as quickly as you can. No one likes the anxiety, stress, and negative pre-occupation that arises when someone you are trying to conduct business with simply is not up to the task. It is not “un-Christian” to be honest and take necessary actions.

Often it is because this person has been enabled or the business propped up that has perpetuated the problem for them. Your clarity may be the catalyst for the person to get genuine help in getting their “stuff” together for the future.


Christian Entrepreneur on Fire Biz and Life Tip: Even for Christian business owners, one of the primary purposes of having a business is to make a profit because that allows you to provide the best value for your customers, so don’t feel guilty about making needed changes to keep your business healthy and strong.


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