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Are You Teaching a Fish to Climb?

Show of hands, how many of you have had an employee you really like? I’m talking about that dream employee, nice to everyone, shows up on time, hard worker, always willing to help others and the list goes on. They are wonderful, right? Only one problem, this dream employee is failing at their job! Your mentoring is failing!


Now let me ask the question again. How many of you have wasted countless hours of time and money trying to help an employee you really like to “fit” into their job, only to fail?


Me! Me! Pick Me! Yep, I have done exactly that. You really like the person and their work ethic, but they aren’t successful. So, you try to take them under your wing. They fail. You try again. And so, the cycle continues.


Why not look at things differently. I heard a saying a few years back that stuck, “Ask a fish to climb a tree and they will fail every time.” Why? Why are we trying to teach a fish to climb? Are we afraid that we have failed them if they don’t? It’s frustrating for both the employee and for us.


We want to be good mentors. To do that we need to recognize when we have a fish, and instead of teaching it to climb, we need to teach them to swim. Teach them to be the best, most amazing swimmers they can be. Teach them to swim, even when they didn’t know they even liked the water.


What does that mean for your team or organization? It could take your team to new levels! It could mean you lose a team member, but your organization soars. It could mean you have to part ways with a resource you hate to lose. Mentoring the wrong person for the role isn’t going to change the result.


But, oh, what you have gained? Loyalty, this person will continue to be amazing for someone else . . but they will always remember the great gift you gave them. They will always be there to help you. You truly never know how high a career can soar when you learn to teach a fish to swim!


So, tell me, do you have any fish? Call us and we can help! We can help you sort out the fish and get them into the right stream. CoreTech Revolution does team building as part of our COREPurpose – evaluating teams and talent.