The Real Deal New York

Barbara Corcoran on axing subpar sales staff

“Moving least productive people out" important as new talent, Corcoran founder says

April 09, 2014 04:05PM

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Barbara Corcoran

Barbara Corcoran

For Corcoran Group founder Barbara Corcoran, the key to keeping a healthy and happy sales team was to shave the bottom 25 percent of her sales force every year.

If the bottom quarter of her sales crew weren’t hacking it, Corcoran wrote in a recent LinkedIn article titled “Shoot the Dogs Early,” she and then-partner Esther Kaplan wouldn’t be able to support the firm’s top sales people “who were making all the money.”

“Moving our least productive people out and on their way to new careers was as important a part of my job as recruiting new talent, and I knew the faster I did it the better it was for everyone.”

Corcoran’s strategy was to extend a last-minute invitation to employees who fell under the ax, such as “Would you have five minutes for me on Friday?” She also wrote that she made a point to have another manager at her side for moral support.

Such firings would begin with commendation for things the employee did well, recognizing his or her best traits so that the following critique would be easier to swallow, Corcoran wrote.

“I think giving complete and truthful information allows the individual to leave with his self-esteem intact, so I make that my number-one goal,” the Shark Tank investor wrote.

The process wasn’t always painful for her, however. When it came to cutting “chronic complainers,” she relished the occasion.

“Nothing rots a business faster than a cluster of negative people, so I get them out fast,” she wrote. [LinkedIn]Julie Strickland

  • Jay More

    Even GE did away with forced ranking!

  • LT

    This recap totally misses the awful tone of her piece on linkedin.

  • Char4Dew

    Barbara is a sweetheart, and smart.

  • Oouch

    Barbara is a poster girl (old girl) for much of what is not good in our business. The record of lawsuits, injunctions, and adverse findings by the government against Corcoran for misleading and discriminatory housing practices over the years is an indication of how little value this individual has imparted to those who work for her. I sympathize with her learning disabilities and admire her ability to compensate for her inability to articulate or absorb large amounts of information. However, her insecure desire to impose that standard upon our industry has not been to its benefit, or to hers. She should have faded gently into Palm Beach and let well enough alone. She is an open invitation to more and more intrusive regulation of our industry because of the foolishness of what she espouses and falsely represents as values and ethics that the better of us wouldn’t touch with gloves and a ten foot pole. She is neither sweet, nor smart. A cunning yenta with a neanderthal press agent from the age of what makes Sammy run is more like it.

    • Former Corcoran-ite

      Keep in mind Barbara has not owned the company or really had any say in it since 2002 so all the current problems are due to those in charge now. She ran a good and tight ship while there and since the company is all about the CEO’s vanity and looking over her shoulder to see what Elliman and BHS are doing.

  • Oouch

    P.S. I have never worked for Corcoran, and never would. But, I have sat with BC over the years and have always found it to be an unpleasant and uninformative experience.

  • Took the money and ran…

    Barbara Corcoran sold out in 2001.
    Barbara must have NOT believed in the other 75% of her staff either since Barbara axed herself, took the pay off and ran for the hills.

    • forevermetal

      such a low pay off too. At that point in time their had sales of $2.2BB and she only received, what, $65MM for Corcoran.

  • Oouch

    Beg to differ, there were several adverse judgments that publicly pilloried Corcoran for deceptive and discriminatory sales practices while still under Babs riding her pony at the Chelsea Piers. The practices were ‘bred in the bone’ and corporate culture of Corcoran, which continued to run afoul of the law as the corker went off into the sweet delerium tremens of an overly verbal retirement.

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