Is your company full of three-legged dogs?

Handicapped pug dog with wheels

You might have seen the most exotic dog breeds at K9 Answers Dog Training, but have you ever seen a three-legged dog? There is a reason people say, “I love it like a three-legged dog.”

You love the three-legged dog because it’s man’s best friend and we’ll consult with you about training your puppy. It is full of joy, it makes you smile. You might even feel a little sorry it only has three legs. But the dog has no idea it has three legs. You probably even wondered, like me: what the heck happened to the other leg?

Do you have three-legged dogs in your company?
This may seem like an odd comparison but it got me to thinking. Organizations have a lot of three-legged dogs. These are individuals that make you wonder: What the heck happened? How did they get a job here? How do they get to keep their job? We may love these individuals. We may feel sorry for them or we may even be a little bit disgusted with them for various reasons.

In Dando’s Right Idea, Wrong Person matrix (get this free resource delivered to your inbox), we call three-legged dogs, “The Wonder.”  We call them “The Wonder” because you spend most of your time wondering “What the heck do you do here?”

Do you have the right team?
This post from is about more than comparing employees to a three-legged dog. It’s about getting to the ground truth about the types of players you need to grow vs. the type of players you actually have on your team. The Dando Right Idea, Wrong Person matrix makes you take an authentic, eyes-wide-open look at the people on your team. It makes you think clearly about the apparatuses you may be building to make three-legged dogs look like million-dollar quarter horses.

No one ever argues it takes the right person to get the job done. However, when it comes to selecting, promoting and reviewing employees, we fail. We get it right about ⅓ of the time, about ⅓ of the time it is mediocre and about ⅓ of time it is bad. There is no other place in business we tolerate such poor performance as we do in the selection and promotion of the people who hired to help us meet our big, hairy audacious goals.

How do we help the three-legged dogs?
Feeling sorry for the three-legged dog doesn’t help it become a four-legged dog. Feeling sorry for the “Wonder” on your team not only hurts the employee, it hurts the “Rock Stars” around the employee.

That’s why it’s important to help all members of the team grow and be accountable, even the three-legged dogs. While it sounds funny, the three-legged dogs (“The Wonder”) could easily chase away the Rock Stars.

The great news is, no matter how difficult your situation is, you don’t have to wonder about what to do with the “Wonder.” They can grow, or go.

People decisions are the some of the toughest decisions you have to make as a leader. When you do make the tough decisions or have the tough conversations, you’ll feel relief, confidence and swagger.



There are Rock Stars, Team Players, Wonders and Brilliant Jerks in every organization. (Download the free Dando Right Idea, Wrong Person Matrix now


People decisions and discussions can be some of the most difficult you have to make as a leader.


Realize that not everyone is created equal. Be clear about your expectations. First, do this by being honest to yourself and second, be honest with others.



  1. Pingback: Do you have a wrong person in a key position?

  2. Pingback: The Brilliant Jerk: What to do with A High Performer with a Bad Attitude

Leave a Comment