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Transforming Your Team For Future Success: Why Removing Anchors and Bandits is Crucial

In the diverse landscape of a professional firm, understanding the nature of your employees is key to fostering a thriving work environment. By using the simplistic outline below, it can be easy to quickly identify who is contributing the most to your team. While ‘puppies’ and ‘stars’ contribute positively, two types often pose significant challenges: ‘anchors’ and ‘bandits.’


These employees have low core values and skills, contributing nothing but draining resources. Their presence can demoralize dedicated team members and impede growth. Removing ‘anchors’ is essential because they:

  1. Drain Resources: They consume time and energy without contributing to the firm’s goals.
  2. Lower Morale: Their lack of contribution and commitment can demoralize others.
  3. Impede Progress: They can slow down projects and hinder the development of more promising team members.


Although skilled, their low core values negatively influence the team. They may produce results, but at the cost of the team’s integrity and cohesion. Here’s why transitioning away from ‘bandits’ is vital:

  1. Infect Team Culture: Bandits can corrupt the work environment, leading others astray.
  2. Risk to Reputation: Their questionable ethics can harm your firm’s reputation.
  3. Short-term Gains, Long-term Losses: They might deliver now, but their approach can lead to significant problems down the line.

Action Steps For Anchors and Bandits

  1. Identify and Address: Regularly assess your team to identify these types. Once identified, take appropriate action.
  2. Invest in Training: For those with potential, like ‘puppies’, invest in training to develop their skills and align their values with the firm’s.
  3. Foster a Positive Culture: Promote a culture where high core values and skills are recognized and rewarded.

Who Do You Need On Your Team?


High Core Values, High Skills, High Contributors


  • Exceptional Performers: Stars excel in their roles and consistently deliver high-quality work.
  • Positive Influence: They inspire and empower team members, elevating the entire team’s performance.

Managing Stars:

  1. Empowerment: Give them autonomy and challenging projects to keep them engaged.
  2. Recognition and Reward: Acknowledge their contributions to motivate and retain them.
  3. Leadership Roles: Utilize their skills and values to mentor others and lead by example.


High Core Values, Lower Skills, Trainable


  • Eager to Learn: Puppies possess a willingness to grow and adapt.
  • Aligned with Core Values: They share the firm’s ethos, making them ideal for nurturing a positive culture.

Managing Puppies:

  1. Invest in Training: Provide skill development opportunities to enhance their capabilities.
  2. Mentorship Programs: Pair them with more experienced employees (‘stars’) for guidance.
  3. Monitor Progress: Regularly assess their development and provide constructive feedback.

The Importance of Balancing the Team

Fostering Growth

Encourage puppies to grow into stars through training and mentorship.

Phase Out Negatives

Gradually remove anchors and manage out bandits, replacing them with more positive influences.

Culture of Excellence

By focusing on nurturing puppies and leveraging the strengths of stars, you can create a culture of excellence and integrity.

Final Thoughts

In managing your firm, recognize the value and potential of each employee type. By strategically developing puppies into stars and reducing the influence of anchors and bandits, you create a more robust, productive, and positive work environment. This approach not only enhances immediate productivity but also sets the stage for sustainable long-term success and a strong, value-driven company culture.

Remember, the path to a successful future lies not just in immediate results but in building a team aligned with your firm’s core values and long-term vision. Let’s work towards a future where every team member is not just a contributor but a champion of your firm’s ethos.