Whenever I hear that an organization lowers the expectation of a key job function because the person in that role cannot do the job, I want to scream….just stop it! Resist the temptation. You are failing the person and the organization. Rather than lower expectations, try clarifying expectations, provide training, coaching, mentoring, and support your employee to do the stretch job. They may surprise you with their show of strength, new approaches and uniqueness. What happens when the job description is rewritten to a lower standard, is that the person misses an opportunity to learn and be challenged. You just let them off the hook and the organization loses because the mediocracy that you now tolerate will become contagious in the organization.
As an executive coach, I witness this pattern too many times. Next time you are tempted to lower your expectations, give support to the person. Aim high. Show them you believe in them. Describe in detail what great performance looks like. Give them a buddy, encourage that they seek help in the organization, introduce them to others who can give them support. Give them more of your time, give them more specificity in your expectations. Then, if they still fall short, despite your efforts, you can put someone in the job who can succeed. What you do with the non- performer is another blog post topic deserving attention, but do not lower your expectations and give in to a reduced job responsibility. Instead, put someone in the role who can do it and will respond well to the challenge.