There is a long standing belief in business that people performance follows the Bell Curve (also called the Normal Distribution). This belief has been embedded in many business practices: performance appraisals, compensation models, and even how we get graded in school. (Remember "grading by the curve?")
Research shows that this statistical model, while easy to understand, does not accurately reflect the way people perform. As a result, HR departments and business leaders inadvertently create agonizing problems with employee performance and happiness.
Guilt and remorse are poor safeguards against cheating. In fact, according to recent Wharton research, people get a high from breaking the rules that has nothing to do with the tangible reward they are trying to attain.
Bob Corlett's insight:
Fascinating >> “Control systems to ensure people are working the correct number of hours, or doing the work they’re supposed to do instead of surfing the Internet – these may have the reverse effect. People perceive them as a challenge to overcome."
"...a key challenge to an employee rising up the organizational ranks is to find the proper balance between managment and leadership.
Management is intrinsically result-oriented. Managers develop work schedules, set goals and delegate responsibility. They are there to answer questions and to assist employees in completing their tasks. Their orientation is tactical and geared to solving problems...
Leadership, on the other hand, is more process-oriented. Just as important as meeting deadlines is how the group gets there. If a bottom-line goal is achieved without involving and developing the entire team, the organization will not be prepared to meet future challenges and changing circumstances.
.... A connected and aligned team is one that is constantly learning, and thus better able to adapt to unforeseen changes. While managers are more likely to be answering questions, a great leader routinely asks them. Their orientation is strategic rather than tactical, with an emphasis not so much on solving problems as on generating possibilities.
Bob Corlett's insight:
I like this useful distinction of asking questions versus answering them.
Failure is inevitable, so the key to success is to be good at learning from it. The ability to capitalize on hard-won experience is a hallmark of the greatest organizations — the ones that are most adept at turning knowledge into action, that are best at developing and implementing creative ideas, that engage in evidence-based (rather than faith- or fear-based) management, and that are populated with the best bosses.
Failure instructs. In fact, there is no learning without failure — and this includes failing at dangerous things like surgery and flying planes. Discovery of the moves that work well is always accompanied by discovery of moves that don't.
Most managers struggle against the flow of overly complex structures and systems and are often frustrated by an invisible force that undermines their attempts to affect positive change. Their instincts tell them that the organization’s culture and people are preventing them from getting the results they want, but “culture” remains one of the least understood aspects of organizational life. Organizational culture often acts like an Invisible Bureaucracy™ that frustrates and undermines effective business performance
Instead of throwing money at “superstars,” companies should use quantifiable measures to pick the right CEO, according to recent Wharton research.
Bob Corlett's insight:
This article is pure gold, with so many valuable points.. Among them:
The argument for phone interviews:
“The biggest shortcoming of executive recruitment, the researchers say, is the failure to apply “Meehl’s Rule:” Never meet a job candidate until you decide to make them an offer. The late Paul E. Meehl, a psychologist from the University of Minnesota, advised using relevant, quantifiable factors to judge candidates. Instead, height, body build, gender, accent and looks often get considered"
The argument for getting an award (as an employee) vs not believing it when hiring:
“The authors cite a study showing that CEOs who won awards in the press saw a marked increase in pay, while similar CEOs (runners- up for the awards) saw little increase. Three years later, there was a large gulf between what the winners and non-winners earned. However, the stocks of the firms controlled by the “superstars” actually underperformed compared to those of the firms run by the non-winners.”
Looking at job performance in context:
“Executives ... are often held personally responsible for the success or failure of the organizations they represent without consideration of external factors, such as the state of the economy. They point to a study in which CEOs of oil companies that performed strongly were compensated well, despite evidence that the profits resulted from fluctuations in the price of crude oil.”
Build your empire, one talented young person at a time.
Bob Corlett's insight:
"Sponsorship is about taking calculated risks. Why do it? Because...no one person can maintain both breadth and depth of knowledge across fields and functions. But she can put together a posse whose expertise is a quick IM away."
In a nutshell, why this is great advice for all leaders looking to build a stronger organization.
Leadership and management are very different skills. Yet most of the time, we expect corporate executives to wow us with their detail-oriented approach to management and then suddenly metamorphose into visionary leaders the moment they’re promoted. It doesn’t usually work out, says Annmarie Neal, the author of the forthcoming Leading from the Edge (ASTD Press, 2013).
A leader is somebody who sees opportunity and puts change in motion. A manager is somebody who follows that leader and sees how to structure things to create value for the company,” she says. “I’ve found that the best leaders weren’t really good managers.
Goals have counterproductive side effects. There's a better way to hold yourself accountable.
Bob Corlett's insight:
I have long resisted making New Year's rsolutions (or predictions). Peter Bregmans suggests that instead of identifying goals, consider identifying areas of focus. A goal defines an outcome you want to achieve; an area of focus establishes activities you want to spend your time doing. A goal is a result; an area of focus is a path. A goal points to a future you intend to reach; an area of focus settles you into the present.
Every one of us can do with an extra dose of humility and self-awareness to remind us that we're not always the insanely great business leaders, executives, managers and workers our oversized egos tell us we are. Along those lines, here are seven phrases you should learn to say -- and mean.
There are many background similarities between Ken Lay, former CEO of Enron, and Jim Owens, former CEO of Caterpillar Inc, but how they handled mistakes was quite different. Owens achieved numerous successes in large part by learning from his own mistakes as well as the mistakes of others, In 2001 Lay attempted to hide his mistakes and those of others and as a consequence went from the top of the charts to ending as one of the most catastrophically flawed leaders in US business history.
So why is it that we don't we embrace challenges and become accepting of mistakes, learning from them and ultimately growing from them? And if learning from mistakes has so much value, why is it taboo to even talk about mistakes in the context of business and leadership? The answers aren't hard to find.
How do you get leaders, employees, customers — and even yourself — to change behaviors? Executives can change strategy, products and processes until they're blue in the face, but real change doesn't take hold until people actually change what they do.
Here is a good list of 10 approaches that seem to work
Leaders accept and act on the paradox of power: you become more powerful when you give your own power away. Long before empowerment was written into the popular vocabulary, exemplary leaders understood how important it was for their constituents to feel strong, capable, and efficacious. Constituents who feel weak, incompetent, and insignificant will consistently underperform; they want to flee the organization and are ripe for disenchantment, even revolution.
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