Meritocracy or Mediocrity?
I came across a quote recently from Perry Belcher that nicely captures an enduring organizational truth: “Nothing will kill a great employee faster than watching you tolerate a bad one.” Makes me wonder if there really is a valid reason to accept sub-standard performers.
Granted, top performers are not easy to find. The competition for talent is compelling and shows no sign of relenting. While they may come with certain expectations (compensation is among them but not the only one), the positive impact the right employees can have on other members of the team can be compelling and leads to superior organizational results.
Where to begin? Well, a good place to start is by writing down the specific traits, qualities, experiences, and behaviors you are looking for. This basic step is often overlooked, even at the highest level of organizational searches.
As a Board member of a state-wide business association, I was asked to join the search committee charged with finding a suitable replacement for the long-term and retiring CEO. My first question was a simple one: “What are we looking for?” My question was met with stares from the committee members. Finally, one responded, “A CEO.” Well, I know what the position title is, but what are the relevant characteristics, traits, experiences, and leadership style that would serve the organization now and in the near-term future?
If this pre-work is left undone, what results is more of a reaction than a selection. That is, the group reacts to what they see and hear during the interview process and bases their decision on that alone. Better to compare the input they get against a pre-determined standard for the position, including the items names above.
Top performers (“A” players) are worth looking for and, with very few exceptions, worth waiting for.
For more information on getting started on your pathway to improved organizational performance, contact me at email@example.com.
Joseph P. Truncale, Ph.D., CAE, is the Founder and Principal of Alexander Joseph Associates, a privately held consultancy specializing in executive business advisory services with clients throughout the graphic communications industry.
Joe spent 30 years with NAPL, including 11 years as President and CEO. He is an adjunct professor at NYU teaching graduate courses in Executive Leadership; Financial Management and Analysis; Finance for Marketing Decisions; and Leadership: The C Suite Perspective. He may be reached at Joe@ajstrategy.com. Phone or text: (201) 394-8160.