Does comparing result in high performance?
I was talking with a friend and she mentioned how common it is in our culture to expect ‘comparison’ to result in high performance. We see this everywhere – home, work and especially schools. We compare our children to one another and to some standard academic measurement which often has no context or greater purpose.
This paradigm, of determining a ‘standard’ and comparing ourselves to it does little to improve performance. It simply tells us whether we have reached the standard or not. The reality is found in one of my favourite wisdom teachings:
We are uniquely and wonderfully made
If no two people are alike then we are comparing apples with oranges – not apples and apples.
Am I saying we shouldn’t strive to measure our progress – No.
We need to take time to know each individual (child, student or employee). Understanding their uniqueness and determining a customised growth path. This means discarding the cookie cutter approach and building meaningful relationships.
So what determines high performance?
Employers spend much time and money to attract the ‘best’, those who have met the standard. This may not be the most effective way of recruiting;
Alternative Science reported that ICI conducted an internal audit in their paint laboratory and found “…the fewer scientific qualifications the staff possessed, the greater the number of patents they had contributed to. In the most striking case of all, the person who had contributed to most ICI’s patents had no scientific qualifications at all.”
Findings like these beg the question – if academic qualifications or intellect are not the best determinant of high performance what is?
Evidence shoes that Personality is a better predictor of success than intelligence. This is at the heart of harnessing our uniqueness. When Passion, Experience and Gifts (PEG), converge anything is possible!
How can I harness uniqueness as a leader?
As leaders we must look beyond the standard and move away from simple comparisons. We need to ‘see’ what’s behind the qualifications and ask “who is this person and what unique attributes would they bring to our team?”. This requires a different kind of interviewer, a different kind of recruitment process. One where:
who you are is more important than what you have done.
If we want to get the best out of our current team – we need to focus on who they are and what they bring (individually and collectively), rather than focusing on their areas of development. Why waste time and energy trying to make an apple an orange or vice versa. Much better to help people see who they are, their talents, passion, purpose, and align their work with these strengths. We all know how motivating it is to feel in our ‘flow’ and this leads to greater productivity. Too often we have square pegs in round holes.
As a leader developing your coaching ability will help you to truly connect with your team, know who they are and what they bring. Creating quality conversations is far more powerful than simply measuring performance.
If you want to know and understand your uniqueness contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on +1 664 496 1740 and ask about our Lead Life Intentionally coaching package.
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