Growing organisation seeks perfect employee to join the team for long-term relationship. Must be able to work in harmony with others, bring unique talents and experience and be keen to achieve massive success.
The hiring process begins. Your eyes meet across the interview room. There’s a spark between you. This candidate is good! When they speak you hear a choir of angels. They rise to the challenge of every test with poise and grace. And they have the experience to back up their claims of skill and success. Everyone agrees.
The decision is made. I love you. You’re perfect. You’re hired!
Then our story takes a more sinister turn. Very quickly your thoughts turn away from what you loved about them and what made them perfect. Now you’re seeing them through a very different lens. They slip easily into your performance management processes and you start to focus your attention on their weaknesses and how to fix them.
The love affair is over. Now change.
Lost are the opportunities to leverage the potential of the individual and bring it to fruition because now the emphasis has shifted and your attention is divided at best, and completely focused on the negatives at worst. You may be asking them to be something that they cannot be and do something that they will never do with any great flair.
Here are some assumptions:
- People have a preference for certain types of work activity
- And for working in certain ways
- During their careers they seek out opportunities to do the things they prefer
- As they practice these things they become more proficient
We can either create the conditions that allow them to use their preferences to great effect within the role they are engaged to perform OR we can disregard their preferences and tackle where they fall short.
If we do the latter then I believe we are setting ourselves, and our people up for failure as we attempt to bring everyone – up to or down to – the same level of mediocrity. And so, potential never comes to fruition!
The alternative is that we keep our attention firmly on what we loved about the person when we first met them and build them up to be awesome powerhouses of preference and performance!
This blog was inspired by the musical comedy of the same name and the fact that my business partner Kate Hargreaves is currently rehearsing for her part in a local theatre production of this very musical!
Bev Holden is half of The Clear Thinking Partnership. She’s been successfully leading teams at work and in the voluntary sector for more than 20 years.
With her business partner Kate Hargreaves, she designs and facilitates learning events and programmes for clients who are passionate about people and who want their people to think more clearly, act decisively, engage with their teams and realise their full potential. You can connect with Bev on Twitter and Linked In.