There are two important performance models at work in every organization:
- The highest performer – This is the model that management hopes everyone else is aspiring to emulate: “The Super-star”
- The lowest performer – This is the model that half the employees want to make sure that they are performing at a slightly higher level – “Good old Harry”
Why are these two models important? Here are some considerations:
The highest performing model: (the Super-star)
- These are the people who are usually selected for promotion
- They have higher performance appraisals with greater compensation and bonuses
- Expectations are set for all others based on their performance
- Standards are established for everyone else by way of their results
- Achievement-oriented workers tend to aspire to this level of performance
The lowest performing model: (Good old Harry)
- The lower performers think, “As long as I’m better than Harry, I’m safe!”
- The organization’s results will be impaired with too many Harry’s
- Once Harry is terminated, someone else becomes the next “Harry”
- How Harry is terminated is important to others. Lots of questions and uncertainty. Unexpected? Was there a “Deal”? A Timeline? Support? References?
- How was it communicated? Is he retired? “Spend more time with his family?” What’s the real message being sent by management?
So what does it all mean?
- Figure out which performance model track you’re on as perceived by management – Super-star or another Harry?
- If management allows too many Harry’s, more employees will gravitate to the lower model and will never be a Super-star. They give up trying.
- Some organizations, as a matter of practice, will cull the Harrys each year to purposely raise the standards and expectations of the remaining staff
- As more of the lower model employees are reduced in number, a new category is formed as a step just below Super-star, called “Star”.
- When you only have Stars and Super-stars, performance accelerates
- The more Stars and Super-stars the greater the organizational results
- If your function has Stars and Super-stars, but the corporation is not doing well, the top performers will leave. They will “fire” the company for a lack of performance and opportunity. Firing a company can accelerate an individual’s career somewhere else.
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