The CEO had a couple of remarks opening the strategy session with his Leadership Team. He asked his audience which systems and procedures they had in place to identify low performers. It went quiet for a second or two and then someone offered: ‘Wrong question?’
The CEO pauzed for a second and then repeated the question, a bit louder and obviously ignoring the guy in the back. ‘Which systems and procedures do you have in place to identify low performers?’ Again the same guy offered: ‘Wrong question?’
This time he got his boss’s full attention who, looking annoyed, asked: ‘What do you mean?’
‘How many low performers would we say we have, on average’, the guy asked. His peers, all of them leading large chunks of the company, quickly decided on about 7%. ‘Well’, the guy said, ‘by concentrating on systems to effectively identify this very small group we are submitting the rest of our people, 93 %, to unnecessary hassle. We will not get the best out of them!
Let’s consider concentrating on how best to facilitate the 93% and trust we will spot the 7% along the way’.