In the Results section of the book, The Speed of Trust, there was some parallelism between what I’ve been learning with Leadership IQ in regards to having employees who get results and live the values of the organization and those that do not.
In Leadership IQ, the “live the values” spectrum is based on good vs bad attitude and having results is equivalent to skills, but the idea is the same. There are high performers who get results or have great skills, live the values, and have a good attitude. They’re very easy to manage. Then there are the low performers who don’t get results or don’t have great skills, don’t live the values, and don’t have a good attitude. They’re easy to let go.
But as I mentioned in my blog post on Providing Feedback, there is another group of people who have the high skills and get results but have the bad attitude or don’t live by the values of the organization that are the most difficult. Leadership IQ calls them the “Talented Terrors.” Both Leadership IQ and The Speed of Trust say that even though this group of people is good at what they do, if they do not change their attitude or begin to follow the company values, they’ll begin to erode the credibility and trust of the organization. No matter how much money they bring into your company, if they are a Terrible Terror and don’t change their ways, you’ll find that your company will actually benefit from their removal.
There is a fourth group of people that Leadership IQ calls the “Bless Their Hearts.” These people live the values of the company and have the best attitudes, but they are terrible at what they’re doing. This makes me think of another book I read (and it’s on my reading list again since it’s been more than five years and it was wonderful) called Good to Great. The premise of the book is that when building your organization you need to think about building it as if you were putting people on a bus. You have to decide which people belong on your bus, and what seat on the bus they should be sitting in. Then you can figure out where the bus can go.
For the Bless Their Hearts, they may be a wonderful person on your bus, but may not be on the right seat. Or they may need more training in order to excel in that seat. Since you brought them on, you have to determine your own tolerance and capability for training or moving that person around to different seats on the bus to find something that works. Sometimes it is worth it; sometimes it is not. As the leader of your organization, you have to have a good think on it.
I recall that at a place I worked before, the primary role was for hunters to find new business. They were almost the entire team. Then, there were only a couple of people that were considered the gatherers; they handled clients that came to us for businesses, or they were small enough (non-profits) that they needed more nurturing and support.
The tricky part was that the expectation of the gatherer was that after so much time, they would be promoted to a “hunter” role. The couple of people that I witnessed this happen to didn’t last very long in the new position. It was hard for them. They were fantastic at gathering and nurturing, but didn’t have the stomach for the hunt. It was kind of a shame to see them struggle and eventually leave.
Sometimes people moving around the seats on the bus can help them become better at the new jobs they have. At my current main gig, lateral moves to different departments are encouraged. While quite a lot of people have been here for more than ten years (some more than twenty!), some have had more than five different actual jobs here! Heck, I haven’t been here for two years yet and I’m on my second. And I think the experience I had at my last seat on the bus made me a better fit for this new seat.
Speaking of fit…Another teaser about Strength Finders (really, the post will come soon, I promise), is that my top five strengths FIT THIS NEW JOB PERFECTLY. Actually, if my life were a bus, I would be in the perfect seat and on a perfect trajectory. Full-time job, part-time hustle, all of the boards I’m on… This bus seems to be in perfect alignment. My mantras are paying off (eventual blog post on what those are is also coming soon)!