CategoriesSales Consulting

Don’t try to put in what was left out; instead draw out what was left in”

The Gallup Organization surveyed 2,500 business units. Positive answers to the 12 questions strongly correlated to better productivity, profitability, retention levels and customer ratings. Great managers routinely break all the rules. They take the conventional wisdom about human nature and managing people and turn it upside down. Managers as Catalysts. Managers are not Leaders. Great managers look inward, great leaders look outward.

The first key is to select employees based on talent rather than experience or intelligence. To do so, you must know what talent is necessary for the job. The best way to identify relevant talents is to study your best.

The authors define talent as “a recurring pattern of thought, feeling, or behavior that can be productively applied.”There are three basic types of talent: striving, thinking and relating talents. Striving talents explain the why of a person. Does he or she want to stand out, or is good enough good enough? Thinking talents explain the how of a person. Does he think linearly or does he or she strategize with “what if” games? Is he or she structured or does the person love surprises? Relating talents explain the who of a person. Whom does he or she trust, whom does he or she build relationships with? Does he love confrontation or avoid it?

The second key is to evaluate performance based on desired outcomes rather than direct control over the way a worker performs his or her job. Define the outcome and let each person find his or her own way to it. Let them find their path of least resistance. Resist the Temptation to Control, to create perfect people. “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Avoid the temptation to declare that your people don’t have enough talent. Don’t buy the belief that trust is precious and must be earned, be generous with it. Guard against the belief that some outcomes defy definition. Everything is measurable, it just takes more effort.

Rules of Thumb for turning talent into performance:

  1. All employees must follow safety and accuracy rules for everyone’s protection.
  2. Employees must follow required steps when they are a part of company or industry standards.
  3. Required steps are only useful if they don’t obscure the desired outcome.
  4. Steps don’t lead to customer satisfaction, but can only prevent dissatisfaction.

The third key to great management is to reject the conventional wisdom that people can be fixed. Focus on strength not on weaknesses. First, make sure each worker is in a role that uses his or her talents; casting is everything. Second, manage by exception. Don’t believe that fairness requires you to treat everyone alike. Act as if each worker is unique and give each what he or she needs to succeed. And finally, spend the most time with your best people. Don’t make the mistake of using averages to calculate performance. It is misleading and inefficient. In case of a Weakness either devise a support system to overcome the lack of talent, or find a compatible partner for him or her, or find an alternative role.

The fourth and final key is to find the right fit for your employees’ talents. Again, you will learn to avoid the conventional wisdom that promotion is the only just reward for high performance – mindset that creates an organization where everyone is ultimately promoted to their level of incompetence. One solution is to create pay plans that rely on broadbanding.

Execution requires Simplicity, Frequent interaction, focusing on the future and self-tracking (Goals & evaluations).

The Art of Tough Love

How do great managers terminate someone and still keep the relationship intact? Confront poor performance early. “Procrastination in the face of poor performance is a fool’s remedy.”

The Art of Interviewing for Talent

  1. Make sure the talent interview stands alone. The purpose is to see if the candidate’s recurring patterns of thought, feeling, and behavior match the job.
  2. Ask a few open-ended questions and then keep quiet. A person’s unaided response to an open-ended question is powerfully predictive.
  3. Listen for specifics. A talent will be illustrated with specific examples and experiences.
  4. Clues to talent. There may be an inclination towards certain activities. Analytical? Competitive?
  5. Know what to listen for. Pay careful attention to emotional responses such as “I really hate it when…” or “it really excites me to…”

Performance Management

How do great managers turn  the keys every day with every employee?

They follow a performance management routine. The common characteristics of this are:

  • The routine is simple. It comes in a simple format. No bureaucracy. No forms to fill out.
  • The routine forces frequent interaction between manager and employee. Ask how did a particular meeting make him feel?
  • The routine is focused on the future. What do you want to accomplish in the next few months? How can I help?
  • The routine asks the employee to keep track of his own performance and lessons learned.

Master Keys

What can the Company do to create a friendly climate for great managers?

Focus on the outcomes. The role of the Company is to identify the desired end. The role of the individual is to find the best means possible to achieve that end.  Strong companies become experts in the destination and give the individual the thrill of the journey.

  • Value world-class performance in every role.
  • Study your best managers.
  • Teach the 4 keys of great managers.

Gathering Force

“The intersection of two forces – each Company’s search for value and each individual’s search for identity – will change the corporate landscape forever.” World-class managers ride the momentum of these gathering forces by no longer trying to put in what was left out. Rather they work hard at drawing out what was left in


Annexure I: THE 12 QUESTIONS

  1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
  2. Do I have the equipment and material I need to do my work right?
  3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
  4. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for good work?
  5. Does my supervisor or someone at work seem to care about me as a person?
  6. Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
  7. At work, do my opinions seem to count?
  8. Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel my work is important?
  9. Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?
  10. Do I have a best friend at work?
  11. In the last six months, have I talked to someone about my progress?
  12. This last year, have I had opportunities at work to learn and grow?


Annexure II: Performance Management Meeting:

  1. What actions have you taken?
  2. What discoveries have you made?
  3. What partnerships have you built?
  4. What is your goal?
  5. What discoveries do you planning?
  6. What new partnerships are you hoping to build?