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Recognizing and Managing Exceptional, Average and Underperforming Individuals


There is a group of us who generally swim 3-5 times a week for about 20 to 40 minutes each. We know each other’s habits, are courteous in allowing faster swimmers to pass when we have to swim in circles and swim about the same speed.

The other day we were joined by one faster swimmer and one slower swimmer who disrupted a smooth-running system. It reminded me of how organizations frequently face trouble in dealing with exceptional, average and let’s say challenged participants. Specifically, the faster swimmer simply was intolerant of our poor performance.

This also relates to organizations and the fact that we sometimes forget all participants aren’t created equal, Specifically,

How do we get the most out of exceptional people and how to support exceptional people to understand we are not all exceptional?

How do we get average people to do better and not sabotage great performers?

How do we support poor performing participants people or realize maybe they need to be replaced?

Related: Goals: Doing Is More Important Than How You Do It

Related: Risk and Failure Can Be Keys to Success

My own view is we makes some common errors. First, we assume everyone is equal and fail to recognize strengths and weaknesses in our groups. Second, we really don’t maximize the potential of talented people and focus to much on their disruptive eccentricities (the best example is Steve Jobs being fired from Apple). Finally, we fail to recognize poor performers and either support or replace them.

What are your thoughts and do you have some good examples of managing the issue

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