Sunday, January 07, 2007


Yesterday was fairly non-productive. I think I was still recovering from the red eye thrusday night. I fly out again tonight to the CES show in Las Vegas. Although the day was non-productive, I did get a lot of busy work done like catching up on email, clearing my desk, paying bills etc. So that should clear it for a high productivity day today.

I finished re-reading a book this morning called "Topgrading - how Leading Companies Win by hiring, Coaching and keeping the Best People" by Bradford Smart. The thesis of the book is great companies always look to upgrade their people and that a top 10%er can way out perform someone less.

One challenge I have with the book is it is never black and white. Most people have some good and some challenge areas. I also suggest that we can never truly grade people due to the complexity. This is the problem with most incentive systems. By nature they are short term and therefore wrong. The only true performance should be measured over a decade or decades. A quarter or a month is a ridiculously short time to try to measure performance on.

I also think it is crazy to think companies can figure out in advance who will truly be their top performers. I do agree that past performace can be an indicator but companies vary tremendously so it has to be a mix of the person with the company and environment.

One area that I need to up my game in is coaching. I can likely get good returns by investing more here. At the same time as I write this, I have concerns that coaching can be arrogant. I have seen many leaders not add value by meddling in other peoples' areas. Just because someone is a leader does not mean they know how someone else should do their job.

My belief is the success of people is largely determined by the company. Great companies set themselves up to maximize talent and build themselves to take advantage of each individuals' unique gifts.

And of course while reading it, I cannot help but think how I can make myself into one of the top 10 percenters. I have now added this to my goal list and will be charting a plan.

Overall it is a good thought provoking book even though I disagree with some of the theories he expounds.


At 10:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


As usual, you are very thoughtful and don't take everything at face value, just because it appeared in print. I commented (and congratulated you) earlier on not succumbing to the prevailing short term view of most things. I definitely agree that individual performance (achievement, perhaps?) can only be evaluated on the longer term.

As for your coaching aspirations: It seems to me that very few leaders are good coaches. I believe, that a good leader should "coach" primarily by example. Also, by being a great enabler and by just being there to help solve the problems.

I also read somewhere: You can't teach anybody anything, unless (s)he wants to learn.

At 5:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. The key, I think, is to ensure that your strengths overwhelm your weaknesses in your work.

Most people work on their weaknesses to get better. Methinks it should be working on their strengths.

Good post, Jim, thanks...


At 6:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jim,
Some years ago I would have looked at your site and passed it off as psycho-babble. Since enrolling in Network 21's personal development and business training system, I can now better understand, and applaud, your attitude and approach to empowering people to produce their best. People don't always just work for money; recognition is more important!

Knowledge, with action, is power!

Best regards,

Mike Jozefiak


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