This post is part of the 📖 Nine Lies About Work series.
Today, I started reading the LIE #6: People can reliably rate other people chapter of book Nine Lies About Work written by Authors Marcus Buckingham & Ashley Goodall.
There are some big lies, distortions, faulty assumptions, wrong thinking that we encounter every time we show up for work. Nine lies, to be exact. They cause dysfunction and frustration, ultimately resulting in workplaces that are a pale shadow of what they could be.
By reading Nine Lies About Work, you can get past the lies and discover what’s real. These freethinking leaders recognize the power and beauty of our uniqueness. They know that emergent patterns are more valuable than received wisdom and that evidence is more powerful than dogma.
LIE #6: People can reliably rate other people
Best team leaders know that each member of their team is unique, and they spend a massive amount of time trying to attend to and channel this uniqueness into something productive.
Perhaps wanting to add more precision to the words performance and potential, many organizations have created lists of competencies that team members are supposed to possess and against which they are rated at the end of the year.
In the real world, none of this works.
Mechanisms, meetings, models, consensus sessions, the exhaustive competencies, the carefully calibrated rating scales—none of them will ensure that the truth of you emerges in the room because all of them are based on the belief that people can reliably rate other people. And they can’t.
Over the last forty years, we have tested and retested people’s ability to rate others. The inescapable conclusion is that human beings cannot reliably rate other human beings on anything at all.
In the world of ratings, the idea that we can always cover the possibility that any individual data source is bad by getting lots of data from lots of sources and averaging it is wrong and harmful.
Adding bad data to a good or the other way around doesn’t improve the quality of the data or make up for its inherent shortcomings. The truth about data is that noise plus signal plus signal plus signal still equals noise because the tiniest amount of bad data contaminates all the good data.
That’s it for today. Tomorrow, we will continue read the same chapter LIE #6: People can reliably rate other people.
We think that rating tools are windows that allow us to see out to other people, but they’re just mirrors, with each of us endlessly bouncing us back at ourselves.
The truth about data is that noise plus signal plus signal plus signal still equals noise because the tiniest amount of bad data contaminates all the good data.
LIE #1: People care which company they work for
We, as team members, want our team leader to make us feel part of something bigger, that he/she shows us how what we are doing together is important and meaningful. You as a team leader make us feel that you can see us, and connect to us, and care about us, and challenge us in a way that recognizes who we are as individuals.
LIE #2: The Best Plan Wins
It’s far better to coordinate your team’s efforts in real-time, relying heavily on each unique team member’s informed, detailed intelligence. You’ll have to sit down and survey your team members and make your plan.
The more frequently and predictably you check in with your people or meet with your team—the more you offer your real-time attention to the reality of their work—the more performance and engagement you will get.
It’s not true that the best plan wins. The best intelligence indeed wins.
LIE #3: The best companies cascade goals
We should unlock information through intelligence systems and cascade meaning through our expressed values, rituals, and stories.
We should let our people know what’s going on in the world and which hill we’re trying to take, and then we should trust them to figure out how to contribute.
They will invariably make better and more authentic decisions than those derived from any planning system that cascades goals from on high.
LIE #4: The best people are well-rounded
Best people are not well-rounded. They are distinctive. Well-roundedness is a misguided and futile objective for individual people, but it’s an absolute necessity for teams.
The well-rounded high performer is a creature of the theory world. However, each high performer is unique and distinct in the real world and excels precisely because that person has understood their uniqueness and cultivated it intelligently.
Competencies like Customer focus, innovation, growth orientation, agility are values to be shared, and they are not abilities to be measured.
Shift your thinking to outcomes where you’re asking individual team members to deliver to better match their distinctive talents.
LIE #5: People need feedback
People don’t need feedback. They need attention and attention to what they do the best. And they become more engaged and therefore more productive when we give it to them.
In the real world, each person’s strengths are the greatest opportunity for learning and growth. Time and attention devoted to contributing to these strengths intelligently will yield exponential return now and in the future.
Get into the conscious habit of looking for what’s going well for each of your team members.
Author(s): Marcus Buckingham
Author(s): Ashley Goodall
Part 14 of 23 in the 📖 Nine Lies About Work book series.