This post is part of the 📖 Nine Lies About Work series.
Today, I am still 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
What do we know from reading previous chapters?
1) human beings can never be trained to rate other human beings reliably.
2) ratings data derived in this way is contaminated because it reveals far more of the rater than it does of the person being rated.
3) the contamination cannot be removed by adding more contaminated data.
Faced with this sorry state of affairs, what on earth should we do?
A sensible place for us to start is by learning to tell good data from bad.
We can say that good data has three distinct characteristics: it is reliable, it is variable, and it is valid.
In essence, we come to trust our data-gathering tools when the data they generate doesn’t change if the thing they’re measuring doesn’t change. But, on the other hand, unreliable data is wobbly data—it seems to move all by itself.
This is why 360-degree-feedback tools are unreliable. The data they produce is supposed to measure the presence of certain competencies in the person rated. Yet, when we examine the data, it’s clear that it wobbles about by itself because what the tool is responding to is the idiosyncrasy of the rater.
Variable data is data that displays natural (unforced) range, which reflects actual range in the real world. Thus, we can judge the quality of a measurement tool by its ability to measure and display this real-world range.
We need to stop asking about others and instead ask about ourselves.
You have to design questions like:
“Do you turn to this team member when you want extraordinary results?”
“Would you promote this person today if you could?”
“Do you choose to work with this team member as much as you possibly can?”
“Do you think this person has a performance problem that you need to address immediately?”
Once we’ve designed questions like this, we could then ask team leaders, every quarter or at the end of every project, what their experience was like of each team member.
Then, at every talent review, we knew that we were looking at precisely what every team leader feels about and would do with every team member.
That’s it for today. Tomorrow, we will read the next chapter LIE #7: People have potential.
- Reliable, variable, and valid—these are the signs of good data, and these three concepts will help you intelligently examine the quality of any data put in front of you.
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.
LIE #6: People can reliably rate other people
There’s no reliable way to measure competencies that team members are supposed to possess in the real world. Human beings can never be trained to rate other human beings reliably.
We need to ask thorny questions like, “Do you turn to this team member when you want extraordinary results?”, “Would you promote this person today if you could?”, “Do you choose to work with this team member as much as you possibly can?”, “Do you think this person has a performance problem that you need to address immediately?”
Author(s): Marcus Buckingham
Author(s): Ashley Goodall
Part 15 of 23 in the 📖 Nine Lies About Work book series.