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Do we need only heroes?


For  long time, I have been thinking if jobs get done only because we have a few heroes. What about the score of others who make the hero stand out and be a hero? Organisations cannot win in the marketplace only by the efforts of the few hyper-performers. However, the leaders put a lot of their attention on these few heroes. What happens when the hero is worshipped and the others are neglected?

To top this all, we have bell-curves which believe that most people are average-performers, a few are below the performance targets and similarly, a few are above the targets. It’s also true that many natural processes tend to follow the bell-curve pattern. However, each stage of the process has its unique significance. We seem to be forgetting this and hence, do not focus much on the contribution of each non-hero. The leader of a team needs to realise that the contribution of each person is important and the conditions have to be made right for the person to be able to put in the desired efforts.

Heroes deliver a heroic act not only due to their own drive, focus, ability but also the right environment to perform. Often, we forget that the right atmosphere has to be created for each person in the team so that she or he is able to deliver the individual best. Adults normally expect empowerment, coaching and recognition to give their best. Bell curves necessarily force-rank levels of performance of each person in the team while it may so happen that there is just a handful of hyper-performers and a long tail. And similarly in another situation, there may be quite a few hyper-performers and equal number of low-performers. So, heroes, normal actors and anti-heroes will always be there; but, they may not be in the form of 15:70:15 shape; they may be in any proportion.

Like a class of students do not have to necessarily show a particular curve in their scores, we can have the same situation in an organization. Why not? Performance evaluation can be a continuous process and each time, a new hero could emerge like we see various people as extra-ordinary contributors in a team game on each occasion.

Can’t we have compensation and all other forms of reward as a continuous process rather than based on one evaluation a year and one score to decide the fate of the person for the next year or so! This way, we have many heroes, many recognitions, an award-winning atmosphere, collaborative spirit, a lot of positive energy flowing in the team. The anti-heroes do not carry on for a long period of time and can discover other ways of being a hero in some other game! Performance gets differentiated each day since we have continuous evaluation. The leader is always alert to notice the heroes and turn each member of the team a hero as often as possible. So, it’s a happy situation overall, isn’t it?

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