Excellence – Found, Made or Elusive?

“Why is it so hard to find an excellent employee?”

That was the subject of a recent discussion in a leadership group on Linkedin. Responses (over one thousand to date!) can be grouped into four main themes:
1. that it is indeed nearly impossible to find an excellent person to hire;
2. that there are many excellent people, but they are in the wrong jobs;
3. that the right person may be out of work and not getting noticed; or
4. that employers are so far below excellence that no individual could be excellent in their employ.

Where’s the issue? Is it in the selection? hiring? alignment of person to role? management? something else? all of the above?

Look again at the four main responses. If you employ others, which of these can you do something about? Choose the one that caused you the greatest pause. Is it #4? Stating that leaders and managers (i.e., the employer) are not excellent may have you saying that this isn’t you. What if it is worded this way “that employers do things, even unwittingly, that de-motivate and limit the potential of their employees?” Consider it.

Here’s an excellent clip from Jim Collins, author of Great by Choice, speaking to the subject of how employers can stop de-motivating and limiting their employees — so that both can perform better: Start with the brutal facts, truly hear people & show tangible results

What might you do to seek truth and communicate with the aim of understanding (not simply compliance)?
How might you create an environment of mentoring people who may be weaker in their roles? (also see Theory of Constraints)
A few small shifts toward better leadership can foster significant performance improvements. Imagine a reward system fostering these traits, esp. for positions of authority…

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