What if you’re just average?

At some point in our little journey on this big floating rock we discover something about ourselves.Some of us discover we might actually be pretty good at some stuff and being good at that stuff actually has some value, so for all intensive purposes, if you’re one of these people, you kind of won the game!

First, congratulations. I’m truly happy for you.

Second, don’t get too cocky. The thing you might be good at is for some reason people find your appearance pleasing. So, you won by having strong appearance DNA. It’s not like you’re a brain surgeon or a popular influencer or something. You’re just good looking and food doesn’t make you fat, or maybe it does and that’s why people like you, who the hell knows why anyone wins the game anymore.

Some of us will find out we’re just average. There is actually nothing overly special about who we are and what we do. If we are lucky we’ll find another average person to fall in love with us, and we can average children, and hang with average friends, do average stuff on the weekends. Life doesn’t suck, it’s “fine”.

A few of us will find we basically suck at almost everything. Life is hard for those who suck. As the saying goes, it sucks to suck. That’s life, some great ones, a bunch of average ones, and few sucky ones. The problem with life is most people think they are either great or above average. No one thinks they suck (okay, some do, but properly medicated and with the right therapy that usually goes away), and almost no one thinks they’re average.

What do we do when 80% of those people we know don’t know they’re average?

I mean, I usually just tell them straight up after about three or four gin and tonics. Look dude, I love you, and that’s my own downfall, but you’re average. I mean, we can still hang, because I’m only slightly above average as compared to you, so we’re cool. That mostly doesn’t work, which is why I write on this blog and don’t hang with real friends, but in the end, I think those people who I wanted to be my friends will value straight-shooting.

I read this week that for every $1 I spend, that’s like Bill Gates spending $2.8 million dollars. If Bill Gates spent $1 million dollars per day, it would take him four hundred years to spend all of this money. Even after the divorce, or maybe even more with the divorce, Bill won the game.

$1 to $2.8 million puts into perspective the difference between average and great. It’s not just Bill is probably slightly better than you and me. He’s on a different planet! In fact, he could actually be on a different planet if he wanted.

We confuse being slightly above average, or even just better than the crappy person working next to us, that we must be great. But, just because you’re the tallest of the seven dwarfs doesn’t make you tall. The only way this concept works is if you’re slightly better than someone you know is great, not average or below average.

Every single generation has an issue with being average. We don’t want to be labeled as average we want to be extraordinary when 80% are just plain ordinary. I think this is mostly due to how we define average. The actual definition is: “a number expressing the central or typical value in a set of data, in particular the mode, median, or (most commonly) the mean, which is calculated by dividing the sum of the values in the set by their number.”

What does that mean? It means if we lined up a hundred people you would be number 50, or 49 or 51-ish. Basically, there would be 49 people better than you and 49 people worse than you. You’re in the middle. For those of you who are a middle child, think of it as your older sister is better than you, but you are better than your younger brother. Middle children tend to have better insight into the concept of being average.

Embrace Your Averageness!

Here’s the thing, being average has its perks! The Perks of being average:

  1. No one really expects anything from you. At best, the only hope is you just don’t screw stuff up!
  2. It’s super easy to keep your job when you’re average because all the focus goes to the ones that suck, and all the hard, important work goes to the ones who are great.
  3. Average people tend to live a happier life because of the lower expectations people have towards them.
  4. Being average, and embracing it, opens you up to way more friends and people to hang out with since most of the world is average. If you believe you are superior, it’s really slim pickings when it comes to folks you want to hang out with!
  5. The selection of mates for romantic relationships really increases! I mean imagine all those people with hickies you can choose from when you set your sights appropriately!

So, what if you’re just average? Well, you are. Or statistically thinking, you are more likely to be than anything else. And that’s okay. I mean, unless, you truly want to be great.

9 Types of Employee Recognition That Suck!

I run a small business.  When I need to know something, I usually reach out to my employees and find out what they think.  It’s not some big fancy ‘research’ survey with thousands of responses, but it’s real.

Recently, I wanted to know what people might want in terms of a recognition award.  Ironically, what I found goes against some big fancy research done by recognition companies who are in the business of selling the crap on the list below, crazy how that works in the research game! Anywho, what I found wasn’t surprising to me.

Here’s the list of the Top 8 things my employees don’t want when it comes to Recognition Awards:

1. Anniversary Pins! If you give me one of these I will stick it back in your eye! “Hey, Tim, Thanks for 10 years! Buddy, here’s a pin!” A What!?!? I’ve given you ten great years and you’re giving me a pin. Is this 1955?

2. A Plaque. Or any other kind of trophy thing. If I wanted a trophy to show me that I’m a salesperson of the year, you hired the wrong person. JayZ said it best “we can talk, but money talks, so talk more bucks”.

3. Corporate logo wear. Giving out corporate logo wear as a form of recognition screams you have executives that haven’t actually spoken to an employee in the last twenty years!

4. A watch. Wait, if it’s a Rolex, I’ll take a watch. If it’s a Timex you better ‘watch’ out, I’m throwing it at someone! Nothing says we don’t really care about you like a $50 watch with it engraved on the back ‘You Matter! 2019!’

5. Luggage. The ‘experts’ would like you to believe that your employees would really ‘appreciate’ luggage because it’s an item they don’t normally like to spend their money on. The reason why people don’t like to spend their money on luggage is that it gets destroyed after one trip through O’Hare! That’s just what you want to see coming around the luggage carousel – “Hey, look, honey, it’s your employee of the year award all ripped up and stained”. Sign and symbols.

6. Fruit Baskets. First, most people don’t want to be healthy or we wouldn’t have the obesity problem we have in our society. Second, people like chocolate, candy, salty snacks, and diet soda. If you want to send food, send food they’ll actually eat!

7. A Parking Spot with Their Name On It. This goes bad two ways: 1. I drive a $100K Mercedes and you don’t, now you know I drive a better car than you and it’s awkward; 2. I drive a beater and I’m embarrassed to let everyone know I make so little I can even afford a 2014 Chevy Cobalt.

8. A Hug! Wait! I totally want a hug! Just not a creepy hug. You know what a creepy hug feels like when you’re about 13 seconds into it and the other person won’t let go! But nothing says “we recognize you” in the totally wrong way, like inappropriate hugs at work!

9. Anything Virtual! Get the hell out of here with your stupid virtual card and virtual balloons! Or a virtual Zoom high five. No one wants virtual recognition, they want some tangible and real.

What do employees want?

Well, that’s an entire post by itself, but my 20 years of HR ‘research’/experience shows people want their peers and leaders to appreciate their efforts. Nothing says ‘we truly care about you’ like having one of your peers tell you in some sort of way. When teams can do that, they become special! It might be a quick handwritten note, a face-to-face meeting in the hall, etc. It really doesn’t matter the avenue of how it comes, it just matters that you have the culture that it does come and it’s encouraged to keep coming.

The Future of Work, Is More WORK!

I’m sure you’ve read an article or listened to a podcast in recent weeks that had something to do with “the future of work”. It’s a hot topic to talk about, primarily because it’s all just a big fat guess and the best content is content where I just get to tell what I think will happen, but really have no idea for sure.

When I take a look at the HR technology landscape this week at The HR Technology Conference and see the tech that is hitting the market around work and performance, I think the future of work is actually just more work!

When I say ‘more’ work I really mean “More” work! Much of the technology that is being created and launched around HR Technology falls into a few buckets:

  1. How can we make workers more efficient at what they are currently doing?
  2. How can we monitor workers on what they are doing (tracking)?
  3. How can we leverage A.I. to do certain tasks workers are doing right now?

Don’t get me wrong, the technology doesn’t scare me in the least, I think it’s amazing, but the reality is much of it is designed to help us humans reach our full potential. If my couple of decades in HR has taught me anything it’s that very few of us humans want to reach our full potential!

Reaching your full potential means you are working really hard!

I have a great story about working in a union job the summer I first got out of high school. My Dad got me the job working in a grocery warehouse picking orders to be delivered to supermarkets. The warehouse just implemented a new software system that tracked the productivity of each worker.

Basically, I would be given an order and the system had estimated how long that order should take for me to complete. If the order was complex I got more time, it is was simply pulling a full pallet of one type of item, I might only get ten minutes or so to complete, some orders were estimated to take 75+ minutes to complete.

The union had negotiated that I only had to work 77% of the time. Yes, you read that correctly! If you added up all of my order minutes, in theory, to keep my job, I had to be 77% efficient. So, in an eight-hour shift of 480 minutes, once I reached my 369.6 minutes of work, I could actually just stop. In fact, I was encouraged very strongly by my union brothers to stop at the exact point!

Now the “new” computer system didn’t account for the extra effort. So, if I had an order that was supposed to take 60 minutes, but I worked really hard and completed it in 45 minutes, I just earned myself an extra 15 minutes. By the end of the summer, I was efficient enough in getting orders completed that I spent about three hours a shift playing cards with my union brothers in the back of the warehouse until my shift was done!

The new HR Technology that is in play right now, based on AI and machine learning, would have made these corrections individually within a few shifts, knowing I could do that work more efficiently than another person and soon my orders would have been adjusted. The technology would have ensured that my ‘extra’ effort turned into my normal effort.

We already know that my warehouse work will be replaced by robots, so my example is already dated. But what about that office job? Will a robot replace you? No, not right away, we are a ways off from that, but that same AI/Machine learning technology will track and measure everything you do and soon you will feel as busy as ever, because ‘down time’ is unproductive time and the tech can compute that!

The future of work is more work.

 

From Great to Crap is Mostly a Management Failure

Can we all agree that we hire someone our thoughts are that this new hire can only get better. We think this person will be great when we hire them, and we expect them to only get better. Is this true? Or do you feel when you make an offer to a new hire this person will be a piece of crap you’ll one day fire?

If this is the case, when an employee turns into garbage we must accept the fact this it is mostly our doing as leaders. Somewhere along the line, we failed this person. We hired potential to be great and we did not help this person reach their greatness.

Where do we fail as leaders when someone goes from Great to Crap? 

– We failed to truly assess this person before we hired them. We thought we were hiring great, but we didn’t do enough due diligence to truly understand this person’s skills and motivations.

– We failed to onboard this employee thoroughly to set them on a path for success. To prepare them for our culture and norms.

– We failed to train and develop this person in a way that would assist them on their path of success within our organization. To give them the skills needed to succeed in their role.

– We failed to define, accurately and clearly, what a ‘great’ performance looked like in our organization and in this role.

– We failed to lead them to a performance that would guarantee their success. We allowed their performance to slip into negative territory and not help pull them out of it.

As a leader, we fail our people constantly. Should we talk about how employees fail us? We could, that’s what we usually do. We find every excuse in the world to tell ourselves how a great person turned into a piece of crap when the common denominator was our leadership. It’s not us, it has to them.

They fooled us in the interview.

They lied about their past performance.

They embellished their skill sets and motivations.

They didn’t do the work necessary.

It’s them, it’s not us. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink. Well, anyway, I gave them the exact same thing I’ve given every hire before them.

Maybe they needed a bit more than all the hires. Maybe they needed something less, but different than the other hires. Maybe a one-size-fits-all training, development, performance doesn’t fit every size.

Okay, Yes, there is dual ownership over failed hires

That means, if someone has failed, under your leadership you must first look inward to what part you truly owned. What you didn’t do to help this person succeed. I’m depressed after every single termination I’ve done in my career because I know somewhere along the line, I failed as a leader. There was a point where I could have made a difference, and instead, I made an excuse.

I become a better selector of people and a better leader if I internalize each failed hire and try to better understand the part I played in this failure. Did I hire someone who had fewer weaknesses, but no real strengths? Did I believe that giving this person the “same” was good enough? Did I see this person start to fail and not address it immediately believing that a “great” leader would not micromanage and give this person freedom?

Great to crap isn’t a one-person journey. It takes a lot of failures and people to make a great person into a crappy hire. What role did you play in your last bad hire?

Get Back to HQ as Fast as You Can!

I know you want to keep working remotely. It’s awesome to be able to wake up, throw on some sweats and just check email. I mean this is what “work” should be, right!? Like not really working, but getting paid for it, this is the best time to be alive!

Okay, where was I? Sorry, Bridgerton is on in the background and episode 5 so, well, you know! No. No! I wasn’t really watching, just background noise. Similar to Steve from Accounting stopping by the cube to talk about nothing.

You’re a complete idiot if you don’t go back to Headquarters! 

I’m sorry to have to be your big brother and break the news, but the future of work isn’t you sitting on your couch in sweatpants deciding if you should paint an accent wall, or add some succulents to the shelf behind your “desk” that people see when you’re on a Zoom call.

If you actually care about your career, you are pushing your leadership team to get back to work, in the office. At some point, people who make decisions are going to start promoting people and the people who will get promoted will be the people with who they have the best relationship. Oh, sorry, you thought it was skill-based, performance-based promotions! That’s cute. Anywho.

The moment someone asks if you want to return to in-office work, you say, “Yes!” You tell them, you’ll actually come in right now, this moment. You already have your desk stuff packed and are ready to come back.

Yeah, yeah, it’s a “New World of Work”! 

Like a Robinhood Game Stop trader, the world is about to teach you a lesson or two. The world of work doesn’t give a sh*t about what you actually want. Oh, we’ll tell you we do, but at the end of the month, there’s this little thing we look at called financials. Look it up, it’s important. Turns out, you working at half capacity at home, isn’t the greatest thing for our financials. I mean, it is the greatest thing for your home design skills and you teaching sign language to your cat, so there’s that!

I know, it’s me, not you. I’m sure I’m wrong.

You know what. The best companies and leaders in the world have already figured this out. They figured out if you really want high levels of collaboration. Great decision-making. Great creativity. To build the next biggest thing in the world. You kind of have to be together, not on a video.

The new world of work isn’t remote. At its best, it’s probably you get treated more like an adult. Like, “Okay, Timmy, you can not come in on Wednesday because there’s a snowstorm and we think you’ll at least stay up on email, and return a couple of calls.” The pandemic showed us the new world of work, can be more flexible, and in some additional cases, remote, but for the most part we need you back in the cube.

Why Won’t This Work? 

Basically, it because we won’t do two things:

  1. We won’t really define, in true measurable, non-subjective terms, what performance looks like for your position. If we did, you might be able to work remotely and actually meet expectations of performance.
  2. We won’t put a system in place that will truly measure what the hell you’re actually doing. The technology is out there, but you feel micromanaged that someone would actually check to see if you are doing what you’re being paid to do.

So, we’ll just have most of you come back to work. We’ll do the same dance we’ve been doing for a hundred years. It could be better, but better comes with a lot of change, and right now we don’t even change our pants daily.

In the meantime, get your ass back to HQ if you really want to advance your career. And, please, spare me the “I’m not being treated fairly” when you get passed over for a promotion while sitting on your couch in pants with animals on them.

The One Thing Most TA Leaders Miss When Creating Real Change

Our Hiring Managers just won’t give us feedback, or give us interview times. My recruiters just won’t use our ATS or our CRM. I can’t get our executives to understand our brand isn’t what they think it is.

I had an F500 TA leader tell me last week that their biggest issue was not finding candidates, or getting qualified talent, it was simply we can not get our hiring managers to give us interview times. They desperately want and need talent, we have thousands of openings, but they won’t prioritize hiring, so we lose great candidates.

In the Talent Acquisition industry, we see a constant churn of TA leaders. Mostly they get fired because they are ineffective in creating the change they promised when they were hired. At least once per month, I’ll have some well-meaning TA leader reach out to me and ask me this question: “How do I continue to hire, using our broken processes and systems, but also build the new system and processes that I’m supposed to do?”

That’s the catch 22, right?

I wish I had some silver bullet answer for them, but I don’t. There’s no ‘one’ answer for this problem, but I think there are some core pieces to the answer that have to be met:

1 – You have to have an executive, or critical function hiring manager, who will be your champion when you break out your plan of change.

2 – An understanding by you and your team, that hiring as we know it right now, will not continue, and for a bit, we’ll probably get worse and some people might hate us, in the short run.

3 – Change only happens when you actually make change happen. (Damn, I should put that on a t-shirt!) 

The Final Step? 

You stop doing everything people are used to you and your team does. You create tension. You might just stop hiring altogether. Send a note out to your hiring managers explaining that Talent Acquisition is broken. To fix it, we have to blow it up. So, for the next 4 weeks, you are all on your own for hiring. Have fun!

Create Tension! 

The only way you’ll get lasting change is if others feel your same pain. Understand, when you stop hiring, you might just have a hiring manager who will be just fine hiring on their own! They don’t need you. If you and your team got killed in a bad ropes course team building accident tomorrow, let’s face it, the organization would still hire and move forward.

But, you’ve created tension and now you can build something new that will be “the” way you’ll be hiring moving forward. Maybe that is a rules-based approach where every single screened candidate sent to a hiring manager needs a 24-hour turnaround on feedback and also if a manager has you work on their opening they give you pre-assigned interview slots, etc.

If they don’t play along, you don’t work on their stuff.

Might you get fired? Yes. Of course. Might you get fired if you don’t change? Yes. Of course. Damn, isn’t Tension great! Also, why it’s really important to have an executive champion, who buys into your plan!

Every single TA Executive/Leader I speak with actually knows exactly how to fix their problem. Their real problem is they want to change, but they want to do it without adding Tension. That is where they fail.

The Single Most Desired Trait Employers Want: Being an Adult!

Don’t buy into the hype! “Oh, just do what you love!” That’s not being an adult, that’s being a moron! Just do what makes you happy! No, that’s what a child does.

“Tim, we just want to hire some ‘adults’!” I hear this statement from a lot of CEOs I talk with currently!

That means most of the people they are hiring, aren’t considered adults by these leaders. Oh, they fit the demographic of being an adult from an age perspective, but they still act like children!

I tell people when I interview them and they ask about our culture I say, “We hire adults”.

That means we hire people into positions where they are responsible for something. Because we hire adults, they take responsibility for what they are responsible for. If I have to tell them to do their jobs, they’re not adults, they’re children. We don’t employ children.

I think about 70% of the positions that are open in the world could have the same title –

“Wanted: Adults”.

Those who read that and got it could instantly be hired and they would be above average employees for you! Those who read it and didn’t understand, are part of the wonder of natural selection.

How do you be an Adult?

You do the stuff you say you’re going to do. Not just the stuff you like, but all the stuff.

You follow the rules that are important to follow for society to run well. Do I drive the speed limit every single time? No. Do I come to work when my employer says I need to be there? Yes.

You assume positive intent on most things. For the most part, people will want to help you, just as you want to help others. Sometimes you run into an asshole.

You understand that the world is more than just you and your desires.

You speak up for what is right when you can. It’s easy to say you can always speak up for what is right, but then you wouldn’t be thinking like an adult.

You try and help those who can’t help themselves. Who can’t, not who won’t.

My parents and grandparents would call this common sense, but I don’t think ‘being an adult’ is common sense anymore. Common sense, to be common, has to be done by most. Being an adult doesn’t seem to be very common lately!

So, you want to hire some adults? I think this starts with us recognizing that being an adult is now a skill in 2021. A very valuable skill. Need to fill a position, maybe we start by first finding adults, then determining do we need these adults to have certain skills, or can we teach adults those skills!

The key to great hiring in today’s world is not about attracting the right skills, it’s about attracting adults who aren’t just willing to work, but understand the value of work and individuals who value being an adult.

I don’t see this as a negative. I see it as an opportunity for organizations that understand this concept. We hire adults first, skills second. Organizations that do this, will be the organizations that win.

The Motley Fool has a great section in their employee handbook that talks about being an adult:

“We are careful to hire amazing people. Our goal is to unleash you to perform at your peak and stay out of your way. We don’t have lots of rules and policies here by design. You are an amazing adult and we trust you to carve your own path, set your own priorities, and ask for help when you need it.”

You are an amazing ‘adult’ and we trust you

If only it was so simple!

The Rules for Office Romances

Valentine’s Day is coming up in a couple of weeks. As HR pros we know what this means, which is usually a lot of unwanted advances by horny dudes who think they have a shot at the hot co-worker, who has absolutely no interest in them at all.

Welcome to the show, kids!

I’ve given out some rules in the past. Everyone on the planet has read my Rules for Hugging at the Office, but Office Romances are a little more complicated than the simple side-hug in the hallway. So, I thought I would lay out some easy to follow, simple rules for Office Romances for you to pass out to your employees on Valentine’s Day:

Rule #1 – Don’t fall for someone you supervise. If you do fall for someone you supervise, which you probably will because this is how office romances work. In that case, get ready to quit, be fired, be moved to another department, and or get the person you’re having an office romance with fired, moved, etc.

Rule #2 – Don’t fall for anyone in Payroll. When it ends, so will your paycheck. At least temporarily, and even then it will be filled with errors from now until eternity. It’s a good rule of thumb to never mess with payroll for any reason.

Rule #3 – Don’t mess around in the office, or on office grounds. Look I get it. You’re crazy in love and just can’t wait until you get home. The problem is the security footage never dies. It will live long past your tenure with us, and we’ll laugh for a long time at you. So, please don’t.

Rule #4 – Don’t send explicit emails to each other at work. It’s not that I won’t enjoy reading them, it’s that I get embarrassed when I have to read them aloud to the unemployment judge at your hearing. Okay, I lied, I actually don’t get embarrassed, but you will.

Rule #5 – Don’t pick a married one. Look I get it, you’re the work-spouse. He/She tells you everything. You get so close, you really think it’s real, but it’s not. You’ll actually see this when the real spouse shows up and keys your car in the parking lot.

Rule #6 – Don’t pick someone who has crappy performance. Oh, great, you’re in love! Now I’m firing your boyfriend and you’ll have to pick between him and us, which you’ll pick him, and now I’m out two employees. Pick the great performers, it’s easier for all of us.

Rule #7 – Inform the appropriate parties as soon as possible. Okay, you went to a movie together, not a big deal. Okay, you went to the movie together and woke up in a different bed than your own. It might be time to mention this to someone in HR if there is at anyway a conflict of some sort. If you don’t know if there’s a conflict of some sort, let someone in HR help you out with that.

Rule #8 – If it seems wrong, it probably is.  If you find yourself saying things in your head like, “I’m not sure if this is right”, you probably shouldn’t be having that relationship. If you find yourself saying things like, “If this is wrong, I don’t want to be right”, you definitely shouldn’t be having this relationship.

Rule #9 – If you find yourself hiding your relationship at work, it might be time to talk to HR. We’re all adults, we shouldn’t be hiding normal adult relationships. If you feel the need to hide it, something isn’t normal about it.

Rule #10 – Everyone already knows about your relationship. People having an office romance are the worst at hiding it. You think you’re so sneaky and clever, but we see you stopping at her desk 13,000 times a day ‘asking for help’ on your expense report. We see you. We’re adults. We know what happened when you both went into the stairwell 7 seconds apart. Stop it.

There you go. Hope that helps as you prepare for Valentine’s Day!

Buy Game Stop! No wait, get back to work!

Everyone is talking about Game Stop and AMC and a bunch of other companies that no one should really be talking about! Why? Because a bunch of remote workers are sitting at home, not working, and playing around on Reddit and their Robinhood brokerage accounts!

Yeah, I said it!

You have employees you’re paying to work remotely who are messing around thinking they’re day traders by buying crappy stocks off Reddit suggestions. Also, they think they’re sticking it to the “man” by doing this, so in their mind, they’re really saving the world. All while you’re paying them to sell more Saas software…

This is why Remote Work doesn’t work! 

Everyone loves Remote Work. Why wouldn’t you. You get paid to do the same work in half the time, and you get to do it sitting on your couch with Netflix running in the background and you’re still wearing the same stretchy pants you woke up in! God Bless America! Am I right!?

Remote Work fails when leaders feel like even one person is taking advantage of the system!

Look I get it, I get that Timmy is sitting in his office, at the office, and still not doing anything, but Mary, your CEO, can walk by Timmy’s office and scare him enough into thinking he should probably do some work.

Most organizations suck at having measurable performance indicators for every position, or any positions, besides sales. Most performance measures that employees have, would happen regardless if they actually did their job or traded crappy stocks all day, or ran an Etsy shop out of their cube.

Can’t we all just be adults!? 

Apparently, no.

You don’t want to be micromanaged at work, but the true future of “Remote” work is we are going to micromanage the sh*t out of you! (No, not me, all the other bad folks!) The bigger the company, the better the technology they’ll be able to afford to ensure you’re actually working and not acting like a wannabe revolutionary taking down the stock market by buying bad stocks.

If you have over 500 employees working remotely right now, at least 3% of those people are amateur day trading on your dime. It’s just a numbers game, at this point. Depending on what your business does, you can probably raise or lower that number 1-2%.

“But, Tim! You don’t get it! I work a flexible schedule, so I’m putting in more hours and still being a bad day trader!” No, you’re not. You’re an idiot who is going to cry you got wronged when you get fired because your company found out a part-time seventeen year old can produce more than you, without any formal college education.

Gawd, I actually love being the voice of reason! 

Man! I’m not a life coach, but what I wouldn’t do to punch some stupid 35-year-old dude in the mouth who’s trying to explain to me why Game Stop is a good investment, ‘really’! Turns out, no one needs a brick and mortar store to buy online games! Thanks for the advice, Trevor, how did all those folks at your company respond to that analysis in the company Slack!?

Okay, you don’t have to work forty hours a week, because when you’re home you have fewer distractions and you get your job done in thirty. The question you should really be asking yourself isn’t if America is considering you a hero for buying Game Stop stock, but if you can do that all day and still get your job done, who else is thinking they probably don’t need to be paying you any longer?

I can guarantee you, Game Stop doesn’t care about your job!

There is no such thing as “Too Much Talent”!

There is this common belief that one organization can have “too much” talent and having “too much” talent is most likely not going to turn out well. Okay, this is a commonly held belief amongst sports teams, specifically, basketball. (All non-sport fan HR pros check out…WAIT!)

The concept happens when you have organizations build super teams. The reason we believe it will fail is mostly ego-driven. All of these superstars won’t be able to play together because they all want to be ‘the’ star and for the team to win and play well, you must take on a role. And, that role, might not have you being the star.

The Brooklyn Nets are this year’s version in the NBA of “too much” talent, with superstar players, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and the newest addition, James Harden. All three are superstars.

Why do we feel an organization can have too much talent? 

As ‘normal’ people, we have a hard time believing that someone who is great, a superstar, would be willing to share their glory. To take a backseat or play the second chair, for the good of the ‘team’. It is our belief that most people suck, apparently. Or, truthfully, we suck, because we are just projecting our own beliefs!

I like science and some researchers wanted to take a look at this phenomenon of super teams and too much talent. What did they find?

  • Teams benefit, overall, from having more talented team members.
  • The benefit decreases over time, but…
  • More talent is never detrimental to team performance! 

While a great team might start to get less great over time, that is mostly due to a lot of non-talent factors. Could be the age of athletes, less motivated to succeed, etc. But, still, the team is more successful, with the talent, than before.

How can we use this knowledge in normal, non-sport organizations? 

First, we need to understand that all hiring managers are a bit hesitant to hire someone they feel is more talented than themselves. This is human nature, we all have this trait at some level. We want to protect the job we have, hiring someone great, no matter what we tell ourselves, we feel puts our own job at risk. This is normal, not a weakness.

The way around this is that everyone has to come together and acknowledge we all have this weakness. “Hey folks, we need to hire people better than ourselves if we want to become a super team. That said, we need to hold each other accountable to that end”

Second, we need to be able to measure “better”. What is better than you or me? How can I measure that in a candidate? That is truly an impossible task, for most professions and positions. At the very least, you must be able to look yourself in the mirror and ask the question, “Is this person better than me, or given the chance, could they become better than me and a decent time period?” “Can I help this person be better than me because they have some core skill sets I don’t have?”

Every CEO I’ve ever met wanted to hire better people for their company. Only a handful had the self-insight needed to truly hire better people. The first step to hiring better people is realizing you might not be the best! That’s hard for some executives to comprehend and admit. In fact, it’s hard for almost everyone to comprehend and admit!

You can not have too much talent on your team. You can not have too much talent on your team. You can not have too much talent on your team. You can have too many talented people who are assholes. That is something entirely different!