Saturday, April 24, 2010

WSJ Superstar Effect

It's always interesting to connect different things you read. This article talks about the "superstar effect" that actually diminishes competition--the presence of a standout star so demoralizes the competitors that they try less hard (Tiger Woods is their favorite example). Then this article talks about "The Humble Boss" versus the hyper-competitive CEO model.

So maybe companies that overdo the GE-style rack-and-stack employee rating do so because it fits the personality style of the CEOs. They are the type of people who are driven to complete, and probably are very accustomed to winning. I'm sure that feels good. On the other hand, it's not humble. It it also contrary to the tenets of much religion, notably Christianity, which cautions against falling prey to "scarcity thinking".

I am all for high standards and high performance. I just think that it can be a mistake to always frame it in terms of direct competition. In competition, a win is a win--you don't have to great work, you have to make sure that your work is viewed as better than anybody else's. That can lead to some severely dysfunctional behavior.

No comments:

Post a Comment