I stumbled over this article post today while perusing linkedin. In the past we’ve talked about how fundraiser performance doesn’t follow the traditional bell curve, well this article touches on a theory for why this is true not only in development, but across sectors: the lack of engaged workers. In particular Mr. Hope says:
You can hopefully call up the same list in your own heads right now. Many people would call this your 20/80 list. The 20% of the people who end up doing (and often even voluntarily signing up to do) 80% of the heavy lifting, consistently; within your company, government, organization, school, unit, department or group. I call this my 8-10 List.
1-5 is mediocrity. Even the Bible suggests, “be hot or be cold, but if you are lukewarm I will spat you out.” Translation: even God does not like mediocrity.
5-7 is entertainment. It’s the person you date, but you do not marry.
8-10 is excellence. Not black excellence, or brown excellence, or white excellence, or male or female excellence, or Republican or Democratic excellence. It’s just excellence. It’s real leadership.
Looking at your own development shop – who are the 8-10s as described by Mr. Hope? What is different about their behavior? Do you treat these individuals any differently? The most effective development shops are those who can find those strong workers and retain them. But, what Mr. Hope does touch on, is that sometimes the difference between a 5-7 and a 8-10 is not potential or intelligence; it’s engagement. Great leaders are often expected to be leaders and given the freedom to use their creativity to solve interesting and new problems. What leadership expectations are we putting out there for development professionals? Has the era of metrics and benchmarking brought measurability at the expense of creativity and performance?