This post is for all you golf lovers out there! Unfortunately, I don’t have a whole lot of time to spend on this sport, but when summer rolls around, I often think of a good friend of mine who is a scratch golfer. Now, for those of you who may not be interested in, or know much about this sport, suffice it to say, my friend Jim is a very very very good golfer. He practices daily. When he is not playing a round of 18 or 36 holes, he is at the driving range or putting green continuing to perfect his swing and his short game. Jim is so intent on this sport that it is actually painful for him to play with someone who is not as good as he is. If I happen to be talking to Jim and I know that he played that day, I’ll often ask him how his game was. If Jim had been playing with someone with only meager ability but a huge love of the sport, he will often say, “Any day playing golf is great but today, I hit the ball and then…I had to drag Charlie.” I guess it’s tough for some people who are really good at what they do to tolerate those who struggle.
As I think about good golfers and the lesson they have to teach us, I am reminded that in our own corporations, we have people like this. Most of our staff, for example, is performing adequately. They do their jobs, no more – no less. Then there’s that smaller percentage who struggle. They may have been selected to do a job for which they are not prepared or in which they have no interest. And then finally, we have our “Jims”, the superstars who seem to excel no matter what we throw at them by way of a task or challenge. I really worry about this group, because the superstars, like my friend Jim, have a tendency to get really frustrated when they see management accepting less than the best from their employees. We run the risk of losing this group if we are not managing all three areas of the skill set spectrum. Superstars, in particular, do not want to spend their day “hitting the ball and dragging Charlie.”
As managers, know that you have tools available to you to help you with the skill set management task. Mystery shopping, for example, is a great tool to use to qualitatively and quantitatively assess the performance of individual staff members. It will allow you to recognize and reward your superstars and at the same time, it will give you the information you need to identify those who may need more training or coaching. It is also a useful tool to help you determine if you have the right people in the right positions on your staff. You may need to consider moving some people to jobs that better suit their skills and talents. Your mystery shopping reports will help you determine this.
How do you keep your superstars from getting frustrated?