Forced Evolution

I have had the opportunity to consult on many change management implementations. There are many theories and practices involved today, regarding the most effective methods to change corporate cultures, but more importantly, the objective is and always will be to increase overall performance: Profitability. How is this accomplished? First, off you have to analyze the Organizational System, meaning how departments influence, and interact with one another. These components to the Organizational System should have a functional logic to their existence, and how each element contributes to the overall function to the corporation; right? Actually, in many cases, this is not true. Sometimes these functions and systems were developed in the startup phases of the Organization; and due either to the inexperience in the beginning, or not keeping a finger on the pulse on the ever-changing corporate environment surrounding them, they continued working with the same mind frame with which they started. Many times this is overlooked because the product or service they are offering has such high demand, that these shortcomings in the Organizational System are ignored. It is only when times get lean; that a consultant like myself are called in to trim the fat. Why now? The most progressive companies in the world are continuously looking for new ways to keep their systems fresh, staying ahead of the competition and understanding the ever-changing demands of their customer base.

This article will address the human capital factor of this organizational system change-process, and why it is so important to implement Top Performers in crucial roles; resulting in improving the performance culture of the organization.  I have held many Sales Roles in my Career and found it interesting how the performance of one top producer can influence the overall performance of the Sales Team. Why is this true? Simplifying the fundamental discoveries in Psychology, human beings are innately associative beings. Meaning that we will adjust or conform to the group standards, this is ultimately due to our instinctive drive to survive, and working as a group increases our chances for survival. I could also point out the discoveries found in humanistic psychology, including Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory, where after basic and safety/security requirements, you will see Love and Acceptance. What does this tell us? That at the core of our primitive drivers, we need to be loved and accepted; and people will go to great lengths to accomplish this primal objective.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
So let’s dive in. I do agree that Systematic Approaches to streamlining your Organizational Process are a great place to start when looking at policies and procedures; even indirectly molding the culture in the desired way. However, strategic placement is still the most effective method to change your corporate culture directly. If you research the trends and patterns that dominate social statistics, you will run across the term Bell Curve quite often. What does the Bell Curve tell us exactly? The Bell Curve derived from a broad statistical sampling; that shows us the spectrum of behaviors, attributes, and competencies: revealing that there will always be two polarities with the majority grouping in the middle: Mediocrity.  The essential aspects of this Curve are the two ends of the spectrum; because it is like a tug of war match when it comes to corporate performance cultures. The critical insight here is how do we sway the middle 80% in the direction desirable to the Corporate Culture? (Estimating based on Pareto’s Ratio, not using Standard deviations of traditional Bell Curve) In evolution theory, explicitly dealing with pack or herd animals, you will see this conflict between the weakest and strongest in play. Nature has a way of sifting out these weaker elements: predators. Predators in this context are the Corporations’ direct competitors, yes I know this sounds harsh, but let’s be honest, it can be a jungle out there. Organizations usually have quotas, performance standards, and other means in the attempts to sift out these underperformers; however, never underestimate the manipulation power of a person in survival mode.  These people will expend great efforts in maintaining the overall performance standards that allow them to float in that gray area; where minimums are met and keeping off the radar of Management.

Yes, I know what you are thinking, here comes the sales pitch. Sure I am Business Development Manager for Professional Recruiters; a Utah based Recruiting Firm that was established in 1977; but this does not negate the fact that this information is founded in experience and research. Many will agree that deep inside themselves they have known this human fact all along. Moreover, may have even been compelled by the same primal driving forces in their personal life; trust me we all have. The great news is that with an understanding of this; we have the first tool needed to change everything!

If Top Performers are the key to increasing standards in an organization’s performance culture, why are Organizations struggling in finding this key talent? In most cases; corporations have not invested the time, research, experience, and networks that it requires to identify, locate, and evaluate this top talent. Some even develop internal recruiting departments; but once again they struggle because usually you are dealing with hourly paid recruiters and may not have the Elite Experience needed to isolate these passive candidates: Top Performers who typically are not responding to ads.  In addition, most corporations do not calculate the opportunity costs in attempting to recruit on their own; I would challenge if you allocated and assessed all the hours invested in paying for hourly recruiters, and the cost contributed to your Management Team having to break away from core duties to interview and evaluate a number of candidates that may not even be qualified for the position; a contingent service agreement with a strong Recruiting Firm would be the more efficient and cost-effective choice.

Think about the top leaders and valued professionals in the Nation; they all share one attribute, and it is the ability to connect key people, building those teams necessary for transforming a dream into reality. There is a reason that they are the highest paid professionals in the Nation, in some cases the world. Don’t overlook the value of team building, most importantly don’t find yourself trapped in short-term thinking. Remember; you either pay the price now or later, this is a universal law.

Think about the evolutionary process of Herd Animals, the health of the Herd is determined by their strongest. Because they force the others to keep pace; those that can’t are naturally sifted by nature. Top Performers do the same thing for your performance culture; they raise the standards and expectations. The concept of forced evolution is simple, to develop a winning team you need to place top performers in critical positions, affecting the latent cultural rules in the corporate environment: promoting the overall performance standards.

In conclusion, I have worked with many strong internal recruiting departments who can adequately fill many roles; but had us engaged to support their overflow, or fill the more difficult positions. We need to think outside the box; it does not have to be all internal recruiting, or all outsourcing. The most successful placement projects are accomplished by utilizing all of the resources available to them.