I’ve been lucky enough to work with really smart, talented people over the years, so you’d think my exposure to mediocrity (other than my own) would be rather limited. But it turns out that staffing with mediocre professionals is just one way to produce lukewarm work. Here are three other heavily trafficked roads to hell:
Michael Jordan Memorial Highway
This road is built by sticking all the right people in all the wrong places. For example, people who are particularly good at something tend to get promoted, but the things they do well might have nothing to do with managing people and resources. Even superstars can suck as managers, inspiring below average performances from above average performers.
The Freeway of Frustrated Rock Stars
The best people are sometimes also an organization’s harshest critics. A clear vision for what’s needed combined with a lack of the intestinal fortitude required to transform ideas into organizational reality tends to grind good people down. They end up cranky, bitter and ineffective.
Bad Process Boulevard
When you say the word “process” to many people, what they actually hear is “paperwork and bureaucracy.” These folks avoid developing or supporting process in the fear that it will suffocate a talented staff. But reasonable and well-defined processes should liberate expertise by clearly identifying goals and coordinating efforts. A lack of process is much more dangerous as it sends teams careening and crashing into one another.