We often hear about the 10x professional – one who is an order of magnitude better than her peers.
A Yale study compared students who worked on a tough assignment. It found that the fastest students who earned an ‘A’ outpaced their slow classmates by a factor of 10:1. When hiring for professionals, companies invest immense time and money in securing those 10x superstars – one who can get two months worth of work done in less than a week’s time.
Another IBM study compared team performance on 3800 different projects. For the same quality of output, it compared the fastest teams with the slowest teams. How much of a difference do you expect to see? 10x?
It turned out that fast teams were 2000x faster than the slow ones. What they could accomplish in a week took slower teams two-thousand weeks (40 years)! While I am skeptical of this result, I have little doubt that improving team performance is a better use of a leader’s time than seeking out the industry’s superstars.
Every company is obsessed with hiring the best talent from outside. If they spent the same time and attention to look within, they could be somewhere between 10x and 2000x more effective.
PS: It turns out that I’ve written about this before.