Leadership Solutions from Read Solutions Group: 90% in the top 10% of performers?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

90% in the top 10% of performers?

Business Week just published a survey of 2000 American middle managers and above, over the age of 25, and found that an astonishing 90% believed themselves to be in the top 10% of performers.

While just a couple of days before this publication, Marshall Goldsmith on his blog entry, The Success Delusion, writes:

Without even being aware of it, we often:

  • Overestimate our contribution to a project;
  • Have an elevated opinion of our skills and standing among our peers;
  • Conveniently ignore the costs of time-consuming dead-ends that we have created;
  • Exaggerate our projects’ impact on profitability by discounting real and hidden costs (the costs are their issue – the success is ours).

Many of our delusions can come from our association with success, not failure. Since we get positive reinforcement from our past successes, we think that they are predictive of great things to come in our future.

Self-esteem and confidence are powerful tools in driving success. Yet how best to temper those with a bit of humility? Picking one thing to work on, practice the art of reflection (what will I do differently when I next encounter this situation?) and watching for skills in others that you may want, all will help you to keep a learning mind. You may still believe that you're a top 10% performer, but there's always more to learn.

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