The last year has been like a tsunami for the global economy. Who would have thought ten years ago that GM would be facing bankruptcy, or IBM would stop making PCs? Without question, today's global economy and rapid pace of change are creating many challenges that organizations must rise to. There is one thing that hasn't changed much, however - organizations don't achieve results... people do. Because of this, a primary challenge is the identifying, hiring, engaging, developing and retaining of talent in a manner superior to that of the competition. If you are not rising to this challenge, simply put, your organization will not compete effectively for employees or customers in the long run.

In pursuit of talent performance, one of the practices we have observed in organizations which has caused me great concern over the years is that often clients will try to use training or coaching as a cure-all. For some it is effective and for others it isn't. The reality is, when the person is the wrong fit for the job, all the training and coaching in the world will not bring the person to the same level of performance as a "Right Fit" person.

To put it another way, if a sales position requires Donald Trump for high performance and instead you have Mother Theresa, all the training and coaching in the world will not get the same results. Likewise putting Trump in a position to be an empathetic counselor for the homeless will not be very fruitful.

Think of the cost of poor performance from the “misfit”, turnover due to frustration, sick days, training expenses, cost of replacement, etc. Think of the wasted resources trying to better train apples to produce orange juice.

The second practice we observe, particularly among sales teams, is that when “Mother Theresa’s” performance doesn’t improve after training, the next move is to enhance her performance-based compensation. She would be offered added bonus incentives if she increases sales. The reality is this – research shows that extrinsically driven compensation works only with a small percentage of the population.
For a good explanation of this concept, see the video of Dan Pink on motivation, here.

So the question remains: In an extremely competitive landscape, how can we gain superior business results through superior engagement and performance of our talent?

Answer: For superior performance through candidate selection, succession planning, and coaching of existing talent, achieving optimum performance will come from understanding the inherent intrinsic rewards that a job provides, as well as the intrinsic motivators of your talent, and making sure that they are aligned/ matched.

Organizations will need to understand key job functions objectively, in terms of what skills, motivators, rewards and behaviors are embedded in the ideal performance criteria. They will also need to understand the team of talent they have (either internal or external) in terms of their skills, motivators and behaviors.

For example, within the profession of nursing, one of the intrinsic values it nurtures is that of compassionate service. For ideal performance in most of these positions, it is suggested that a person who is motivated by the opportunity to offer compassionate service would be intrinsically engaged to perform in that job in a superior fashion. Again, it is unlikely that Donald Trump would find that to be a hugely satisfying position, if service is not in the top of his list of intrinsic motivators.

Organizations that align talent intelligently with key job functions will be rewarded with superior engagement, performance and retention in addition to superior customer satisfaction. To create a superior beverage, determine the correct ingredients needed. Apples make great apple juice, while oranges make great orange juice. Stop wasting money on training and coaching the wrong talent for the job.

Author's Bio: 

Chuck Reynolds is a Principal and Chief Performance Officer with Excel Group Development, a Performance Solutions firm that assists organizations in enhancing management and team effectiveness. He can be reached indirectly by emailing our admin group. Insert 'ATTN Chuck' in the subject area. Visit them at