A Junto Strategy Project
While listening to a recent ASTD webinar, I was struck by a powerful concept the speaker, Alan Fine, presented to the group leaders and managers.
In discussing performance or in this case poor performance he asked the group to identify what happens when individuals on a sports team don’t perform well over a period of time. The end result in the majority of cases is that the coach gets fired. But in business we do the exact opposite. If an employee does not perform well over time, the majority of cases indicate that the individual contributor not the leader/manager gets fired.
One of his most powerful questions from this part of his presentation was:
Would your current employees pay to have you as their leader or would you be fired?
Being a manager myself, I had to stop and think long and hard about that question. I am not sure that I can answer with a solid “yes.” I feel I do some things well, but I also have some real areas of improvement.
Alan’s question and his concept of firing the manager got me thinking about a certain TV show that was quite popular for a bit and has since leveled off. That is the show The Apprentice. The show’s famous line and scene involves Donald Trump pulling in the two under performers of the last project and uttering the line “You’re fired.”
Applying Alan’s idea, I wonder what would happen in TV show turned the tables and if it was Donald that got fired instead of the contestants? What if instead of looking at him as a leader, Mr. Trump was the one that had to take a seat at the dreaded board room table and report what he did to make each team and each project manager a success?
My guess is that based on what I’ve seen of Mr. Trump’s ego and leadership style that he probably wouldn’t make it past the first episode, so TV execs probably won’t pick up my idea for a show that probably only lasts one episode. Of course Mr. Trump getting fired in the first episode might make for some great TV, especially the little obligatory cab ride after the firing where candidate Trump could spout off about what went wrong. I could probably stretch that cab ride debrief out for at least one more episode.
While I am having a little fun here at Mr. Trumps expense, the idea of flipping The Apprentice on it’s head and Alan’s webinar session have provided me some good leadership food for thought and a bit of self reflection around what I can do to not get “fired” because I’ve developed the skills and capacity to enable those I lead to be consistently at their best.