Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Do you know what drives work performance?

Ok, boss, let’s see if you know this one. I ask this question when I do my corporate training and when I teach my MBA class and it is very rare that anyone in the room knows the correct answer.

What is the single best predictor of work performance across many occupations studied in both the US and many different cultures?

The answer is general mental ability. It’s measured in a variety of ways, but the underlying factor is intelligence. (Pfeffer and Sutton, 2000)

So what are the implications of this?

Should our focus be the search for extraordinary people to do the job, or should our focus be designing the job so that ordinary people can excel?

I like the second option, especially when labor markets are tight.

Partner with others to build healthy, responsible organizations where everyone can thrive.

Stay tuned – sometime soon I’ll identify the #2 and #3 best predictors of work performance and we’ll see if the implications are similar or different.

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