Great Opportunity – Costly Blunder #4

“You can’t fit a round peg in a square hole” (American Proverb)

Well, now we know why many companies fail – managers trying to squeeze round pegs into square holes!

A lot of research into people and organizations attribute dissatisfaction at work to the misfit between the person and their position. It is argued that the greater the mismatch the more job dissatisfaction. This assumes that people don’t aspire to grow into – and in their job.

Are you a person who hates a challenge and does not want to grow into and beyond your job?

But, common sense would suggest that too much of a mismatch can be both frustrating and immensely demotivating.

Research as far back as the 1950s has shown that innovative organizations are staffed by square pegs in round holes.

Innovation is the only game in town at the moment. Business opportunities open up when new ideas are taken to the marketplace.

Steven Jobs highlighted the importance of out-of-the-box thinking in creating a world-leading corporation: “Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

How do we write these attributes into the job description?

Personal style and person-position fit of the type described above challenges the way we now write job descriptions, apply the principles of performance appraisal and reward performance.

Some in the recruitment industry would have us believe that the old adage “round pegs, square holes” no longer fits with most modern organizations. Well, many ‘modern organizations’ who (one assumes) followed such advice ain’t doing so well – and someone failed to tell the CEOs of the emerging ground-breaking high performance corporations that are – and who are ignoring all the rules about “round pegs in round holes”.

High Performance Organizations (HPOs) are fast growing, energized and attract High Performance People (HPP) who deliver critical Key Performance Outcomes (KPOs)!

In tough or good times, the focus has now to be on more than just survival. It is easy to be ground down by the incessant ‘psychobabble’ of the media about the world being on the precipice of economic Armageddon.

If every one of your competitors tomorrow closed their doors for good, and your company was an HPO, would it have the capacity to serve 100% of the market?

Probably not!

Simply put, wishing for survival is a recipe for disaster – and those that do, rarely ever last long enough to achieve it!

Now who said: “Be careful what you wish for, you might actually achieve it!”

Conversely, those that unleash their game-changing HPP often steal market share from the more timid – and do much better than just survive – they flourish!

How do we accommodate, assess and reward HPP?

Nothing is more irritating than having a HPP nibbling at one’s ear with a great new idea, system or process when one is struggling to keep the doors open for business – yet this is exactly what keeps the business alive and profitable over the long term – and even more so today!

Remember: Sors ventus temerarus (Fortune favours the bold)

But never forget: Parco stultus temeritas (Avoid foolish boldness)!

Let’s leave the final quote to Elbert Hubbard: “You had better be a round peg in a square hole than a round peg in a round hole. The latter is in for life, while the first is only an indeterminate sentence.”

Are you growing into your job and motivated to become a HPP? Or, are you already there?

And does your employer accommodate constructive/innovative contributions from the ‘misfits’?

If not, what would you change if you were the CEO?

Oh, the costly blunder is to ignore that HPP+KPO+HPO = Profitable Survival

3 thoughts on “Great Opportunity – Costly Blunder #4

  • Yes, thank for your reply. A recent situation will benefit from your insight.

    Comment from: Jen-USA

  • Jen,
    The critical issue is that HPOs and HPPs don’t exist in isolation – they coexist – and cannot exist without each other. To bring the ‘Wizard’ back into the fold one needs to change the team dynamics, to (re)negotiate responsibilities, working relationships, as well as, team and individual team-member outcomes – and finally identify the rewards (individual rewards that stir action – not pens and paper – but something that is emotive or tangible) that will reinforce new behaviors. Conflict resolution interventions may be required. When all that fails after much trial and error, then Plan B may need to include the possibility for re-assignment of team members to other teams or changing the core strategic objectives of the team so that all members are now operating to a different agenda or prescribed outcomes (i.e., change the rules of the ‘game’ for all and, thus, team member engagement dynamics).
    Hope this helps

    Comment from: Strategic Outcomes

  • Sometimes in organizations the environment for the inclusion of HPP is not there. Killing the wizard,as someone once said, how would you bring that person back into or into the fold to contribute,assuming termination is not an option. Also, what kind of environment would have to be created to allow a HPP to flourish. It has to be more than paper,pens and computers.

    Thank you,


    Comment from: Jen-USA

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