This Is the Secret Sauce for a Highly Productive Company
Star talent is only part of it.
Citing research from Bain & Company, writer Stephanie Vozza dispels the myth that high-performing companies do well simply because they attract employees who are “naturally gifted at productivity.” Bain & Company partner Michael Mankins, who studied the companies to find out how they stay at the top, told Vozza that productive companies have roughly the same percentage of “star players” as less productive competitors. The difference? Leading companies are more strategic about where they place those employees, putting them in positions that are “business critical” and high value for the company’s goals.
Industrious companies also value teamwork, Mankins told Vozza, and are savvy about which projects need an all star-heavy team to succeed. Mankins presents Apple and Microsoft as an example. Both companies released software (iOS 10 and Vista, respectively) in the early 2000s. It took 600 Apple engineers less than two years to roll out their software; 10,000 Microsoft engineers took five years to release (and then retract) Vista.
“The difference is in the way these companies chose to construct their teams,” says Mankins. Apple also rewarded teamwork — no individual received praise for their performance unless the entire team did well — while Microsoft used a “stacked ranking” and compensated individuals based on performance.
The final secret of hyper-productive companies boils down to inspiration. Mankins says that inspired workers — energized by a fantastic leader — are 125 percent more productive than satisfied workers. The most important takeaway is that inspirational leadership can be taught, according to Mankins, adding that “companies that recognize and invest in making it happen create meaningful impact on the productivity of their company.”
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