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How 10s Turn Into 7s

On a scale of 1 to 10, most leaders believe they only hire candidates who are 8s, 9s, and 10s.

But, even if those high standards are upheld, they still end up with plenty of 6s and 7s on their teams.

To illustrate how that happens, let’s consider Bob.

When Bob was hired he was a rock star. A true 10. Bob did really well at his job for a very long time.

The reward for good work is moving up the bank’s hierarchy. So Bob gets promoted to a manager role (despite the fact that the very qualities that make Bob an A-player also mean he’s likely ill-suited for management.)

Now that he has to focus on managing people, Bob isn’t able to focus all his time on what he’s best at anymore. This leads to a decrease in production, so Bob’s really performing like a B-player these days.

Bob also has a bigger say in hiring now that he's got his own team.

There’s an old cliche that says As hire As, Bs hire Cs, and Cs hire Ds. The idea is that B-players hire folks who will make them look good and who won't present a competitive threat. It’s a cliche because it’s often true. And so Bob, feeling his B-level status, begins hiring Cs.

So now the bank’s 10 has begun to perform like an 8 who’s filling his team with 7s and 6s.

7s don’t sound so bad. They’re technically above average, right?

But for every 7 you’re rostering, that’s a seat that isn’t being occupied by a 9 or 10.

A team is only as good as its weakest link, and that’s why they say 7s kill companies.

Right now we're experiencing an unprecedented moment in the American labor force. This season has been dubbed the “Summer of Quitting” and banks haven't been immune from the significant turnover that's occurring in most industries.

But this challenge also provides a unique opportunity for leaders to make a discerning assessment of their talent strategies. They have an opening to look at their existing human capital, incentives, and org structures with fresh eyes. They have a chance to realign it all in support of the cultures and strategies that will carry them into the future.

*Amber Buker, Director of Insights
**Apologies to all the "Bobs" out there! No offense intended.