Some time ago, a senior Microsoft executive observed that the top 0.1% of all Microsoft software developers are more than 1000 times more productive than the average software developer at Microsoft.
It implies that advancements in a company like Microsoft is driven by a handful of super-talented individuals.
This insight is key for leading high-performance teams: Teams which are able to consistently achieve big goals with the least amount of effort.
High-performance leadership means a relentless focus on making sure that team members take away all obstacles for your few super-talents to perform.
For example, a top surgeon does not clean her operating tools, or pulls her weight doing the hospital laundry. Instead, a high-performance hospital team is focused on making sure she can apply her surgeon’s super-talents as much as possible: Diagnosis, surgery, and review.
This approach is obvious, but not easy when leading a team. The biggest obstacle is our own ego: It’s confronting to realize we are not a super-talent ourselves.
Furthermore, it requires being honest to other team members to make clear they are not super-talents either. Instead, they have a different role to play: To add massive value by helping the real super-talents in the team to perform at their best.
After all, a rising tide lifts all boats.