31 Oct 2020 17:31 IST

It’s organisational culture too that helps performers become stars

Performance can plummet by a good 20 per cent when a star moves to a new employer

We are living in the talent era. While everything else like supply chain, finance, quality processes, technology, and the likes, have a source of competitive parity, high quality talent alone stands out as the source of competitive advantage for companies — small and big. While job markets shrink and grow from time to time, talented people do not run out of job opportunities. Companies that are hiring even during Covid-19 times are focused on the opportunity to hire from those less fortunate competitors. And you could be one of those top talent, lured by your competition to join them.

Think before you quit your job

But think before you quit your current employer where you are regarded as a top talent. There are good reasons to do so. The lure of better titles and more compensation could strongly weigh towards your reason to quit. Particularly, when we know that hierarchies narrow at the top and even top performers slow down on their progress in their current organisations, we are even more susceptible to ‘justifying’ our decision to move out. “After all, I am a top performer and valued as such and I could make it equally great in my new and next employer as well” is the logic that most top performers use when they quit and move to other jobs!

You are only part of your success story

Part of the problem has to do with the “attribution theory”. One aspect of this theory is to do with the tendency to attribute all success to oneself (internal) and others’ success to environment (external). The reality is that no one’s success is completely one’s own! Research by Dr. Boris Groysberg of Harvard Business School has established that:

A top performer’s performance plummets by a good 20 per cent and more importantly, permanently too, when they move to a new employer.

Only 30 per cent of star performance stems from individual capabilities; the remaining 70 per cent derives from resources and qualities specific to the organisation that developed them. This includes their reputation, technology, leadership, training and team chemistry.

Star performers have a support system

When you change your job, remember you leave this 70 per cent of the support system and processes behind. This is hard to believe for most star performers because of the way organisations often also project these star performers as “uniquely gifted”. And when the performance of a star performers start to flag in the new organisations, the “former star performers” begin to wonder and feel “caught up” — caught up with the new titles and compensation, not able to make anything to change the situation they are in.

Individuals are indeed uniquely gifted and some of us more gifted than others. There are no two views about this. However, to ascribe one’s success entirely to one’s abilities and competencies leads to “illusions of grandeur” that hurt more than help in determining future success. We have noticed this with many successful CEOs who became the “shooting stars” in their changed new jobs. These were highlighted in the press, but not often with any detailed analysis of this 30 per cent (personal factors) and 70 per cent (organisational factors) for success. And when it comes to top performers at junior and middle levels, these stories are not discussed widely as case studies or even published. May be because they are too many!

Organisational culture is unique

You are brainy, ambitious, dynamic and charismatic! And you work hard and build good chemistry. You have good reason to be very proud of these qualities. Just that think of how the culture and systems, leadership and other organisational processes helped you to get where you are today. These are unique to an organisation and are difficult to replicate. As much as we would like to believe all successful organisations are known for high performance cultures (and they, of course, are!), the ingredients that make up the culture are vastly different!

So, think before you leap to the lure of better titles and money. Your top performance has to do with more than who you are and what you do.