Break the Trance of Goodness


Here’s the story: John works for Maria and things are not going well.


John’s a good person: solid character, reliable, the sort of person you wish was your neighbor. Ironically, that’s part of Maria’s problem.


While John is a good person, his performance is also “good.” And today, that’s not good enough.


Maria knows John has so much more potential. She’s caught, however, in the trance of goodness: She can’t tell the complete truth to John because good people don’t hurt other good people. This is why her team languishes in a performance abyss, a workspace void of change.


Good people who perform badly are easy to address. As well, “bad” people who perform well are even easier to deal with than the Maria and John scenario: Good people doing “good enough” work.


Good people deserve to be told the truth. Negligence in leadership occurs when A) Maria believes John can’t handle her perspectives of his work, B) John doesn’t know how Maria is “keeping score” of his performance, C) Maria isn’t clear about objectives and motivations, and D) Maria is irregular in her feedback, and limits it to words like, “Good job.”


The above may be common sense – but our days in the field show it’s not commonly applied. Which brings us to the tragedy. Unless the trance of goodness is broken, John will be shuffled to the side – or worse – Out.


Therein lies the potential: What if your organization is filled with good people just like John, who are simply waiting to be activated to greatness by your leadership?




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