I recently came across this article on the INTUIT QuickBase blog and was intrigued by the premise. It asserts that inside any team or organization, you will have a bell curve of talent and intelligence – which most would agree to. It’s not a bad thing, it just happens. Regardless of how well staffed you are or how many experts you recruit, there will always be someone who stands out above the rest and someone who lags behind. Lagging behind is in this case a very relative matter and the so-called lagging individual may in fact be generating brilliant work. This curve seems to naturally exist.
While the article discusses how the groups respond to the least of the group, my interest was instead peaked by another thought. How do we each perceive ourselves within the group? From where I am standing, where do I think I am on the bell curve? In my own team, I know of individuals who depreciate their own perceived value, verbally expressing that others contribute more, have a better response time or whatever criteria you wish to judge on. That perspective can actually be quite dangerous as someone of great value may view themselves as insufficient. On the other hand, someone who views themselves as a rock star may be all flash and no substance.
More than anything, the concept triggered an awareness of my own team and helped me to think a little more about those around me and be more sensitive to issues and circumstances that I may not have otherwise thought about. All in all a good read if you have a few minutes.
I’ll echo the author’s question at the end of her article, how has the bell curve on your team affected business culture and team efficacy?