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Nice piece, Howard!!

Seems to me that about the ONLY place identifying performance excellence does not matter is with governmental agencies. Our studies of private sector CEO views of total rewards suggests that finding and rewarding the 'eagles' is clearly a priority. Many CEOs, however, believe performance management as currently practice falls short of the 'identifying and rewarding excellence goal'. In the public sector, however, while lip service is given to 'excellence' and 'performance' it is clear that the concepts of 'tenure' and 'entitlement' or 'political correctness' are more likely to govern how rewards are managed.

Every CEO I have ever spoken to in the private sector believes most business value is provided by no more than 40% of their workforce. The challenge they assign to total rewards pros is getting that job done.

Nice to see Howard on this blog. He has certainly 'turned around' C&BR and deserves more acknowledgement for his lasting contributions to the literature in our profession.

Hear, hear! Howard has battled longer and more valiantly for P4P in the public sector than anyone else in my memory. Jay's memory goes back even farther, and his compliments to Howard are well deserved. They also should be prized, since Jay glories in acting curmudgeonly and such effusive praise is rare from him.

Hello Jim:

I believe Howard (and every taxpayer in America) has 'lost' in the fight for improving talent quality, customer service, and rewarding performance in the public sector.

But there is still a chance in the private sector because 'those at the top' remain interested due to the belief that people's performance affects organizational performance.

When have you ever seen some governmental leader (or even a curmudgeon in a leadership role) sponsor paying the top 40% of the public sector performers more than those standing in line waiting for 'crop failure'?

Mr. Obama finally put an end to the person who sat on top of "Health and Human Services" and brought us all just the sort of leadership the roll out of universal healthcare did not need and a website that did not work. In Los Angeles we have struggled to provide a quality education to students and families for years. Yet political and school leadership continues to tell us it is the fault of the taxpayer and not the teachers and administrators who's job it is to teach the children.

Enough! Jim, I will withhold the 'effusive praise' I was going to pass in your direction today because it sounds like someone spiked your oat meal this morning.

Good point, Jay. Maybe that pineapple slice was fermented... ;-)

Thank you Howard for this post! I am honored by your continuing the discussion of bell curves vs. power curves. And stating that I am partially correct is high praise from you indeed! The employees that are not "outliers" are very important --- no question --- and they should have opportunities to develop and move up in the organization. All I am saying here is that key/critical talent in the business world is #1. Take care of it first. As important as all the other employees are ---- these folks can make or break the company.

I think your post "Ding! Dong! The Wicked Bell Curve is Dead" was spot on. You and Howard Risher both do a creditable job of discrediting the long established practice of applying the normalized distribution or bell-shaped curve to human job performance.

I believe Howard Risher's analogies relative to football superstars support the primary points you made in the post. Performance, whether it is on the turf or in an office cubicle looks a lot more like the "power curve" than it does the bell-curve.

Your quote of Josh Bersin: ". . . a small number of people deliver an inordinate amount of contribution" tends to effectively capture the main points made in your post as well as those made in Howard Risher's post. You compared it to the 80/20 rule in which 80% of the work is done by 20% of the people. In some cases this may even be a 90/10 or 95/5 rule in my opinion.

This logic resonates with my observations of performance as I look back over my almost 40 years of compensation experience.

I have a feeling that the points made in your post also resonated with many of the "Peyton Mannings" of the compenstion profession - judging by the names of those responding.

Jim Johnson

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