Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Simple High Performance Model

I just made this up. Comments?

PLEASE steal it, adapt it, (there's no copyright), use it to assess talent, and stop tolerating crappy behavior in exchange for results.


Anonymous said...

Ha! This made me smile, Dan. Until of course I began to plot where I might fall in the matrix! More seriously though I appreciate its simplicity. The only suggestion I might make is to replace the word "likability" with "trustworthiness" or "respectability" or something that more totally captures the essence of emotional intelligence.

I have to wonder, though, if this simple, effective and very humorous matrix wasn't developed by you in response to something you're currently dealing with?? Regardless, I find it refreshingly honest and simple.

Finally, it struck me that I much prefer your EI dimension to one that a former team member of mine came up with, which was "values," as in how well people conformed to corporate-espoused values. EI is well developed, allowing people to actually have a defined set of criteria against which to assess an individual. Corporate values are far more subjective and often just mean "do I like what you're doing?"

Karina Mikhli said...

I think this is great and dead-on. The problems are the people in the gray areas, but those one can assess after training and effort.

Henkle said...

Great depiction Dan & love the names used!Would appreciate your input on nametags for an 8quadrant extention of your model ????


Unknown said...

I'd rather include a middle line where people are learning and are not jerks.

Karina Mikhli said...

I actually gave this some more thought and although I still agree, I think for this to be more effective, it needs to either be put in context of a certain job and/or have job types that go along with each of the quadrants. I say this because there are jobs out there for each of the types and one where someone with more emotional intelligence than technical will actually excel while his counterpart won't.

Billy Kirsch said...

Love this Dan,

But on the EQ side, the choices are limited, jerk or idiot. I guess I'd choose loveable idiot! I will share this.

Dan McCarthy said...

Anon –
Thanks, I’m glad to have made you smile. Right, I thought about “values”, “interpersonal skills”, “behaviors”, etc….feel free to substitute.
The concept of the importance of behaviors when assessing overall performance is not based on any recent experience. It’s been a drum I’ve been banging my entire career, and have written about it quite a bit on this blog. The topic just came up again in a recent Leadership Development Roundtable Challenge (the case of “Joe”).

Karina – (comment #1)
Thanks. As with any 4 quadrant model, someone can be anywhere on the chart, perhaps straddling a line. And yes, both are learnable, although some would say you should “hire for attitude and train for skills”.

Henkle –
Thanks! 8 quadrants? I thought you could only have 4, 9, 16, etc….?

Pitch black –
Sure, no one is a “10” in both areas, so you plot them on the chart wherever they are. The 4 labels were somewhat tongue in cheek and could be misleading.

Karina (comment #2) –
There are jobs for incompetent jerks? We could have some fun with that. Readers, can you think of any?(-:

Billy –
Thanks. Right, it really should be looked at as a 10 point scale.

Jennifer V. Miller said...


I like the two axes-- technical ability and EI.

Intuitively, this makse sense, as we all know people in these 4 quadrants.

How about from a practical sense? Could we use this to help develop people's skills? On that point, I'm not sure. What I first noticed when reading this is that three of the four boxes have labels that are highly judgemental-- "lovable idiot", so you couldn't realistically use this as a coaching devcice because it would put people on the defensive to be labled in such a way.

Perhaps a reframing of the labels would help it be more useful. For example, what would you call someone whose EI is high, but tech skills are low because they've been hired into an industry that's new to them?

Karina Mikhli said...


I agree about hiring for attitude but base skills should be there, otherwise you're not doing either of you a favor.

And maybe that one quadrant doesn't have jobs associated with it, but the others do.

John Spence said...

Love it Dan -- perfect! I will absolutely steal this (and give you credit!!!) -- this will be wonderful in some of my speeches - thanks -- John

Dan McCarthy said...

Jennifer -
Right, again, it was meant to make a point in a humorous way,vs. being used in a serious way. I don't see many HR departments or coaches adopting it. Unless they are an HR department or coach with an odd sense of humor nd lots of job security. (-:

Karina -
Right, both are important for sure.

John -
Great, I hope it gets you a good laugh and makes the point too.

Derek Irvine, Globoforce said...

Brilliant, Dan. The top left must be exited immediately. The bottom left must be trained (and other intervention) to see if can develop them away from "jerk" behavior. The bottom right - well, must try to find the roles they can deliver in.

But the top left - there can be no discussion or hesitation on the part of management. Bullies must go. I just wrote about this on my blog on Friday saying:

The only thing you can do with bullies is to exit them from the organization. If your goal is to create a culture of recognition and appreciation in your organization, there is simply no room for those who believe bullying tactics work.

The rest of that post is available here:

Angel Gomez said...

Dan - Came across your blog. Overall, great job. As for this model, love and will absolutely use it with my clients feeling the pain of the differences on their teams.

Ben Brabyn said...

Love the model Dan. It reminds me of the report written about a military officer whose technical ability didn't match his charm:

Men will follow this officer anywhere - if only out of curiosity!

Cindy Flanders said...

This model is simple, funny and spot on. If only companies could use something like this that is more reflective of real life than the cumbersome, convoluted assessment tools they use today. it would make the manager's job so much easier.

Dan McCarthy said...

Derek -
Thanks, I like your recommendations. Good post on bullies too.

Angel -
Great, I'm glad you found it!

Ben -
Thanks! and I see you were a Royal Marine, very cool.

Cindy -
Thanks. Good luck with your new site, it looks promising.

Christian Fey said...

Dan, you made my morning just a little bit better! It's very similar to other models I've seen, just with a humorous twist that makes it legible to the most brilliant problem child or even incompetent jerk! I'll be saving this for some post in the future! Thanks!

Dan McCarthy said...

Christian -
Thanks, I'm so thrilled this simple model has been so well received. It makes me want to create more of them - sure is easier than writing. (-: