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So, I've worked with the Navy seals. And I asked them “How do you pick, like, the guys that go on Seal Team 6?”, right, because they’re the best of the best of the best of the best. And they drew a graph for me. And a one axis they wrote the word “performance: and on the other axis they wrote the word “trust”.
The way they define the terms is performance is “performance on the battlefield” and trust is “performance off the battlefield”. So, “performance” is your skills, it is “Did you make your quarterly earnings?”, whatever, however you want to translate it, you know, performance, in the traditional sense. “Trust” is how are you off the battlefield, it is “What kind of person are you?” The way they put it is: “I may trust you with my life, but do I trust you with my money and my wife?”
And this is what they told me: so, of course, nobody wants the low performer of low trust; and of course, everybody wants the high performer of high trust. But what they learned is that another person, the high performer of low trust is a toxic leader and a toxic team member, and they would rather have a medium performer of high trust, sometimes even a low performer of high trust than this person. This is the highest performing organization on the planet and in it a low performer of high trust is more important than the high performer of low trust.
And the problem in business is that we have lopsided metrics. We have a million and one metrics to measure someone's performance and negligible to no metrics to measure someone's trustworthiness. So, what we end up doing is promoting or bonusing toxicity in our businesses which is bad for the long game because it eventually destroys the whole organization.
The irony is that it's unbelievably easy to find these people. Go to any team and say “Who's the asshole?” and they will all point to the same person. Equally, if you go to any team and say “Who do you trust more than anybody else? Who's always got your back and will be there with you when the chips are down?” and they will also all point to the same person. That’s the best gifted natural leader who’s creating an environment for everybody else to succeed. And they may not be your most individual highest performer, but that person, you better keep them on your team.
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