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FCW : February 2013
24 February 2013 FCW.COM LEARN FROM SUCCESS HOW TO Technology executives at federal agen- cies must oversee and develop a wide range of employees: longtime civil ser- vants, political appointees, their own hires and (far more often) those they have inherited. The performance and potential matrix, commonly referred to as the 9-box, is a simple yet effective tool used to assess, manage and develop talent in organizations. It assesses individuals on two dimensions: their past performance and their future potential. The 9-box helps a leadership team differentiate talent so that managers can better capitalize on and deploy it. Some people are better suited to a specialist position, while others might have the potential to move into a larger role. Although the 9-box is a versatile tool with many variations, it typically looks BY JULIE WINKLE GIULIONI "Learn from your mistakes. " How frequently do we hear that --- or some- thing similar? Failure is touted as one of the most powerful teachers we'll ever meet. It's been elevated in some cases to a magical sta- tus that can produce outcomes of legendary proportions. (Think 3M and the less-sticky glue that ultimately birthed adhesive notes.) As a result, over the course of our lives, most of us have become very adept at recog- nizing our mistakes and missteps. We spend considerable time re ecting on what went wrong and our role in it. (Some of us have raised this to an art form --- or obsession.) And most people can outline exactly what they won't ever do again to avoid problems from the past. We do indeed learn from our mistakes. But can we say the same about our suc- cesses? When something goes well, do we invest the same evaluative energy? When we reach (or beat) our goals, do we conduct a robust "after action review" to get to the bot- tom of what went right? No! And it's an enormous missed oppor- tunity. Excellence is based not just on xing mistakes but also on leveraging what's going well toward even greater results. The work of Gallup, Zenger Folkman and others has changed how we think about strengths. Today we know that focusing on strengths and dedicating time and attention to growing them can have a huge impact on per- formance (versus working like a dog to over- come weaknesses). A similar movement needs to take hold in the failure/success arena. Why do we fail to embrace success as a teacher? Why do we miss the opportunity to squeeze learning out of those situations that turn out just like (or even better than) we planned? I'll speak for myself. I'm generally "on to the next" by the time the results of previous efforts become evident. At that point, there's no time to wallow in my success. If I'd screwed up, failure would grab me by the throat and force attention, but success just slips quietly into the night. What if we could develop as much disci- pline wringing learning out of what's worked as we do out of what hasn't? We can! And I believe it can be as productive as --- and even more energizing and fun than --- focusing on failure. The next time something goes well, consider the following questions: 1. Why exactly am I so pleased with the results? Being clear about how we de ne success and what it involves is the rst step toward being able to create more of it. 2. What speci c steps did I/we take to contribute to the success? When we recognize what we did to help generate the positive results, we can replicate the produc- tive steps and even teach others. 3. Who else helped make this success possible? Success is rarely the product of a one-man show. Recognizing who's helped How to assess your team Organizational success and individual employee development need accurate measures of performance and potential Executive Handbook BY DAN McCARTHY
March 15, 2013