Sometimes, "below average" is good enough. (And sometimes, "above average" isn't.)

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Sometimes, “below average” is good enough.

You may have heard of the “Lake Wobegon” effect, named after Garrison Keillor’s fictional Minnesota town where “all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.”

While it’s obviously impossible for every member of a group to be above average for the group in any one skill, it’s certainly possible for each person to be above average in different but complementary skills. That’s important to remember when you’re putting together your team, when your finding your own place within a team, or when you’re trying to decide what team you want to be on.

Leadership and executive coaches like me often start an engagement with standardized assessments. When you get your results, don’t get thrown off by the areas where you may find yourself rated below average. Also, if you’re being compensated around the top twenty-fifth percentile for a particular skill, don’t get too comfortable if your performance is merely above average.

My favorite assessment tool offers behavioral competency and success reports that compare your strengths against the indicators of success for a given role. This helps you focus your personal development plan on the areas that are likely to be most meaningful for you as you grow, rather than just looking at how you compare against a standard population.

If you’re interested in the kind of assessment and coaching that will help you grow in your most meaningful areas, let’s talk.

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