Why does almost every employer on the planet have a “normal” distribution of performance appraisal scores?
Why do so many companies think we humans fall into three groups: a very small number of superior performers, a relatively small number of substandard performers and a huge number of average types in the middle?
Well, guess what. We don’t. There’s absolutely nothing normal about the normal distribution. The construct was created to describe the behavior of data, not people.
Every human, on the other hand, is born as a “person of talent.” Contrary to the prevailing view of made-for-TV dance contests, talent isn’t reserved for extraordinary people or exceptional deeds. It is the “capacity for excellence.” And, that capacity is an attribute of our species. Like our opposable thumb, it is one of the characteristics that defines being human.
The challenge for each and all of us, therefore, is to discover the talent with which we’ve been endowed. Now, some will tell you that your talent is your passion. It’s not. I’m passionate about tennis, but Roger Federer has nothing to worry about from me.
No, talent is the intersection of passion AND practicality. It is what you love to do AND do best. Figure that out, bring that to work with you, and you will force your employer to recognize the excellence with which you work.