Bad to Terrible or Good to Great?

I learned a great term the other day, have you heard of the “Amplification Principle”?  If you haven’t heard of it yet, I’m sure that you have experienced it in recent weeks. This principle refers to the notion that management skills are amplified in virtual space: a good manager looks excellent in a virtual space and a poor manager looks worse (Neal Gandhi, 2009).  The good manager is amplified to “great”, the poor manager to “terrible”.  Leaders have nowhere to hide in this virtual reality where their interactions with others can either be powerful or miss the mark entirely.

As I reflect back on some of the challenges our clients are experiencing right now, this principle really resonates.  During this crisis, leadership success, or lack thereof, is being amplified, with strong leaders appearing wonderful and poor performing leaders appearing incompetent.

This current crisis is exposing talent gaps across many businesses.  Gaps in experience, competence, and resilience.  These gaps are being amplified to a degree not yet experienced within the previously normal ‘in-person’ reality.  I know many leaders who wished they had ‘released to the market’ a few known challenges (poor performers) that are now having an amplified negative effect on the business.  So what advice can we offer the leaders who are living with these amplifications?

Advice for Leaders

  1. Take a look around your business and recognize those leaders that have been amplified to great! They deserve your appreciation and acknowledgement, especially if you intend to retain these individuals during your recovery and return.  
  2. Review your business and be honest about the talent gaps that are being negatively amplified, and capture the skills or capabilities that are missing.
  3. Build a holistic view of your current and desired organizational capabilities, talent requirements, and gaps, as you see them in this amplified moment.  This urgent and important work will be critical to ensure the talent gaps exposed persist only in the short-term.
  4. Outline your 6B strategy to remedy these gaps (Buy, Borrow, Build, Bounce, Boost and Bind).  Leadership may not be in the mental or financial state to execute on this plan today, but once the business is in recovery, they will be thankful for a roadmap that ensures improved leadership performance. 

Having a talent demand plan such as this will help to ensure the right people are in the right place at the right time to accomplish the future objectives of the organization. This new virtual reality is the future leaders will need to embrace, long after the crises has subsided, where good is amplified to great.  Don’t miss this opportunity to acknowledge your current reality and proactively plan for recovery!

Marnie Smith Partner
Lighthouse NINE Group
One Eva Road, Suite 209 | Etobicoke, ON M9C 4Z5
Office: 647-627-6276
Marnie Smith LinkedIn

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