Preventing the Set-Up-to-Fail Syndrome

Lessons from the “Syndrome Busters”

I never criticize a player until they are first convinced of my unconditional confidence in their abilities.

—John Robinson, football coach

WHEN EXECUTIVES we have worked with begin to realize the impact of their differentiated behavior on perceived weaker performers, they invariably ask us with great anxiety in their voices: “Does that mean we should behave the same way with all our subordinates?” The answer of course is no, for two reasons: First, even if bosses wanted to behave the same way, they would not be able to. It is simply impossible to do! Second and fortunately, they do not have to. It is quite possible to behave differently with various ...

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