WOW – Watch Out for the Whelmers…

Watch Out for the Whelmer Vampire

Chip Conley has written a great book called PEAK – How great companies get their mojo from Maslow. In it he gives grave warning of the dangers of whelmers.

According to Chip there are three types of recruit in your organisation.

There are the over-whelmers – those people that ‘over-whelm’ you with their energy, skill, passion and enthusiasm. These people are what you need. They provide the foundations on which excellent can be built. However you will need to work hard, very hard, to recruit and retain them. These people have choices about where they work – so why should they choose to stick with you?

Then there are the under-whelmers – those that leave you distinctly unimpressed. According to Chip these don’t constitute a real problem either – because they are easily recognised and managed. As a consequence they either perform or get fired. I only wish it were this simple – but I do get the point. Under performance is easily recognised and can then be managed if you have the courage and commitment to do so.

The real dangers are those people that neither over nor under whelm. These are the whelmers. Their work is OK without being great. Customers are satisfied without being thrilled. Colleagues have kind of got used to the mediocrity. And the over-whelmers will not want to be any where near them as they sap energy and enthusiasm. They are passion vampires.

And this is the pernicious culture killer – mediocrity. If the whelmers are allowed to carve out a quiet life of mediocrity they will drag the culture of your organisation down to their level.

In the words of the legendary Van Morrison:

“You gotta fight every day to keep mediocrity at bay”.

More From Tom Peters

Tom Peters was back in London recently.  Here are some highlights…

“Remember. You are the only human being in the world who can help this particular customer at this particular moment in time.”

“The thing that keeps a business ahead of the competition is excellence in execution.”

“Brand inside is more important than brand outside for sustained success.”

“Make sure that you spend your time on the things you say are your priorities.”

“It’s remarkable how quickly an excellent culture can be torn apart by poor management.”

“Irrelevance comes from always doing the things you know how to do in the way you’ve always done them.”

“If you love your company and love what you do, you will serve your customers better—period!”