Set-Up-to-Fail Syndrome: Overcoming the Undertow of Expectations

Overview

Do you have an employee whose performance keeps deteriorating—despite your close monitoring? Brace yourself: You may be at fault—by unknowingly triggering the set-up-to-fail syndrome. Perhaps things started off swimmingly. But then something—a missed deadline, a lost client—made you question the person's performance. You began micromanaging him. Suspecting your reduced confidence, he started doubting himself—and stopped giving his best. You viewed his new behavior as additional proof of mediocrity, and tightened ...

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Set-up-to-Fail Syndrome: Overcoming the Undertow of Expectations

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Overview

Do you have an employee whose performance keeps deteriorating—despite your close monitoring? Brace yourself: You may be at fault—by unknowingly triggering the set-up-to-fail syndrome. Perhaps things started off swimmingly. But then something—a missed deadline, a lost client—made you question the person's performance. You began micromanaging him. Suspecting your reduced confidence, he started doubting himself—and stopped giving his best. You viewed his new behavior as additional proof of mediocrity, and tightened the screws further. In The Set-Up-to-Fail Syndrome, Jean-Francois Manzoni and Jean-Louis Barsoux show how this insidious cycle hurts everyone: employees stop volunteering ideas, preventing your organization from getting the most from them; you lose energy to attend to other activities; and your reputation suffers as other employees deem you unfair. Team spirit wilts as targeted performers are alienated. But the set-up-to-fail syndrome doesn't have to happen. The authors provide preventive measures, such as loosening the reins as new employees master their jobs. If the syndrome has already erupted, Manzoni and Barsoux explain how to discuss the dynamic with your employee and reverse the cycle.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781422102848
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
  • Publication date: 2/12/2007
  • Edition description: First Trade Paper Edition
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 898,871
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Jean-Francois Manzoni is Professor of Leadership and Organizational Development at IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland. His research, teaching, and consulting activities center on the management of change at the individual and organizational levels. Jean-Louis Barsoux is a Research Fellow at IMD. His doctoral thesis provided the foundation for Management in France, which won the Management Consultancies Association for Book of the Year in 1990.

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Table of Contents


Preface     ix
Acknowledgments     xi
The Set-Up-to-Fail Syndrome     1
When Common Sense Fails Us     17
Set-Up-to-Fail: A Vicious Cycle     45
Labels, Biases, and Misperceptions     67
Colluding to Collide     87
The Cost Iceberg     113
Blinders of Our Own Making     135
Cracking the Syndrome     161
Preventing the Set-Up-to-Fail Syndrome: Lessons from the "Syndrome Busters"     197
Getting There     221
Notes     251
Index     271
About the Authors     279
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