You may have heard of the Lake Wobegon effect. That’s a concept of performance based on the tagline at the end of host Garrison Keillor’s monologue on his weekly radio show in which he describes the mythical town of Lake Wobegon as a place “where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average."

It’s a town where excellence is the norm. You’d think it’s the kind of performance that most companies seek. In fact, it’s one of the things they seek least often, because most companies are committed to the average—they manage to the bell curve. That is often illustrated in performance reviews.

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