Why performers fail so early in their life?

vidyab blog foundertalks


Guys who were really dedicated and intelligent during their schooling days, are failing to make the impact now. Gals who were driven to achieve anything in her life fail to proceed comfortably in the corporate setup. 

Have you ever wondered why Raunak failed miserably in the job? Why Rohan failed to make his mark as Product Manager? Why was Rupali never promoted to senior management? We rarely do. We rarely discuss that they were performers at some point in their life. Raunak was the topper of the class throughout his schooling. Rohan was Institute Rank 3 during his MBA. Rupali was a top performer during her initial 4 years of corporate life. But they all failed in a corporate setup.

But what we discuss is, Why Siddharth was promoted? Why Sandeep got the leadership role? Why Sapna got board seat? During these discussions, we always point out their past failures and highlight that they never went to a good school? She hardly knows, how to complete the task on time? He hardly knows, how to write a proposal?

However, there is the third category of exceptional souls who does well in all stages of their life. We accept the achievements of these guys wholeheartedly and get inspired by them. They don’t have aberrations. They are Raghu Ram Rajan of the world. We don’t discuss them during our typical coffee break.

The categorisation of performers based on their stage of delivering performance

Categorisation of performers

  • Toddler Performer — Topper in school but fails in a corporate setup. Here Raunak represents them.
  • Hard-Working Performer — Works hard at entry-level jobs but fails to get promoted to mid/senior management. Sandeep is one of them.
  • Smart-Working Performer — Have got good influence and knows how to manoeuvre in corporate set up. Reaches to senior management or to board. Sapna comes from this group.
  • Evergreen Performer- Performs all level. Raghu Ram Rajan of the world.

I always wondered: Why is it so? Guys who were really dedicated and intelligent during their schooling days, are failing to make the impact now. Gals who were driven to achieve anything in her life fail to proceed comfortably in the corporate setup. On the other hand, we have guys who never cared to study during their childhood are doing exceptionally well now.

The CEO Factory — A Bible

My curiosity to understand these outcomes were satisfied after I read the book “ The CEO Factory: Management Lessons from Hindustan Unilever.”

The author, Sudhir Sitapati writes that HUL measures calibre using three criteria: JDI, which stands for judgement, drive and influence. Judgement is the ability to make the right decisions. D rive is the ability and desire to get things done. Influence is getting the world to see your point of view.

My interpretation of JDI Framework (as described in the book)

JDI Model explained — How to get in to Junior Management and Mid Management

To succeed at the junior level of the company, people just need to have the DRIVE to complete the task. They must meet deadlines and produce quality outputs. They are the most dedicated and hardest working guys in the company. But get promoted to Mid-level management, they need to learn to INFLUENCE. They need to learn to get the work done from their sister teams (read Tech-Product, Sales-Operations). They should have the ability to inspire another person to prioritize their task. They should have convincing power to motivate their team to work towards a common goal. Then they can reach mid-management.

JDI Model explained — How to get in to Senior Management and Board

However, In order to proceed further in the hierarchy, they need to have good JUDGEMENT. There is no course that can teach them this subject. Judgement is nothing but the ability to take the decision without looking into data. This trait comes from the experience. We also call it a hunch. People who have worked religiously during their career, generally develop the sixth sense and become comfortable with that. If you can correctly predict 70% of the outcome based on your hunch, you are the ideal candidate for senior management. In our organisation, we have Jacob, who rejected the candidate just by smelling his I Card because he felt that candidate was involved in some illegal activities. After a few days, he rejected another guy, just by looking at his teeth. Teeth says a lot about your personality. This makes him an ideal candidate for senior management.

Last but not least is the CHARACTER, If you are true to yourself, if you have integrity, someday you will find yourself in any of the board meetings.

Collection of Hard Working Performers in Daalchini

Unknowingly, we at Daalchini have hired hard-working performers. Joy who is class 8 pass has the desire to work and we built up his abilities to enable him to become a perfect junior manager ( More details here). He is the first one to arrive at the office in the morning and the last one to leave. He has continued this routine for over 24 months now. Nirmal, who has a humble beginning, is not only hardworking and can also influence anyone by his logic and intellect, making him an ideal candidate for mid-management. Jacob has an amazing sense of judging character (Sixth Sense), an ability he has developed over 10–15 years of managing people. ( More Details here). Thanks to JDI, now I could see how this set-up had been formed. And perhaps the healthy mix of members with drive, influence and judgement makes them a terrific team.

Word of caution: We can jump 1–2 ladders but not all. For example, if you don’t have the DRIVE but have INFLUENCE, you can still make a cut to mid-management. But If you don’t have influence but have good JUDGEMENT, you can enter into leadership team but chances are less. If you have only CHARACTER, but don’t have Judgement or Influence, you will never be able to enter into board room unless you are top class shrewd politician/diplomat.

Let the Performer in us succeed: Let’s identify our JDI Moment and work on our shortcomings. Let the performer in us learn new skills to keep us performing well in the next phase of our life. I hope We can save the performer in us from failing.

Bonus tip for hiring manager: If you want to plan the progression of top guys, my suggestion is to read the book. In short, the Author has listed six principles of the HUL way of people management — get them early, train them well, build their careers, encourage diversity, reward performance and instil values.

Free feel to share your thoughts at

#TeamBuilding #Operations #HR #Hiring #Performer #Leadership

Originally published at on May 17, 2020.

WRITTEN BY Vidya Bhushan

Experienced Co-Founder with a demonstrated history of working in the internet and payment industry. I share my views at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

scroll to top