Review of Time, Talent, Energy

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  • Analytical
  • Well Structured
  • Concrete Examples


This overview by two Bain & Company partners compiles the critical elements of creating a high-performance culture. Michael Mankins and Eric Garton explored the performance of 25 firms over several years to understand how those firms drive top-quartile performance. They say organizations should empower employees, remove performance obstacles, hold them accountable and support them with inspiring leadership. Those familiar with performance management and engagement will find this a concise, compelling refresher. For those new to the field, it’s a good place to start.

About the Authors

Michael Mankins and Eric Garton lead Bain & Company as partners in the San Francisco and Chicago offices, respectively.


Your People Matter

Mankins and Garten suggest that until recently, wise and strategic use of financial assets was the main route to business success. But today, they maintain, any mildly successful firm can access capital. Sound financial management matters, but it no longer differentiates. Talent, the authors assert, now sets organizations apart. The depth and quality of your people, and especially how you lead, deploy and inspire them, drive business success. “Too many companies,” the authors write, “are living in yesterday’s world. They are seeking competitive advantage through traditional methods, and they aren’t finding it.”

They find that talent management presents greater complexities than hard-asset management. For example, your people may strive to excel but your rules, processes and unnecessary layers of management could create “drag” on their performance. The top quartile of firms know they must hire and keep great people. They realize those people have limited time and energy, so they free their time for productive work and create conditions in which people can maximize their energy. To get these things right, they focus on corporate culture. They realize that when good people fail, often the firm, not its employees, must accept the blame.

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