How does environment drive performance? - Karthik Siva - MARKETING Magazine Asia


How does environment drive performance? – Karthik Siva

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When you take an outstanding talent and put her in a mediocre environment, this talent slowly ends up becoming a mediocre performer.

The converse is true as well – when you take a mediocre talent, and put him in an enriching environment, this talent becomes an outstanding performer.

A great metaphor to consider is this – if you take a slice of fresh cucumber, and put it in a jar of vinegar – this fresh cucumber begins to taste like vinegar.

This is because the “ vinegar environment “ transforms cucumber into a bitter and pungent tasting pickle.

Kurt Lewin, a social scientist offered a powerful formula in the 1950s. This formula became widely adopted by institutions across the world.

The formula was quite deceptive – RESULTS = ENVIRONMENT X TALENT.

This simply means that if you want great results or performance, you need not just talent, but an excellent environment as well.

This is why outstanding corporations and institutions that we admire like PIXAR and LEGO offer their people enriching and stimulating environments. These institutions have long understood this secret recipe for great performance.

So as a leader, whether of a sports team, university, business or Govt institution, it is vitally important to note how the environment shapes talent and drives performance.

Or to reframe this proposition simply – your environment can either dramatically sap talent or tap it!


Karthik Siva is a highly acclaimed and respected international strategy consultant, nation branding expert and leadership mentor to CEOs and entrepreneurs. He is the Chairman of Global Entrepreneur Xchange, the founding Chairman of Global Brand Forum, Asia’s most influential Forum for brands, business and leadership, described by BBC as the “Davos of Branding” and by Straits Times Singapore as the “World Cup of Branding”.

Karthik is also a highly sought after keynote speaker and trainer in international and regional forums. Karthik’s leadership and expertise has been recognized and commended by several CEOs and entrepreneurs including Nobel prize winner and former Vice President of the United States – Al Gore. Karthik is also the author of Tools, Tips & Thoughts for Entrepreneurs, SPARK and How to Present and Persuade with Power?.


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