These are really driven from the book I'm currently reading "Contagious Success" by Susan Lucia Annunzio. The book is awesome and I highly recommend it to anyone who has a mind to make things better wherever they are.
Thoughts on how to improve a company.
1. bring up the bottom.
2. move the middle
3. move the top.
All of these will be useful. The biggest benefit is to take the high performers and make them even higher performers.
Then you can split them into a SWAT unit that works with the best of the middle until they also become high performers.
This will provide more high performers within the company and increase the performance of the existing high performers.
What about brining up the bottom? This should be the last thing done. It would appear to be the first thing done, but if the initial investment is to bring up the bottom then those who are the highest performers will see that the spending is going to those who do the least and don't desreve it. They will then become disenfanchised, their performance will drop and they could leave. Keeping the high performers has got to be the number one priority. How hurt will the company be if the low performers become disenfranchised and leave? Now they cannot be excluded forever, but first the high performers must be happy. Content is not enough, they must be happy. There's nothing wrong with providing additional perks to high performers, beyond salary. Flex hours, work from home, etc. These things keep the high performers happy, and create a desire for the lower performers to increase their performance. After all they could potentially get these same benefits.