As occupational and organisational psychologists we’re often asked how we differ from regular consultancies. One key area is our evidence-based approach, i.e. our structured and mindful evaluation and use of current best evidence in designing and delivering solutions. This causes us to display a healthy scepticism to even widely accepted ‘truths’ or general assumptions.

One such ‘truth’ is that most variables such as intelligence, ability, performance and talent, etc. are normally distributed throughout a given population and can be described by the famous Bell or Gaussian curve. Here you have roughly equivalent numbers of individuals distributed either side of a mean or average with outliers forming tails on the extreme left and right. Most individuals can be found in the main body of this symmetrical curve. Therefore, this model suggests that the average organisation will have a small number of very high performers, an equivalent number of very low performers and most employees clustered near the average. The following illustration shows a typical Bell or Gaussian Curve for approx. 100 individuals (click the image to enlarge it):