7 Secrets to High Performance
Challenges to high performance include entitlement, unfocused energy, and soul-sucking systems.
Questions that expose high performers:
#1 What makes you think you want to be a high performer?
It helps to know why you aspire to high performance.
Saying you want a promotion is lame. Why do you want a promotion? Financial gain? Feeling respected? Making a difference? Growth and learning? Building relationships?
Purpose fuels passion.
#2. What are you DOING to show up as a high performer?
Desire is a cheap substitute for action.
If you made a list of things you’re actually DOING to be a high performer, what would be on it?
Would you say you’re a high performer because you work hard? I know lots of average performers who work very hard.
Long hours aren’t the answer to high performance either. You won’t succeed if your goal is working long hours. I know many high performers who usually eat dinner at home, contribute to their communities, and take vacations.
#3. How are you learning and changing?
The most important factors in becoming a high performer are learning, growth, and change. If you’re doing the same thing – the same way – over and over – you’re struggling toward mediocrity.
I didn’t ask WHAT are you learning and changing. I asked HOW. What’s your system?
- Read 12 books a year and implement one new idea from each.
- Meet once a month with a group of leaders who work on leadership.
- Hire a coach.
- Seek feedback once a week on specific topics from colleagues and customers. Act on it.
- Stop needing to be right. Relax. Listen more and talk less.
- Get uncomfortable. Try new things.
- Give yourself permission to make things better, regardless of your position.
Bonus: Define high performance.
How do you spot high performers?
What makes a person a high performer?
What makes a person a high performer?
I think that’s not only a great question but a key one. Do your criteria align with the organisation’s criteria?
Hey Mitch. You added an essential question. To inspire conversation you might ask, “How do your criteria align with the organizations criteria?”
I’m thankful for your own going contributions to the conversation.
You nailed it, Dan! My favorite line? “Would you say you’re a high performer because you work hard? I know lots of average performers who work very hard.” This shroud of busy-ness is a big deterrent to reaching our goals!
I’m printing your list now and posting it where I can see it daily (and act on it!)
Thanks Jennifer. Great seeing you here this morning. “The shroud of busy-ness….” Now that’s a great expression.
Unfocused busyness is a distracting waste of talent and energy. We need to evaluate the use of our energy and time. How are we achieving meaningful progress.
Busyness – I see that so much and people don’t seem to be able to get beyond it.
They are working really hard but is it driving the highest performance.
Would love to have a discussion with you folks on here to explore how we can best help our clients “remove the shroud” and drive the highest performance
How do you spot high performers? Observe their reactions to assigments, their facial responses, attitude in their reponse, manner which they walk away from you, willingness to offer alternate views to handle the assignments. Seldom do these people have to do things twice, they are correct the first time, they have faith in themselves and their partners, they build off of each others strengths.
What makes a person a high performer? Individuals who do not seek recognition, yet time and time again doing everything in their power to do things well. They will not tell you I want a raise because I just completed a task faster then expected for example. They conduct themselves in organized motions with a direction in mind before they start, much is experience driven as well as mindset driven.
Thanks Tim. It seems like you have some clear thoughts on this topic. Thanks!
Reactions are great indicators of our future. Do we lean in or pull away. Are we “NO” people or “Lets find a way” people?
Thanks for your insights.
Lifes experiences to share!
Thanks for the post Dan, it definitely got the wheels turning.
Hi Dan. It’s great to get back to your blog. I’ve been trying to get our household organised for the new year. I have spent many years on the sidelines watching my kids and their peers tackle a range of activities and it’s always pretty much the same…a couple of standouts at the front of the pack, a few straggglers down the back and the majority inbetween…the classic bell curve. When you add hard work, practice or training with that natural talent, people surge forward. Instead of saying: “I go running”, it becomes: “I am a runner”. My young daughter is a dancer and I’ve watched the older dancers leave and some are in international tours and doing well on the world stage. I think in addition to talent and hard work, there’s a drive towards perfection and self-improvement, which never dies. This can also cause great stress and inner doubt: when is good enough actually good enough?
I’ve also noticed that asking questions is a sign. You can accept the status quo. Or, you can ask how something works. Why something is done that way and come up with improvements, alternative. Not just keep a chair warm. I’m not sure that this is always the most focused approach, but I guess the key is being able to pull the different threads together, to produce a focus, a point of cohesion.
I also think pluck and luck have a role too.
For anyone interested in this topic, I highly recommend: Dan Gladwell’s: “The Outliers”.
Great seeing you here today, Rowena. I bet it’s nice and warm where you are. It’s the middle of winter here!!
Brilliant insights. “I am a runner,” is so powerful. Identity determines function. The way we define ourselves determines what we do.
Love Gladwell’s work. I think it’s Malcolm Gladwell???
PLease come back soon.
High performers have perfect alignment with a crystal clear mission, vision, and values. What they think, say, and do is also highly aligned.
They are very efficient. They don’t waste their time, effort, or resources on things that don’t add value. They are able to say “no” to everything that’s outside their priorities.
Thanks Paul. I wonder where the ability to say “no” falls on the list of factors that make us high performers.
Saying “no” is natural when we’re clear about our mission/vision/values/goals.
I see high performance as a state-of-mind. A mentality and attitude. A serious approach to the goal and objective you wish to attain. Basically, you are reaching for something higher and greater than yourself. So, realistically it would involve a great deal of work. How one initiates an approach and completion of that particular work is vital to success.
Thought provoking post. High performance offends. Why? Because it evokes comparison. High performance is “a better, faster, or more efficient system, product, employee, etc”, therefore it can arouse jealousy and coveting in the mediocre. And high performers don’t just want “better”, they want “best”. Always.
I joined Rotary International so that I could be around others with positive leadership skills. I was tired of butting heads with poor leadership almost everywhere. Our Rotary club is actually know for its projects in North Korea. Talk about challenging the status quo. People need positive help everywhere in the world.
An interesting post!
I had gone through the first 2 steps to prove myself as a distinct good performer during my initial career at the pharma industry. My good professonal boss had actually talked to me in confidence about the 3rd step of new learning and suggested me to raise my standard with better use of tevhnology and innovation at work to remain more competitive in future.
I was bit upset at that time since I was denied the much expected promotion. But, it was for my own good with futuristic outlook.
Some people believe that putting in extra hours in the office makes them a high performer, but my view is that quantity is never a substitute for quality. Working on projects that make an organizational impact is much better than doing working in silos. Collaboration is better than competition.
Been a long-time follower of this blog, and must say that today’s read pure gold! (Then add to that the gems in so many of the comments.) I’m off off to do some implementing … to disembark from my unconscious life-long pursuit of mediocrity! Raising the bar and improving my performance will be to the benefit of my family, community, employer and clients. Can immediately think of a number ‘measures’. Looking forward to reflecting at the end of 2018! Thank you all!!
12 books a year and implement one new idea from each. Simple and effective. I just finished one book.