An effective individual, when presented with a new project, will quickly identify what their performance results should be. If the result is not obvious to them immediately, they’ll focus on getting it clearly defined before they start.
The inherent performance characteristics of a top performer will normally prompt questions such as:
1. What are we trying to achieve with this project or job?
2. Where are we going with this?
3. What is the main objective of this project or job?
In simple terms, a top performer is a results-oriented individual, so they will naturally have their focus on the overall picture. They will also want to put their results into context with the rest of the project and operation, and quickly align their results with the overall objectives of the bigger picture.
They either already know what the results should be or they will quickly determine them. And they’ll do this before they begin the new project or job.
Non-performers have to continually be directed and supervised. You can’t take your focus or attention off their area because it might go off the rails if you do. This can cause problems for executives and managers alike.
Their Actions are Effective
Have you ever had someone persistently come back to you with questions and problems? Top performers won’t do that, they’ll find a way to solve and overcome any barriers they come across. They’re not robots following blind orders but will use their intelligence and experience to solve the obstacles. Sometimes the barriers are substantial, but a top performer’s measure is their ability to get the results no matter what. Of course, there has to be a degree of intelligence in the way in which they achieve their results.
Sometimes you’ll meet someone who’s very big on ideas. They can appear to be a top performer, because they seem to have the first trait of being able to see the end results. The only problem? It’s all theory, with no capability of getting into action to produce those results. Such people put a lot of importance on their job titles or academic achievements. They act as if having such status is all they need to get by. But don’t be fooled because they fall dramatically short when it comes to getting results.
When a top performer gets into action, they won’t come back to you with endless complications and reasons why they can’t get the results needed. They always find a way!
They Measure Their Performance
One trait by which you can easily recognize a top performer is that they always know what their past results are. Because they are results-oriented they are very interested in what results they’ve produced.
They measure and record their results and are more than happy to share them with you.
A top performer is always seeking ways to improve their performance results. If things went well previously, they’ll want to know why so they can repeat the same strategies next time. And if things did not go so well, they’ll also want to know why so they can correct their strategies in the future. Have you ever seen someone receive a bad result and then proceed to do the same job in the exact same way the next time? It’s not smart or effective, but if the person has no perception of the results they’re supposed to be achieving, that’s probably what they’ll do, because they don’t get it.
The third characteristic of a top performer is their continual awareness and interest of the measure of their results. If you ask a top performer what results they’ve achieved in the past, you will typically get a clear statement of achievements from them instantly. They don’t have to think about it because they don’t forget them, and they will be proud to share them with you. It’s an essential part of their performance characteristics. Could you imagine a top sales person who doubled their budget four years in a row not remembering that fact? Of course not! If someone tells you that they can’t remember their past results, it’s almost as good as saying they have none.
An executive or manager has their own job and responsibilities to take care of and their own results to achieve. Part of their responsibilities is supervising the people in their team, of course. But when the supervision takes up too much of their time, it overwhelms their other areas of responsibilities. You end up with an overworked executive and the rest of their job will suffer as a result.
If you’ve ever replaced a team member with someone whose performance characteristics were more developed, you know what a relief that can be. You find that you have more time in the day to take care of your own responsibilities because you can take your attention off that area.
What Can Be Done?
The obvious long term solution is of course to hire top performers! But there are other things you can do with the less effective team members you already have. Top performers will look after themselves in this regard. But the performance characteristics of average performers don’t permit them to see the end results clearly, and they’ll respond well to direction and attention.
Take the time to make the departmental and/or organizational objectives clear to them from the outset and help them to appreciate where their individual performance results fit into the overall picture. Also ensure that you clearly define the results that need to be achieved by every job in your area. Every job in your organization has valid and calculable performance results.