When presented with a new project or task an effective individual will quickly identify what the performance results should be at the end. And if the result isn’t immediately clear to them, they’ll focus on getting it clearly defined before they start.
Accordingly, when looking at a new project, the performance characteristics of a top performer will stereo-typically prompt questions like:
- What are we trying to achieve with this project?
- What’s the main objective of this project?
- Where are we going with this project?
In simple terms, a top performer is a results-oriented individual who will naturally have their eye on the overall target.
They will also want to put the results they achieve with the project into the overall context of the rest of the operation. They’ll quickly align their results with the overall goals of the operation’s bigger picture; that’s a key part of their performance characteristics.
- They either know what the results should be at the outset or they will get them nailed down before starting.
- And they do this before they begin to work in the new environment or start to run a new project.
Non-performers have to be continually directed by supervisors and team members. You can’t take your attention off of their area because you know it will go off target if you do. What does this do for an executive’s sanity and peace of mind?
Their Actions are Effective
Have you ever had a team member repeatedly come back to you with problems? Top performers don’t do that because they will find a solution.
- They will go under, over, around or through any barriers they meet
- They’re not robots following blind orders
- They will use their intelligence to solve and overcome the obstacles they encounter
Sometimes the barriers they encounter are significant indeed, but the measure of a top performer is their ability to get the results no matter what. Of course, there is a certain amount of intelligence in the way in which they make things happen.
Often you’ll come across someone who is very big on ideas. They have the appearance of a top performer, because they have the first characteristic of being able to see the end result of a project or task. The only problem is, it’s all theory and they don’t possess the ability to get into action and produce those results.
Such people put a lot of prominence on their titles or their academic achievements. They seem to feel that having such status is all they need to accomplish their goals. But they fall short when it comes to actually producing the results, so don’t be fooled.
When a top performer gets into action, they won’t come back to you with endless problems or reasons why they can’t get the results they need. Their performance characteristics are such that 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 were. Because they are results-oriented they are very interested in what results they have produced.
- They measure their results
- They record their results
- They’re very happy to tell you about their results
A top performer is always looking to improve their performance results. If things turned out well, they want to know why and how so that they can use the same strategy next time. And if things didn’t go very well, they also want to know why, so that they can correct that shortcoming in future.
How many times have you seen someone get a bad result, then continue to do the same job in exactly the same manner the next time? Is that smart or productive? No, but if the person has no perception of what results are expected, that’s most likely what they will do, because they don’t understand.
The third characteristic of a top performer is their continual awareness and interest in the measure of their results. Ask a top performer what results they’ve achieved previously.
- You will frequently get an immediate and clear statement of achievements
- They don’t have to think about it
- They are truly proud to tell you of their achievements
- They don’t forget their achievements as it’s an integral part of their performance characteristics.
Can you imagine a top sales person not remembering that they doubled their budget three years in a row? Of course not! So, if someone tells you that they “don’t remember” their sales results, that’s as good as them saying they have none!
Every manager has their own job to do and their own results to achieve.
Of course part of their job is to supervise the people in their team. But when this supervision takes too much of their time and overshadows the rest of their responsibilities, you have an overworked executive. And this means that the rest of their job suffers as a result.
If you’ve ever replaced a team member with someone whose performance characteristics were better, you know what a relief that can be for you and your team. You find that you have more time in your day to accomplish your job because you don’t need to focus your attention on that area.
What Can Be Done?
The obvious long term solution is to hire top performers for your company! (We can help you in this department)
But there is also something you can do with the less effective and lower-performing employees you already have. Top performers look after themselves and need very little of your attention. But the next category down – the average performers – will respond to your attention and direction because their performance characteristics don’t allow them to clearly see the end results.
- Take the time to make the departmental or organizational objectives clear.
- Help your staff to fully appreciate where their individual results fit into the whole of the organization.
If you haven’t tried these two steps before, you will be pleasantly surprised by the outcomes.
And make sure that you can clearly define the results that every job and member in your area must achieve. Every job in every organization has measureable and valid performance results that they need to achieve — otherwise, why are you paying someone to do it?