I ran across some research (Performance Intervention, Sugrue and Fuller) that has been done on top performers across industries and what separates them from the pack. Take a look at the list of things they typically do, and I bet you’ll see some of your own success tactics listed.
Top performers often do the following:
- They do away with unnecessary steps. (Top performers innovate.)
- They perform an extra step that is needed but not documented. (More innovation.)
- They use available information and documentation that others do not. (Simple, but smart.)
- They possess a self-created job aid that others do not. (Hint: Look for sticky notes around their cubical.)
- They possess information or data that others do not. (Because they take initiative and search it out.)
- They possess better tools than others. (“The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”)
- They possess different motives for performing. (An internal drive; a goal they are working toward…)
- They receive different guidance and feedback. (Uh-oh, this is one you have control over.)
- They obtain different incentives. (We don’t have much control over this, unless you consider intrinsic rewards.)
- They rarely succeed solely as a result of training. (This one takes me down a notch or two.)
So, if this is what puts top performers on top, why can’t we teach it to our other team members? Try this experiment… take this list of characteristics and ask your top performers if they use each one. Document what you learn, and share it with the rest of your team.
If you want more leaders, multiply the ones you’ve got.