Performers Have More
Performance benefits: a really effective performer, who produces the results you need, generally has more to offer than simply good performance.
If you were asked to describe the "perfect" employee, your wish list may well include some of the following attributes:
- Sense of Ownership
You can probably think of more of these performance benefits, but this list will suffice to demonstrate the point. If we talk about a totally ideal world, these would be some of the key attributes you would want in your employees.
Unfortunately, this world is not ideal at all, but there are some common threads that will help you with your staff motivation. They will also help to increase the odds of hiring employees who approach these ideals in many respects.
How to Measure
If you ask a former employer or co-worker about a candidate’s integrity dedication, reliability, etc, you are asking for an opinion. These terms are too esoteric for most people to grasp a solid basis from which to form their answer.
Opinions are not a good foundation for making a major business decision, of course, especially one that could cost you a hundred thousand dollars or more if you get it wrong.
The Common Link
The common denominator that runs through all these (and other) desirable performance benefits is that they are more usually found in top performers than in non-performers.
- This is not to say that every top performer will be "perfect".
- There’s no such thing as perfection, especially when dealing with people.
- But there is definitely a link between effective performance and the desirable attributes listed above.
And the really good news is that performance is something that can be identified very accurately.
The rationale is really very simple. "Performance" can be brought down to something that can be finitely measured. It’s "how many", or "how much" in a given period of time and "how does this compare" with other periods of time and with other people performing similar jobs.
So, if there is a solid link between performance and the less easily measurable performance benefits listed above, we can draw some valuable conclusions.
The dictionary defines "integrity" as:
"Soundness of moral principle and character; uprightness; honesty."
This describes someone who is very high on the scale of ideals. In the extreme, this is a "Saint". How does this relate to performance capability?
If you think about the opposite of integrity (someone of "unsound moral principles" who is also devious and dishonest), can you imagine such a person also being an effective performer? That’s highly unlikely, isn’t it?
Wouldn’t they have their attention concentrated on how to stay out of trouble, or how to cover up their lies? You cannot really produce honest results without full attention on what you are trying to achieve.
Integrity, therefore, tends to live more with effective performers than with the deadwood of your organisation.
The dictionary definition for this one is:
"To give up wholly or earnestly, as to some person or end."
Here the link is much clearer. A top performer, by definition, has their sights squarely set on the end result of the project or job. They do, indeed, "give up wholly to some end".
Dedication includes the concept of excluding extraneous activities:
- You won’t often catch a top performer "goofing off", or engaging in actions that do not relate directly to producing the results they need.
- Their single-focused attention is their hallmark and an added performance benefit.
The non-performer, by contrast, may not even be aware of what the end result should be for the project. You may find them frequently doing things that have nothing to do with what they are supposed to achieve. They are generally not very dedicated.
The dictionary defines "reliability" as:-
"To depend upon confidently; put trust in."
When you have someone who produces the results you want, every time, without fail, you have a top performer. At the same time, by that very statement, you also have someone upon whom you can confidently depend. Reliability and performance go hand-in-glove.
When you work with a top performer, you find very quickly that you don’t need to constantly check that they are doing things as they should, because the results just keep coming in. You can relax. They are reliable. More performance benefits.
By contrast, when you get that haunted feeling — when you have to keep checking on someone’s results (because they have a record of messing it up), you are looking at an unreliable, non-performing employee.
Sense of Ownership
This is something that managers often yearn to see in others. From the viewpoint of the top performing manager, it is frequently difficult for them to understand why some of the people they employ don’t have the same sense of ownership that they, themselves, naturally have.
But think of those times in the past when you had a real performer working for you. That performer would invariably take full ownership for the project or position.
By their very nature, the performer will assume full responsibility for their area and create it as if it were their own. This is, after all, the most effective way to get results.
Non-performers tend to operate from the basis that someone else "owns" the project or job.
- They feel they are some sort of pawn in the overall scheme of things.
- If they don’t get the results expected, they see no great problem; after all, they are just "doing their job".
Wouldn’t it be great if all your best people stayed with you and the only ones who left were the deadwood — the ones you were thinking of dropping anyway? Unfortunately, this is one area where it is more difficult to predict what will happen.
The dictionary definition of "loyalty" is:-
"Faithful to one’s oath, engagements or obligations."
So, although loyalty (in terms of an employee) includes the concept of how long they will stay with you, there is also the deeper meaning of not letting you down.
It may be that you will lose your best performer one day (see related article: Retaining Employees). And remember, you may not be able to counter this situation.
But, at the end of the day, if a top performer does leave you, the chances are they will give you plenty of warning and will endeavour to make themselves available to train the new person.
So, even when leaving, they will display a degree of loyalty and "faithfulness to their obligations". Another of their performance benefits.
Performance is Key
So, what is the conclusion to all this?
By placing more top performers in your organisation, you increase the chances of having people who exhibit many of these other performance benefits. That’s an added bonus!
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