I’ve been asked countless times by clients, employees and peers for insight into performance factors. The competencies detailed below are engrained in top performers and enable them to soar within organizations. Employers hire based on your potential and proven ability. Employers promote based on your ability to execute in the areas of communication, teamwork, client service, detail orientation and responsiveness.
1. Communication – The factors that play into communication are collaboration, spoken communication, written communication, listening and open communication. Top performers communicate with internal and external contacts effectively. Your boss is watching for you to demonstrate communication capacity – after time consistently demonstrating your ability to communicate will establish you as a leader within your team. Time and time again we hear from managers and client partners that employees with stellar communication skills are not only viewed as top performers; they are often the first up for promotion or consideration for other opportunities within the organization.
2. Teamwork – When employers think about teamwork the first word that comes to mind is adaptability. Do you jump in when needed? Do you have a positive outlook when it comes to change? Being agile and ready for changing goals, priorities and projects is key to long term success in an organization. Not everyone is adaptable and willing to display teamwork, few can resist the temptation to show a response physically or verbally to changing work priorities. Being open-minded and positive when it comes to change shows you can adjust with changing demands. You respect the goals of your employer with an understanding that, in the global business world, change is here to stay.
3. Client Service – Sam Walton’s thoughts on client service say it all, “There is only one boss. The customer. And they can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down simply by spending their money somewhere else.” You can demonstrate that you are exceptional when it comes to client service by focusing on customers to exceed their expectations, beat deadlines and deliver results without excuses or fluff. Simply put, top performers do just that – they perform in delivering good old fashion results consistently. Senior Management can depend on these key contributors to deliver to clients and reach project deadlines with minimal or no supervision. This makes you indispensable to your organization and will get you recognized throughout the organization for all the right reasons. When you deliver exceptional client service at all levels your organization wins and your boss takes note.
4. Detail Orientation – Fine attention to detail leads to strong performance. Consistent, detailed, error free work results in excellent quality. Quality will lead to stronger performance, better products, services and delivery. Detail orientation is a keystone of organizations that operate with excellence and a passion for winning. C-level Executives have little tolerance for errors in work. I remember one executive telling me about his last hire that was disappointing when engaging me to help with the search he stated “When you’re a child we call it a mistake – under my watch it’s an error and I don’t have room for errors”. At any level errors are costly – not only do they waste time, resources and energy they demonstrate a disregard for close attention and pride in your work. Top performers care deeply for the details of their work.
5. Responsiveness – Having a sense of urgency, planning, prioritizing tasks, and pace are habits of top performers. Top performers rise to a challenge and operate with an increased sense of urgency on a daily basis. I recently placed a Director of EHS with a global leader in the chemical industry. She stood out from alternate candidates for several reasons but a key factor in the hiring decision was based on her responsiveness. She clearly demonstrated ability to plan, prioritize and outpace the team. Eight months into the role and she’s emerged as a top performer, driving change and raising the bar across several programs and platforms.
These core competencies can be tailored or shifted to fit the duties of your current role. Challenge yourself to focus on one of the factors each month and take note – remarkable things will happen.