Tag Archives: high performance

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The Perils of Multitasking

We’re all guilty of it. We’re trying to do it all…

According to findings by onlinecollege.org, trying to focus on more than one thing causes a 40% drop in productivity.

Do you find yourself trying to multitask while at work? Check out this infographic below.

click on the image for a larger view

The-Perils-Of-Multitasking-Infographic

source: onlinecollege.org

Walk the Talk

Business innovator Nilofer Merchant explains…

“Walk and talk. … You’ll be surprised at how fresh air drives fresh thinking.”

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I always thought that golf was invented for this reason. Some of the best conversations can be found on the golf course. Not counting all the cursing for missing a good shot, though. Enjoy this brief TED Talk.

Take a Break! You Need it!

Gen Y Girl

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I’ve been struggling with a really annoying problem lately and I don’t know what to do.

I’m tired… ALL THE TIME.

And I hate it!

Someone please explain this to me…

I’m a CrossFit junkie three times a week.

I eat pretty healthily (I hope that’s a word).

And I’m 22 years old!

22!!!!!

So where’s all my energy gone?

I see people twice my age going out and having a great time and me…all I want to do is take a nap.

That can’t be normal.

In the three years that I’ve been working full-time, it’s almost like all the life has been sucked out of me.

I kind of want to cry.

But it’s not an unusual feeling, really. Research the negative affects of work and you’ll find the following:

Overload.

Burn-out.

Stress.

And then we wonder why so many people are dropping dead from heart attacks.

We…

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Working Hard

I recall one time being in the passenger seat of a friend’s really nice car. We pulled up to the curb at our destination, and as my friend handed the valet the car keys, the valet asked, “Wow, what do you do to drive a nice car like that?” My friend’s answer was simple and to the point. “Work hard”.

“I learned the value of hard work by working hard.”                                     ~ Margaret Mead

“Working hard is very important. You’re not going to get anywhere without working extremely hard.”       ~ George Lucas

“I think that my biggest attribute to any success that I have had is hard work. There really is no substitute for working hard.”                    ~ Maria Bartiromo

“You really have to work hard and apply yourself and by applying yourself and working hard and being diligent, you can achieve success.”
~ Julie Benz

“The only way to get people to like working hard is to motivate them. Today, people must understand why they’re working hard. Every individual in an organization is motivated by something different.”
~ Rick Pitino

“Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.”
~ Conan O’Brien

Does your leader have heart?

leadership keyNo one really leaves a job just because they have found a better opportunity or better pay. The number one reason people leave is because they fail to connect with their bosses as leaders and as people.  Think about it. Most people in their careers can share in this experience. Although missteps can happen, the best leaders strive to make their actions consistent with the philosophy of having an engaged and excited team.

I interviewed Cameron McNeill, owner of MAC Marketing Solutions, on what it means to lead. Here’s what Cameron said on this subject: ‘As a leader, I am constantly challenging myself to think about my team’s enjoyment in their career with my company. There is one test we have- when people wake up in the morning, are they excited about working with our company?  If they aren’t excited then I have failed. This philosophy is the driving spirit within our business and permeates all levels of the company. It boils down to two things: every person is driven by different circumstances, and you, the leader, must care about each individual as a fellow family member in the context of the vision of the company. Everyone then looks after each other and their collective well-being. It is hard to create this and impossible to fake. No marketing team could ever produce this spirit. It requires champions big and small to express this in an individual way. It is done with a common set of core values that everyone knows. They all know which way they are going and are pulling in the same direction. I never stop thinking about nor ever get tired of saying, “when you wake up in the morning…” ’.

And this theme is true with every executive of some of the top Canadian business’s I’ve had the pleasure to know. An effective leader lives and breathes the company’s core values. They obsess over the clarity of these core values. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Repeat. Repeat and repeat.

The best leaders have tremendous passion for what they do. Yet they operate with a level of genuine humility and with the sole purpose of their company’s welfare.  It’s not about them, rather, it’s about the company as a whole. These leaders protect their teams aligned with their vision at all costs. Lose your core team and you lose the heart and soul of the company.

Managing Performers and Potentials

In a time when the workforce is increasingly transient, your ability to identify high-performing and high-potential employees—and that of your managers—is critical. And yet, many struggle to distinguish one from the other, negatively impacting their ability to develop and retain top talent. In many organizations, performance is the primary measure of an employee’s value in the organization. Star performers are promoted and rewarded, while diamonds in the rough become disengaged and move on.

Don’t get me wrong–you should definitely value performance. But if your end goal is to build a more robust talent pipeline (and it should be), performance can’t be the only point of entry. To that end, there are strategies that any manager can apply to develop high-potentials and high-performers effectively.

Step One: Identify

High-performers stand out in any organization. They consistently exceed expectations, and are management’s go-to for difficult projects. They take pride in their accomplishments, but may not have the potential (or the desire) to succeed in a higher-level role.

High potentials can be more difficult to identify, especially for line managers. That’s because most valuable attributes (e.g. stress management, adaptability, business sense) aren’t catalytic in entry-to-mid-level roles. Potential is subjective to what a company values, of course, but there are innate attributes that distinguish them from high-performers.

Line managers’ observations are often limited to the most obvious traits (time management, communication skills, attention to detail). By working with leadership, however, managers can profile the skills that ensure success in key roles—and be on the lookout for examples of both high performers and high potentials from day one.

Step Two: Assess

An established standard of the attributes and competencies of model employees is also an essential part of objective assessment. And though there’s a distinct difference between potential and performance, experts agree that employees should be assessed on competency in both.

Figure 1 - Hyper v Hypo[1]

Each category requires a different development strategy. With a clearer picture of who falls where, managers can make more informed decisions in how to effectively develop them. For example: High Po/ Low Per employees may need to improve their ability to perform consistently, or may be moved into roles better aligned with their natural abilities. And High Per/Low Po employees would be ideal candidates for soft skill development–or for roles that require more technical skill.

Step Three: Engage and Develop

The important thing about development and engagement strategies (especially for high-potential vs. high-performance employees) is to tailor your efforts to drive the results you want. Typical engagement strategies could look something like this:

Figure 2 - Hyper v Hypo

Recognition is key for High Per/Low Po employees. They need constant encouragement and challenging assignments. Rather than promoting them to roles they don’t want (or aren’t ready for), give them the independence and engage them with projects that they can take full ownership of.

Alternately, while High Po/Low Per employees are hungry for more high-impact work, they need seasoning. On the job training is a great way to accomplish this, especially when pairing them with high performers. As they develop a stronger understanding of the organization and their role in it, give them projects to manage, new hires to train, and offer cross-training opportunities.

Set Your Line Managers Up for Success

Your line managers are the gatekeepers to your talent pipeline, and they’ve got their work cut out for them. While most will have some natural ability in identifying, assessing, and engaging performers and potentials, few will be adept at all three. If you want to improve your ability to retain top talent, it starts with your line managers. Set them up for success, and invest in their development.

This guest post was written by Kyle Lagunas.

Kyle Lagunas is the HR Analyst at Software Advice—an online resource for HR software comparisions. He reports on trends, technology, and best practices in talent management, with work featured on Forbes, Business Insider, Information Weekly, and the NY Times.