Study Your Best Performers
It is not breaking news that the best performers on any team do things differently from those who lean toward average. The same is true for highly effective specialists. Those who create excellence develop routines, habits, and disciplines that propel them forward.
In addition to having competencies that are sharper and more developed, you will find that high performers are markedly different in what they focus on and what they know.
Leaders who want to understand the recipe for developing team members would do well to study their best performers and codify those differences.
Creating a list of the actions and competencies top performers share will provide leaders with a prescriptive structure through which they can develop the talents of others. Such a checklist is both informative and instructive. Giving this checklist a wide circulation allows leaders to teach for the test by encouraging team members to practice and drill on each ingredient on the list.
Knowing the skills that distinguish high performance, at least in a given team culture, also provides a template for the hiring process. Assessing prospective team members regarding these ingredients can provide a prescriptive index from which to predict the potential of any new colleague. It is often easier to recruit for core competencies than it is to develop those skills on the job.
Creating a visual so that others can quickly see and be reminded of the success factors aids in recruiting and development. Consider displaying the factors in a format that others will remember and reach for, such as a checklist, wheel, box grid, target bullseye, or even playing cards. The more often the team sees this display, the better.
By studying the best performers and identifying the habits and skills they share, great leaders empower team members to understand for themselves what they must master to excel. For those with potential, knowing the recipe is more than half the battle. Success always starts with the right ingredients.