Top 10 “High Performer” Characteristics

Thought this was interesting.  A client of mine passed along the link below from Bloomberg news, showcasing a study from an executive membership organization called CEB that claims to identify the ten “critical competencies employees must embody to thrive as high performers in today’s volatile work environment” and that follows up to conclude that “high performers are scarce in the current workforce and most employees lack the ideal mix of skills and competencies to achieve their employers’ desired outcomes.”

What do you think of this statement, off the cuff?  Would you agree or disagree with these observations, based on your own anecdotal evidence in recent years?

Here’s the piece if you want to give it a quick review:

To me, while I can’t quibble with (and don’t really care about) the exact scientific methods that were used to conduct the study, apparently they surveyed over 20,000 employees to determine that the following 10 characteristics are the ones that separate top performers from their peers within organizations:

1. Ability to Prioritize;  2. Works Well in Teams;  3. Organizational Awareness; 4. Effective Problem Solving;  5. Self-Awareness;  6. Proactivity;  7. Ability to Influence;  8. Effective Decision Making;  9. Learning Agility; 10. Technical Savvy

To me, these seem pretty on target.  Without question, the business world is becoming far less orderly/hierarchical and is therefore demanding that the average professional demonstrate a lot more independence, flexibility, and proactivity in order to “ride the wave of change” and not get flipped rump over teacups.  I’d say the same thing about the job hunting process, in fact.  Those who seem to experience the most success (generating multiple job offers and such) typically ooze many of the above traits — although I’d probably add “confidence” to the list, myself, if I were constructing it myself.

A few takeaway questions from this article you might want to ask yourself, if you’re in transition, include:

•  Do you fully understand what each of these competencies means, exactly?
•  Can you think of a role model who might exhibit or exemplify each of them?
•  Is there any chance the lack of one of these competencies cost you a recent job?
•  Should you be seeking to improve your skills in one or more of these competencies?
•  Are you applying these very same “success habits” to the job hunt process?  If so, how?

In terms of this last point, I’ve always maintained that those folks who seem to have the most success hunting for work are those who, by and large, view the process as just one more professional challenge they need to tackle in their career evolution — and who apply (consciously or unconsciously) these same strengths to the task at hand.  You can usually spot them a mile away.  They prioritize the search process by putting a clear set of action steps and goals in place, each day.  They demonstrate proactivity by initiating conversations with the right people, without second-guessing themselves or analyzing things to death.  They build a professional development component into their job hunting regimen to sharpen their skill sets during the transition process, versus letting them atrophy.  And so on and so forth.

So while the above list certainly isn’t rocket science, and I doubt any of the traits they identified led any of you to experience a falling-off-the-chair moment, there’s some good food for thought here heading into 2013, nonetheless!

One Response to “Top 10 “High Performer” Characteristics”

  1. I’m not surprised to see these characteristics highlighted, Matt. What is interesting to me is that those are definitely what I’d call “entrepreneurial characteristics,” as well.

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