Over the years I have had the privilege of working with many high quality and talented individuals and teams, both in business as well as the sporting arena. What is interesting is that for some looking from the outside in, these individuals and teams do not appear to be world beaters – they seem to be relatively normal (what ever normal means!), and yet, over time, these individuals and teams are able to deliver results which are consistently high, and very rarely drop their performance. They are reliable and predictable, in a very empowering way.
Late last week I was chatting with a colleague and the subject of peak performance versus high performance came up. We wanted to understand what the fundamental differences were and whether, as leadership coaches, our preference would be to work with people to deliver peak performance, or high performance. We concluded that, it actually depends, because peak performance certainly has a place, particularly in professional sports, where peak performance is demanded to execute a strategy to deliver a gold medal, or to win the race. It is the performance that is required at a point in time to deliver an outstanding result. We also concluded, that through the very definition of ‘peak’, there must also be a contrast, and therefore a ‘trough’, and hence peak performance may not be sustainable over a long period of time. On the other hand, high performance can be the focus on and delivery of consistent and sustainable excellence, over a period of time, and not in a single event. If you have ever experienced being ‘in the zone’, where everything you did just seemed to ‘click’, everything you touched, turned to gold, over a week, month, or even a year, it is highly likely you were experiencing high performance ‘flow’. The challenge then is how to maintain the flow, and how to unleash your potential to high performance.
My colleague and I then set about identifying the core qualities that would unleash the potential to high performance, and identified the following 5 :
Quality 1 – High Performers have exceptional clarity. It is almost an uncommon clarity on who they are, what they stand for, and what they are seeking. They are dedicated and unbelievably focussed on their outcomes and complement that focus with massive & consistent action. To watch them at work, they are constantly ‘in the zone’, they play to & capitalise on their strengths, whilst outsourcing or delegating their weaknesses. Through their clarity, they are often in a position to make better decisions and eliminate distractions, therefore underpinning consistent high performance.
Quality 2 – High Performers possess high & sustained energy. Through their exceptional clarity, the high performer generates high & sustained energy levels, as they are exceptionally disciplined on what to focus on, and where the energy will be utilised. Their physical and mental stamina is incredible (almost like the Energiser Bunny that consistently outlasts the competition!), and they very rarely, if ever, get pulled in multiple directions. It is extremely difficult to knock them off their game.
Quality 3 – High Performers have courage. Not only do high performers have courage, they constantly demonstrate courage in everything they do. They constantly speak up, know exactly what they stand for, and are very comfortable to regularly take calculated risks – they will never die wondering. Through taking consistent, courageous and focussed action, they are more than happy to say ‘no’ to requests that are not in line with their expected outcomes, and will persistently stay on course until the outcome is reached. As a result, they constantly ‘outlive’ and ‘outlast’ others who quit or jump off course, and therefore enjoy the benefits of their achievements.
Quality 4 – High Performers are highly productive. With a foundation of clarity, high energy and courage, high performers are also highly productive – not only do they invest more focussed hours into their work than their competition, they are also significantly more effective and efficient with their time. Put simply, they get more things done!! They are uncompromising on their schedule, they have 100% ownership and accountability for their own agenda, and will not allow anyone else to control that agenda. They have developed very healthy, consistent and repeatable daily habits, and operate according to the ‘Daily 5’ – that is, for each area of their life and business, they have identified 5 core areas that they will focus on and execute against, every single day, without fail. As a result, they are exceptionally productive, and achieve results that others can sometimes only dream about.
Quality 5 – High Performers have influence. Consistent high performers understand that long term sustainable success cannot be maintained on their own – they require high quality people around them, and they focus their attention on attracting high quality people. How do they do this? Through implementing high quality people skills and focussing their attention on giving people their time, attention, focus and respect. High performers genuinely care about others and understand that through giving to and focussing on others, they will be taken care of. They do not treat their relationships like transactions – they do not expect anything in return. Through their focus on giving, they become very attractive to others, and as a result, their level of influence increases.
I’m certain that there are additional qualities that can unleash your potential to high performance, and I would love your input and perspective on what other qualities you believe can do this. Please take a minute to comment below.
Here is to you unleashing your potential to high performance.
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About : Darren is an Executive Coach, Leadership Consultant, Trainer, Facilitator, Speaker. A passionate and driven individual specialising in personal development, strategic planning, coaching for advocacy & enhanced performance, situational and servant based leadership, executive coaching of people leaders, emerging leaders and ‘high potential’ individual contributors within the Enterprise & Government market, personal change management, and strategic workshop facilitation & training.