I saw a list of characteristics which differentiated the high achiever from the average performer. Here’s the list:
Sense of Urgency- high achievers move with urgency. They identify what needs to get done and they get going. Procrastination isn’t in their vocabulary. They get going and take their cuts.
Critical Thinking- high achievers think deeply about what they do. They are focused on knowing the business at a deeper level. They ask questions. They build their knowledge base. They not only understand “what” to do, they understand “why” we do it.
Creativity- high achievers exhibit creativity. They aren’t satisfied with status quo. They actively seek better, different, faster approaches to their work. They always think things can be improved and try new ways to do so.
Empathy- high achievers work at seeing the world from the eyes of others. They consider in advance there are other ways to do things and see things. They seek to understand what others are thinking and feeling. The more they endeavor to understand others, the more effectively they lead.
Commitment-high achievers exhibit a strong commitment to the enterprise. They place the team above personal needs. They consistently contribute selflessly to help the team achieve its goals.
Humility- high achievers exhibit humility. They have a high self concept, but they think of others highly as well. They know that a group working well together will generate better results because all of us are smarter, more talented and more skilled than one of us.
These attributes of high achievement are understood when observed, but aren’t usually what is taught. We focus on “how” to do things and “what” to do. We believe that teaching that will get the job done.
But, these characteristics are intrinsic to achievement. They are the seeds that drive performance. They need to be observed and cultivated amongst the talented in an enterprise. It isn’t easy to do, but great organizations do it.