new high performers

Anatomy of the New High Performer

There is a lot written about performance. But the reality is that it is as important today as it has ever been. A leading member-based advisory company, CEB, recently released its annual Executive Guidance (December 2012), which identified the critical competencies employees must embody to thrive as high performers in today’s volatile work environment.

We now work in an era where the global economy is less stable, technology is evolving at breakneck pace, and information and communication channels have become ubiquitous. Through a survey of more than 1,500 senior executives, CEB identified 10 important trends that fall into three broad, but distinct, categories: (1) frequent organisational change; (2) more interdependent work and (3) an increase in knowledge work.

Who are the high-performing employees in this new work environment? What skills and behaviors will differentiate the most productive employees? Most managers and performance management models assume that strong business acumen, task and process mastery, and technical know-how explain the majority of an employee’s job performance. Unfortunately, the prevalence of outdated assumptions about the most valuable skills and abilities leads to the misidentification (or under-identification) of the organization’s next generation of high performers. According to CEB, using existing methods, organizations will likely fail to identify 65% of their new high performers.

Building the next generation of employees requires focusing on a new set of skills.

CEB analyzed the drivers of performance for more than 23,000 managers and employees across more than 40 organizations globally and found the 10 employee competencies that differentiate those best able to perform in the new work environment:

  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

CEB found 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. It’s time organisations critically examined the assumptions and models used in developing their people for a future which is certain to test us.