Defining a High Performer

How would you define a high performer? What skills/talents would they possess?

And, from a differing perspective, has your definition of a high performer and the required skill-set changed from a few years ago?

If you answered yes, you’re in good company!

Don’t lower your expectations to meet your performance. Raise your level of performance to meet your expectations. Expect the best of yourself, and then do what is necessary to make it a reality.
–Ralph Marston

3 Critical Skills High Performer Need

CEB, a leading member-based advisory company, published their annual Executive Guidance update where they identified critical competencies required by high performing employees. They identified the top 3 critical skills as:

  1. Adapting to change
  2. Willingness to collaborate
  3. Ability to apply sound judgment


We’ve talked a lot about change. In a recent survey we conducted, only 11% of the respondents feel they manage change effectively.

We need to expect that change will continue to occur at a rapid pace, and with it, discomfort and uncertainty. Use clarity and communication to lessen levels of anxiety, and make it a priority to understand and clearly communicate all changes and associated impacts!

Are you part of the 11%?


An effective leader is proficient in managing relationships and building networks.  They must also possess the ability to find common ground and build rapport which significantly improves results, satisfaction levels, and trust.

Keep in mind that the nature and speed of work that is required does not lend itself to developing relationships or for allowing time to develop the necessary skills, but they are essential for achieving success.

Sound Judgement

Understand what’s going on around you; take the time to process what you feel and think before readily agreeing or disagreeing with anything. Be prepared! Is “homework” required? Research ideas and share the knowledge you’ve acquired.

Skills are also required for prioritizing what must be done (by when), for solving problems, and for making timely and sound decisions.

Make the time to plan and set your priorities.  Distinguish the urgent and important tasks from those that can wait, and identify which will help you achieve your goals.

One last need of high performers: Knowing yourself and others

High performers are self-aware; they know and use their strengths and passion (magic dust). They also understand the strengths and passion of others and leverage this knowledge to achieve results through collaboration.

Do you consider yourself to be a high performer? What could change in your organization to increase the number of high performers? How can you help?