Accelerate Your Performance

Connecting with High Performers

April 29, 2019 Studer Education Season 1 Episode 21
Accelerate Your Performance
Connecting with High Performers
Chapters
Accelerate Your Performance
Connecting with High Performers
Apr 29, 2019 Season 1 Episode 21
Studer Education

Are you a high performer? Do you want to retain your high performing team members? This week, Dr. Pilcher offers an approach for connecting with your high performers and Erica Callaway joins her as a guest to model what this connection should sound like. Meeting with high performers the right way, so they know they are valued, moves the organization to achieve results. 

This episode addresses questions, such as:

  • How do we retain our high performing employees?
  • What should a conversation with a high performer sound like? 
  • What are high performers looking for from their leaders?

Connecting with High Performers is the sixth episode in a series describing the performance curve and performance conversations, beginning with Ep. #16 High Performers: Who Are They?.

Recommended Tool:High Performer Re-Recruitment Conversation Template

Recommended Learning:Re-recruit High Performers

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Show Notes Transcript

Are you a high performer? Do you want to retain your high performing team members? This week, Dr. Pilcher offers an approach for connecting with your high performers and Erica Callaway joins her as a guest to model what this connection should sound like. Meeting with high performers the right way, so they know they are valued, moves the organization to achieve results. 

This episode addresses questions, such as:

  • How do we retain our high performing employees?
  • What should a conversation with a high performer sound like? 
  • What are high performers looking for from their leaders?

Connecting with High Performers is the sixth episode in a series describing the performance curve and performance conversations, beginning with Ep. #16 High Performers: Who Are They?.

Recommended Tool:High Performer Re-Recruitment Conversation Template

Recommended Learning:Re-recruit High Performers

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Thank you for joining today’s Accelerate Your Performance Podcast. And thank you for having a desire to be your best at  work and helping your organization achieve success. This podcast focuses on tactical actions to improve workplace culture and these tactics align to our Nine Principles® for Organizational Excellence.  


Today, we’ll focus on “High Performer Conversations.”

 Over the past several episodes we’ve focused on varying levels of individual performance in organizations.  Remember, about 30% of individuals are high solid to high performers; 60% of individuals have varying levels of solid performance; and 10% of individuals are low performers. 

 Today, we’ll focus on high performer conversations. Several of the prior episodes focus on varying performance levels if you would like to refer to them. 

 So, let’s direct our attention to high performers and the  conversations we have with them. 

 When scheduling times to connect with your team, it’s best to meet with high performers first.  You may recall from our prior episodes, they are the individuals who have been neglected.  Why? Because we end up spending most of our time and energy on low performers. Think about it.  When we are away from work and at the dinner table, who do we spend most of our time talking about?  You got it – the person who sucks the life out of us at work. 

 We need the high performers on our side, and that’s where they want to be in our organization. If we want to move our organization to achieve high performing results, let’s spend our time with high performers – they are the first movers and shakers.  Therefore, we’ve got to make sure we support them. 


 Here’s what high performers want from leaders.

 1.   High performers want feedback and continuous development to improve. Remember, they always think they can get better.

 

2.  They want more responsibility and opportunities for advancement.  They are not looking for a title or position; high performers are looking for opportunities to contribute in the most significant way to help others and the organization. 

 

3.  High performers want to be recognized for their accomplishments. They don’t want to be the center of attention; they want to be recognized so they know they are on track and hitting the expected target. And,  I find high performers like to be recognized for helping others.

 

4.  I think most importantly, they want their leader to ask them to stay in the organization.  High performers want more than anything for their leaders to let them know they are valuable and that they want them to continue to work in the organization – that losing them would be a great loss. 

 

Having performance conversations with high performers is one of the most important jobs for leaders to do. Here’s a framework for the high performer conversation.

 First, we thank them for their efforts and work. When we show appreciation, we tell them we want to retain them.

 Second, in very specific terms, we tell them how important they are to the organization. Be aware that when you thank them, they will want to know why. High performers don’t like generalizations. They get disgusted when they are in a room with a lot of people and they hear that everybody is doing a good job. They know it’s a nice thing to say, but it’s probably not accurate. Who likes generalized appreciation?  Low performers. Why? – they think it’s directed to them.

 Third, we explain where the organization is going, what is being done to achieve goals, and how the individual’s performance is contributing to the achievement of organizational goals. High performers like being on a winning team and like hearing about our commitment to be one of the best organizations. 

 Fourth, we ask high performers for input. We may ask, “what can we do better?”  “What can we do to be helpful to you?”  Sometimes, leaders will ask, “what if they want a higher salary or other things that cost money and we can’t afford it?” Usually, high performers don’t ask for more salary and benefits or expensive things when we ask this question.  Typically, if they ask for something they ask for more responsibility, and more development and opportunities for advancement. Don’t get me wrong. It’s important that we provide an equitable salary as part of our retention efforts, but high performers tend to position compensation discussions around goal achievement – organizational results and how their individual results align.  

 Here's what’s nice for leaders having high performer conversations.  Think about it, if we have 30 employees and 30% of the conversations are high performing ones, we engage in 9 inspiring and positive conversations.  As a leader that feels really good. 

 As leaders we often get used to hanging out in the wrong low performer neighborhood. We hear about things that are wrong, how poor leaders are, that morale’s bad and everyone’s unhappy.  We’re constantly swallowing all that negativity instead of spending our time with high performers. So, high performing conversations feel pretty good.  That’s why it’s a good idea to do them first.

 How often do we have these conversations?  I suggest that we have scheduled conversations with our high performers every month. If our goal is to reward, recognize and retain high performers, it’s worth it to spend an hour a month solely focused on them. 

 During the remaining time together today, I will provide a structure to use with high performers and then, I will ask one of my team members, Erica Callaway, to join me as I hold a streamlined high performing conversation with her.  Our goal is to give you a feel for the conversation.

 Let’s refer to the framework I outlined earlier for  engaging in high performer conversations?

 First, we start by thanking the high performers by describing their specific contributions to the team and organization.

 Second, we outline why they are important to our organization.

 Third, we review the organizational results and strategies and engage in a conversation about how what they do contributes to the organizational goals.

 Finally, we ask several questions to gain their input. We ask the high performer, 

 1.  What ideas do you have to advance our organizational goals related to your work?

 2.  We want to retain you. Is there anything that we could do better?

 3.  What do I need to do to be helpful to you?

 We close the conversation asking if there is anything else they would like to discuss, pausing to give them an opportunity to think about what they might want to discuss, and thank them for being part of the team. 

 

Let’s listen to a performance conversation that I will have with one of our team members, Erica Callaway.  Erica is our lead content and learning designer.  She has been a member of our team for five years and is definitely someone we want to continue to re-recruit on our team.  

 

Janet: Hello Erica, Welcome to Accelerate Your Performance.  I am thrilled to have you with us today.  

 

Erica:  Thank you. I’m excited to be here.

 

Janet: Erica, let’s spend a few minutes modeling a high performer conversation for our listeners.  As you know, in a real situation, before we dive into the conversation, I would make a  personal connection with you.  For example, I may ask about your wedding coming up in the near future or your beautiful cat, Baxter, or one of our favorite topics – surfing, or a topic I avoid – your suggestion that Yoga would be a good thing for me to do. 

 

For this exercise, I am going to jump right into the high performer framework as we model the conversation. 

 

Are you ready? 

 

Here we go. 

 

Janet: Erica, I look forward to spending some time with you today. This past year, we’ve spent more time than ever in our organizational life span on developing digital content.   As we’ve worked together over the years, we’ve heard from our clients that they want to have access to learning resources – just in time resources when they need them to address a learning opportunity. I asked you to help us lead this effort and you have done an exceptional job taking our organizational vision and making it a reality.  

 

Very specifically, you’ve created an agile instructional design approach and led our team with the content development work that meets the needs of our clients.  The content development and learning enablement materials for our coaches are some of the best I’ve seen.  

 

Erica - You are very valuable to our team, and I want to make sure you stay with us as we continue to grow.  

 

So, I want to do a check point with you to make sure you realize your value. Erica, I don’t want to lose you.  So, are we doing all we need to do to keep you with us?

 

Erica: Wow! I appreciate your words. You know, I had no idea just how much I enjoy being part of innovation until we started to innovate in this way. I love being part of this team and the difference we make for those we serve. I want to continue making an impact on this team.

 

Janet: I’m glad, Erica. Thank you. 

 

We’ve had a goal of launching our platform this quarter and we are very close.  Without your quality work and ability to complete the work in a timely way, we would’ve had difficulty achieving this goal. 

 

Erica, because of your success, I value your thoughts. Reflecting on what you have learned, do you have ideas on how we can advance our work to develop our content?

 

Erica: I’m really proud of our team for adopting a continuous improvement mindset towards the development of the system and the content. In recent conversations, we are naturally evolving to take our content development strategy to a new level. I think our biggest opportunity to advance is to begin including coach feedback into our content refresh and planning process.

 

Janet: You should be proud. And, can you believe we are at the point of launching with our coaches?  It’s all coming together, and the coaches speak highly of your leadership and talent to get to where we are. It’s getting real, isn’t it?

 

Erica, let’s take a minute and think about our organization and our team. What’s one thing you think we could do better?

 

Erica: As you know, we just had our employee engagement survey results rollout and we talked a lot about planning for our next opportunities. It might be an appropriate time to start thinking about how we might merge the ideas of succession planning and professional development planning.

 

Janet: I think that’s right Erica. We’ve had initial discussions about our next level leaders. I like the idea of taking next steps by making succession planning for this team part of our professional development planning.  Let me put more thought into this and then we can talk again. I want to make sure we provide the right approach, support and resources to make this a successful experience for the team.

 

Erica, as we close our conversation today, is there anything I could do to be helpful to you? 

 

Erica: I appreciated the time to talk through our strategic next steps yesterday. Any time we get a chance to do that, especially as we reach pivotal and crossroads moments in building out these new systems, it creates clarity and connects me back to big picture. Continuing to make time for those discussions would be great.

 

Janet: You bet. It energized me as well. I left the meeting with confidence that we are doing the right work to serve our clients.   

 

Thank you for your time today.  Before we end the meeting, is there anything else you would like to discuss?  

 

Erica: Not that I can think of. Thank you for this time today. 

 

Janet: Erica, thank you for your contributions and for being part of our team. I enjoyed our time. 

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Erica and I provided you with a condensed version of a high performer conversation to give you a feel for the type of interactions that occur. 

 

As you reflect on the conversation, ask these questions:

 

Would my performance at work merit this type of conversation? 

·     If yes, why? And what do I do that I want to keep doing? 

 ·     If no, why not? And what could I do differently to move up the performance curve?

 

If I’m a leader, am I having these types of conversations with my high performing team members? How can I schedule time each month to have a conversation using this type of framework?  

 

I don’t know about you but over my 30 years in the workforce, there are very few times that my leaders have reinforced that they want me to stay in the organization and to continue to grow and develop to advance to the next level. Along the way, I’ve been fortunate to achieve goals, which has afforded me opportunities for which I am grateful.  I’ve also lost my way from time to time or become discouraged.  And, when that has occurred I’ve had someone tell me that I add value and it hasn’t always been a leader. Without these times, I’m unsure if I would have had the opportunities to advance my leadership capabilities. I am grateful to people who have been helpful to me.  

 

We are all employees. Let’s be that team member that our leaders feel good about. If we are leaders, let’s be the one that our high performers can rely on to help them go advance to the next level.  

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Thank you for tuning in to Accelerate Your Performance. I look forward to connecting with you on our next Podcast episode where we will continue our focus on performance conversations. Have a great week.