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High Performers vs High Achievers

Updated: 6 days ago

As a leader, ultimately we want to have a high-performing team. While it would be lovely to have everyone who is a high performer, it's likely that not all of you team is at the same level.

Some perform beyond your expectations. Some achieve more than their targets or KPIs. Some hardly do their jobs at all - MVO (Minimum Viable Output)

So, how do you spot high achievers and high performers within your company who may be flying under the radar? Here are characteristics to look out for.

High Achievers

These people are ambitious, goal-focused and self-disciplined individuals who are driven by a strong desire to accomplish meaningful targets and goals. They exhibit these characteristics:

  1. Take charge attitude.

They display natural leadership qualities and easily help others achieve their goals. These are the people who really walk the talk and do what they say they will do.

2. Strong long-term focus and self-discipline.

They like to set a goal and work persistently towards it until it has been completed. This is fantastic if the goals are big enough and pointing in the right direction.

3. Visionary.

Related to long-term goals, they can “teleport” to the future within their minds, see what it looks, sounds and feels like, and then come back to today and transfer the vision to reality.

4. Internal locus of control.

They believe they alone are responsible for where they’ll end up in life. Personal leadership accountability is an attribute that you want to start instilling in your organizational culture so everyone is responsible for what it is that they’re doing and their own results. This reduces the blame game that can happen when something goes wrong.

5. Go-to person within the team, company and even the industry.

They are willing to put in the effort to develop their expertise, often pursuing professional and personal development on their own. When this happens, they bring back what they’ve learned back to the team and everyone benefits from the experience.

6. Positive mindset.

They have a growth mindset and consider challenges as opportunities rather than threats.

7. Action orientated.

They have a “ready, fire, aim” mindset instead of the usual “ready, aim, fire” outlook. This mindset is great for a startup that takes what works and keeps moving to boost its momentum. If your business is already well within its growth period, though, this mindset can lead to some problems, particularly around processes.

High performers

These are elite talents. The term “high performer” is typically associated with athletes who are driven to show exceptional output in their chosen field. However, if you sort out your employees according to the 9-box talent matrix then you will see that you have people who are not only goal-oriented but solution-oriented as well. These are your high performers. They exhibit these characteristics:

  1. Incredibly positive.

They have a can-do attitude. Nothing is too difficult for them.

This positive mental framework is more than just being upbeat when communicating with other people. It shines brighter when high performers encounter a problem. They remain focused on the “we can get it done, it’s just a matter of how” mindset. They consider challenges as something to be solved and puzzles as something to figure out instead of as roadblocks. You will hear them say, “What can we do to fix this?” as opposed to “Here’s the problem, where’s the solution?”

This mindset helps businesses power through tough times and, more importantly, inspire people around them to also remain positive.

2. Growth mindset.

They want to be taught and always seek opportunities to develop new skills, sharpen existing ones and learn from their mistakes. They find innovative solutions to challenging problems and do not get caught up in their own thing.

They also know that growth does not always equal a promotion to a higher position. Growth can mean looking for opportunities for new, diverse experiences that allow them to master what they’re good at.

3 .Achievement orientated.

They live to accomplish things and prove to others that they can complete challenging tasks. This is slightly different from being competitive. The yearning to achieve a goal is for their own fulfilment. They want to do it to achieve their own goals and prove to themselves that they can accomplish more than what they thought they could.

4. “Energiser Bunny.”

Do you remember those old commercials of the Energizer battery featuring a toy rabbit that can keep moving for a long time because of the battery?

High performers are just like that bunny. They can keep going even when everyone is done and has given up.

This is also related to their positive outlook. They see the light when everyone else sees just the looming problem ahead. Again, more importantly, they can motivate the rest of the team who feel defeated or are exhausted. So, this energy drives the energy within the team.

5. Excellent internal compass.

They can feel if people are making bad choices, heading in the wrong direction or have already gone off tangent. High performers inevitably work with the owner. So, if they say you’re making a bad choice, it would be to your business’ advantage to listen because they can take a step back and not be emotionally involved with the decision as much as you are.

6. Willingness to go the extra mile.

They have a good work ethic because they want to, not because they need to. The motivation behind this willingness to take on more tasks or help others comes from a desire to advance their careers.

7. Team players

They can roll up their sleeves and figuratively muck about with the hard tasks in collaboration with their teammates.

High performers know when to act as a team player and when it’s time to step up to keep things moving forward. Consensus building is important to them, but they can also make a decision especially when members can’t agree or compromise on a single point.

8. Seek networking opportunities.

They make it a priority to look after relationships and pay things forward.

9. High level of self-awareness.

They are conscious of their own competence and incompetence. They know what they don’t know and they know what they need to do to fill the gaps. They follow their curiosity to up-level and upskill through professional and personal development opportunities.


If you are interested in having Ally speak at an upcoming event or would like more information about Ally's Programs please book a call.

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