Monday, September 8, 2014

Why Managers Don't Promote Over-Achievers

Many hard-working Over-Achievers are frustrated with their lack of career advancement. They work long hours, complete mountains of work, but can’t seem to get promoted. The reason? They need to be High-Performers not Over-Achievers.

What’s the difference between a High-Performer and an Over-Achiever?

  • High-Performers are Strategists. They know when to wait, when to attack, how to sacrifice, and when to change direction. They can position the company to achieve victory in multiple ways and move on non-linear paths. 
  • Over-Achievers are Brute Force. They have one mission, and that is to get from point A to point B as fast as possible within the rules provided. They focus on completing as much as possible, in a linear fashion, until there is nothing left to complete.
The difference between the two is hard to spot at first, because both are able to produce short-term results. The key difference is long-term results and value.

Millennials are natural Over-Achievers

The Millennial Generation can rarely tell the difference between an Over-Achiever and a High-Performer. They will often attempt to get a promotion by doing ten times more work and will get frustrated when they aren’t promoted into a more strategic or managerial role.
The High-Performer role is harder for Millennials to grasp, since they are the instant gratification generation. As “digital natives” most of them grew up with a device in their hand, and have been connected to the internet for as long as they can remember. This leads to a mentality that faster is better, and all things need to happen quickly – from accomplishing goals to getting feedback.
  • Need 100 things documented? They’re on top of it. Achievement for a typical Millennial is measured by completing as many goals as possible. It’s mostly quantitative. 
  • Need a plan to make documentation easier, faster, cost-effective and sustainable? Millennials will struggle because the goal is transformational which means they may not see immediate results. Transformation over time is how performance is measured. It’s both qualitative and quantitative.

How to cultivate High-Performers

  1. Review past goals. When meeting with your employees make sure to identify their goals in terms of Over-Achiever vs. High-Performer, so they understand what path they have been on so they can make a decision of how they want to move forward.
  2. Set strategic goals. An Over-Achiever suffers from single-mindedness. They will need to create goals in which the planning, not execution, is the outcome. These should be high-level plans to improve a business area. They will need to think critically about areas of the business that may be affected by the changes they are proposing, including contingencies and pivot points for if (or when) the environment supporting their plan changes. Your job as a manager is to ask questions, and help them refine their plan.
  3. Create stages for execution. Once they have a plan, have them work slowly and steadily, and understand that progress is measured over time. They will have to fight the urge to abandon their plans when they don’t see progress immediately. As a manager, you will need to help them keep metrics and timeframes so they don’t revert back to brute force tactics to make something work.
Do you have Over-Achievers or performers?

How have you ensured their success respectively?  

Posted by S. Slade Sundar in Linkedin