By: Larry Fish, President
The most pleasurable part of my job is the opportunity to interact with the best people in the green industry, and draw from their knowledge base regarding important people issues facing them now and in the future. One of those critical issues that prevails year after year is the challenge for business owners and managers to identify and develop their key performers.
From my management experience covering 30+ years in the business world, most people are average, not because they choose to be, but because they have never been offered the chance to be otherwise. Some, however, have managed in spite of the system to become excellent performers. All seem to share common, recognizable traits that add up to the unmistakable earmarks of success. If they were not born with these personal qualities, they somehow acquired them. They seemed to have performed jobs or lived lives at the highest levels of commitment possible. With their effort almost always has come fulfillment and considerable achievement.
When you think about it, it is relatively easy to identify who are – or are in the process of becoming – great performers. They seem to have a mission in their work and lives. They have something they truly care about and to which they are willing to commit their lives fully. Reflect on these comments – – wasn’t that how you felt when you made the commitment to start up your nursery or landscape company? It truly does take a lot of nerve, doesn’t it? However, success truly does not come without a price, but you must have the mindset to begin with to make it happen and sustain growth and profitability.
I recently re-read a great book by James Garfield, who has made it a career of helping corporations identify great talent in their workforce. The following are some guidelines to use for you to identify your “peak performers.”
Peak Performers have . . .
- A sense of mission
- Ability to plan strategically, both for their own careers and for projects
- Courage to take risks in the pursuit of excellence
- High self-confidence and self-worth
- Need for responsibility and control
- Ownership of their own good ideas
- Ability to prepare for key situations mentally
- Good time management skills
- Ability to learn from past situations
- Faith in their own creativity, even when people do not understand their contributions
- Positive work environment, even if they have to make it this way themselves
- Concern for other people, allowing them to work well with them
- Decisiveness in the face of opportunity
- Foresight to anticipate difficulties and opportunities
- Need to check on themselves frequently to see whether they are on course
- A thirst for new knowledge and experiences
Good stuff. Here’s something else that I have noticed about the best employees – – when a problem comes up, their first instinct is to solve it, not assign blame. As a result, their people give them their best. In effect, giving power and opportunity to your employees gives a manager more power.
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