Photo from Summit of Mount Mitchell, the Highest Peak east of Mississippi River, taken by Court Whitman on April 19th 2019.

We’re all chasing High Performance in our lives in one way or another. But how is High Performance actually defined?  Consider this definition – High Performance is success in desired results above established norms over the long-term.  

Now let’s unpack that definition into three parts to best understand how High Performance is defined.

Part 1.  Success in desired results. What does success mean?  What does it look like?  Consider the simplicity found in goal setting and ask yourself “Are you achieving the goals you set for yourself in your personal and professional life?” And oh – by the way – you have to set goals.  So, if you haven’t set goals, I recommend you begin with a goal setting exercise. For goal setting – use the SMART framework – as goals must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound.  Once goals are set, you must evaluate whether or not you are achieving them or not. That’s why the “M – Measurable” is such an important part of goal setting. If you are achieving your goals, reflect on why that is happening and sustain those actions that have enabled your success. If you’re not meeting the goals that you’ve established for yourself, reflect on why not, and develop a new strategy to achieve those goals and hold yourself accountable in the pursuit of each goal.  Partnering with a coach for either goal establishment or service as an accountability partner can be incredibly valuable.

Part 2. Above established norms.  Are you living, and serving, a life that is consistent with the norms you’ve established for yourself? For me, norms are broken down into two separate categories: (1) Individual norms and (2) Organizational or Team norms.

Individual norms create and reflect Identity.  The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines Identity as “the distinguishing character of an individual.” And character is “the mental and moral qualities distinct to you.” I believe that character is most effectively communicated through Core Values. Core Values are those 3-5 characteristics of yourself that are non-negotiable and significantly impact your decision making. What is your identity? Identifying and defining your Core Values is a critical step to performing at a high level during.

Organizations and Teams also have norms that inform and reflect identity. More times than not, this organizational/team identity is referred to as the “culture” of the team or organization. Strong organizational and team culture begins with a Vision, a Mission and Core Values that are defined, communicated, and used to hire new employees and used to hold existing employees accountable to the behavioral norms. An important question to reflect upon, as you examine your individual norms and the norms found in your organization or team, is whether or not your individual norms are aligned with the norms of your organization/team. If there is core value alignment, you likely thrive at work.  If core value alignment doesn’t exist for you, there is likely an anxiety within you at work that is disrupting your ability to perform at a high level.

part 3. Over the long-term. How is the long-term defined?  The answer to this question is – “it depends.”  It depends on you! The long-term for you may be “get me through today.” For the salesperson, the long-term may be get me through 2nd quarter 2019. Or maybe you’re on a team like Tom Brady, and the long-term may be get me through that 7th Superbowl so I can win it and make NFL history. The beauty about the long-term is that you get to define it.

High Performance. Success in desired results above established norms over the long-term.  Chasing High Performance? Let’s chat!