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How do you identify and deal with your peak performers?

It’s not as easy as you may think.  You can easily confuse great quantity and great quality with great leadership and vision.  A top quality/quantity performer does their job well above standard, goes beyond the call of duty, staying late, arriving early, always meeting deadlines, doing what it takes to do their job the best way it can be done and perhaps in the fastest way it can be done.  They can be great managers and team leads. They are often your “go to” person in a clinch.

But that is where the great, but sometimes subtle, divide occurs.

Your peak performers – your “visionaries” —   will have some of the great abilities described above. But in addition to that they:

a)      Can see what others cannot. They can identify strengths and weaknesses, take the task given and make it multi dimensional, understanding the full integration of their role into the core strategy of the business. 

b)      Can be architects of new, perhaps daringly different, processes and strategies.

c)       But most important of all, peak performers are willing to take risks, to fight for what they are passionate about and believe to be right, even if it is outside their scope.  They dare to go outside the norm of what is known or accepted.  

Peak performers are relentlessly committed to the improvement of the process, idea or strategy they’re challenged with, because they cannot live by simply doing the best at the set standard.  They must expand, they must grow.  They live for growth and innovation and they hold themselves to a higher standard on their own than any outside source ever will.

They are capable of taking a product or service from ordinary to extraordinary and your organization to a whole new level. But it requires a special type of leadership to retain such talent, to earn their loyalty and respect for your organization and brand, and, most importantly, to maximize their contribution. 

Identifying the peak performers in your organization is key. So is identifying their maturity level. They are usually very intelligent, persuasive individuals who can dream bigger than your organization’s current and/or future realities.  There has to be a practical application, a significant meaningful outlet and a fiscal reality to all that positive energy and enthusiasm.  

You need to nurture such talent and at the same time make sure it is channelled properly or it can prove disruptive.  Development of new corporate software comes to mind as an example. Your organization may be in desperate need of an upgrade but the capital expenditure must match current realities and needs and be in balance with future growth.  In other words you may not need a full $250,000 ERP when only 40% of it will be utilized despite the ambitions of your peak performer IT leader to bring you the best. How will you keep your peak performers in sync with what is financially possible without curbing their ability to create a new reality that can positively transform your company?

 It is up to you as a leader to identify the peak performers in your organization and to keep them challenged and focused by providing them with opportunities to make the significant contribution they crave to make.  In return, your organization will be inspired, energized and likely transformed by them.

Carolina Billings

Carolina Billings

Carolina M. Billings is an executive with 15+ year’s leadership experience in the fields of Business Development, Human Resources and Finance. As CFO-CHRO of a multi-million business conglomerate, she performs a truly interdisciplinary role within a portfolio of diverse industries ranging from Supply Chain, Logistics & Distribution, Wealth Management, Furniture Import, Sales & Distribution as well as Interior Design. She champions leadership initiatives as well as empowering and coaching/mentoring others to lead. Developing a hybrid of Finance and Human Resources has enable her to become leading business partner. Her great ability to influence and engage others in the pursuit of goals and objectives makes her a true innovator and change agent. Carolina is currently pursuing her Masters in Interdisciplinary studies with Royal Roads University, She holds Graduate Certificates from Cornell University and Queen’s University in the fields of Change Management and Leadership. She is a Co-Active Professional coach currently doing her practicum towards Certification with ICF. She holds a CHRL designation and a High Honor’s HRM Graduate Certificate. Carolina is the founder of Big Fish Coaching a private practice specializing in personal leadership, career coaching, conflict resolutions and life change management.
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