We all do it – we overload our High performers. We push them hard and you know what – they seem to like it. They want all the critical tasks – that is what made them your High Performers.
Here is the challenge – it is likely the worst thing you can do. Often “critical” is not most difficult or most important to the business long term – it is often “most critical” because the client has made it so. Often when you are pulled into a crisis, there are many things that need to be done to overcome the challenge. Everyone wants their best people on it because it gives you the greatest chance to fix it. The problem is often complex on several angles:
1. You can get caught up in dealing with the symptoms constantly rather than addressing the cause
2. Only your best performers learn from the situation
3. You do not get to know what your other performers can do
In most circumstances, the critical situation just needs attention to detail to resolve. You can almost always overcome it with diligence and great communication. These are actual skills that are best to be training your other performers on. They often do not have those skills and it is a great learning opportunity for them – plus, they will see it in action and learn directly from you.
So stop using only your High Performers in the crisis, use all the other resources that are looking to gain these skills.
As to what to do with your High Performers? Use them in the highest value add situations. The hardest thing to do with a business is to grow it. You often need to understand exactly how the existing business works and what needs to be done in order to accomplish that. They have to have the trust of managers to be able to make calls in the heat of the challenge – whether the product can meet the needs of a new segment or what exactly needs to be done in order to make the new client happy.
So stop using your High Performers in a reactive way – in a way that does not develop more High Performers. Using your High Performers in high growth opportunities is not only best for the company, it is best for them.