My letter to Santa

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Dear Team,

The hard truth is – not all organizations want to be great. We do!

Great Companies come in different shapes and sizes, but one thing these companies have in common is that they’ve learned both how to hire A-Players and how to get them to perform at their best.

There are three main types of performance: poor, mediocre and the best.

⁃ Poor Performance – when employees don’t set goals at all and just slog through the work – day after day. In this mode, even A-Players, who have a 90% chance of successfully accomplishing any given job, will just do what they know best without going the extra mile.

⁃ Mediocre Performance – when employees set general goals that too often focus on simply achieving a good outcome: win an order, get a presentation ready, write a proposal.

⁃ The Best Performance – is achieved, when your team sets goals focused not on the outcome per se, but on the process of reaching a certain outcome. The best employees and teams concentrate on exactly (not vaguely) how to get to where they are going.

Below are three examples that illustrate these different types of performance.  

RUNNING:

– Poor Performers just go for a jog every now and then.

Mediocre Performers go a step further – they track their pace, weekly mileage and perhaps even create a training plan.

The Best Performers, however, break running into specific elements and look at what they need to improve in detail: running technique, improved mobility, flexibility, quad power, core strength, cadence, diet, weight, etc. and tackle them one by one with deliberately planned training sessions followed by immediate feedback.

SALESMAN:

Poor Performers just slog through the workday: come in, pick up the phone, write emails.

Mediocre Performers set themselves targets and perhaps even measure results on a weekly or monthly basis.

The Best Performers, however, break salesmanship into specific elements and improve each one in focused sprints: public speaking and pitching, cold calling, written communications, building rapport, ability to shut up and listen, resilience and tenacity, striking up conversations with strangers, networking, curiosity, asking the right questions, initiative, independence and many more. Just like with the running example above, the Best Salesmen will find a coach, a mentor, a group of peers to provide dispassionate immediate feedback.

STARTUP CEO:

One of any Startup CEO’s main responsibilities is to get investment to fund growth – which means working with VCs becomes a hugely important part of their job.

Poor Performers just get on with the daily work and hope that VCs will one day turn up and invest in their business.

Mediocre Performers set themselves targets to contact a certain number of VCs a quarter and do a specific number of pitches.

The Best Performers, however, break VC pitching into very distinctive sets of skills and deliberately practice them until it becomes their second nature: public speaking, storytelling, rapport building, resilience, tenacity, doing background research on your audience, knowing your numbers, etc.

My beloved Splento Team,

You are all amazing individuals, proper A-Players and I’m very glad we have you as part of the Splento Family.

What I would like for Christmas is for all of you to re-read this post many, many times and understand the different types of performance… and then take a leap of faith with me and wholeheartedly adopt the Best Performer mentality.

It is not going to be easy. It’s going to be a lot of hard work. But if you want to be the best, you have to do things others are not willing to do and when you get into the habit of performing at your best, you’ll enjoy every second of it.

Merry Christmas!

Love,

Roman