When high performance meets awareness

Marcio S Galli
3 min readMar 23, 2021


Many high performers don’t know exactly why they are high performers. They might look at them from a general overview — the successful week goes by because things are working after the sum of all that matters. But are they moving forward with the right level of consciousness about why they are performing so well? If you promote a high performer to become a manager, are they able to explain to the team what it takes to be a high performer?

Slide 100 — context — consider high-performance individuals

  • Some people are great at delivering anything — the high-performance behavior generally pays off — a protagonist, owner of a highly productive engine, whereas the sum of all activities translates into success.

Slide 110 — The distribution — your performance against kinds of activities

  • The general state of satisfaction with their agenda is good — imagine that a person is successful and happy with his or her general performance.
  • Some activities are sustaining the person as an engine — it just so happens that certain activities can be so rewarding that compensates for everything else. It grants a special status.
  • General context — this person shows high-performance activities that may not map to anything meaningful (green and yellow areas for example).
  • Consider how the blue region activities became important — the consideration that the person found what pays off in a way not much different from gambling. Or, an iterative model.
  • Activities versus goals — perhaps this person should consider reflecting on his or her activities associated with strategic goals.
  • It’s fine to not be so great at certain activities — strategic consideration may include being a not-so-great performant at certain things, instead of a highly performant at random things.

Slide 120 — the high-pressure system is acting?

  • Any pressure system — the above distribution may also show that a pressure system can be acting. Is this person being forced to deliver numbers? Or could also mean that things are too easy — the possibility of the protagonist being sandbagging.
  • Establishing a conscious system a different kind of pressure — this protagonist should consider being more conscious of his or her agenda — to become a highly performant that continuously maps how their tasks are tied to goals. An ideal end-result does not necessarily mean a plan with 100% high-performance activities associated with meaningful goals. What is at stake here is to be conscious, to keep the tasks-goals conversation alive. And it’s even okay to have low-performance activities that can strategically honor aspiring goals.

You may also consider a notion of performance vs potential at High Potentials vs. High Performers: A Manager’s Guide to Identify, Assess and Develop.

Slide 130 — consider activities vs goals

When the train is moving things become challenging. This is because he or she is highly performant already. Therefore, it’s not a situation where they can hit their high-pressure breaks and, for example, replace activities to match goals.

slide 130.1 — the bottom-up approach

The bottom-up approach is an exercise that I learned from Michael Dearing in his OKR course [1].

This effort should look at activities without having in mind existing goal structures. It’s about navigating and trying to understand the significance of them. Imagine a person that can work effectively in 30 activities in a given week. This person can use the bottom-up method, first to read and reflect on each. This process, of navigating and reflecting, should help to spot patterns.

With patterns, abstract clusters should emerge. These clusters may suggest new goals. Don’t worry; this is temporary. What matters here is that this effort will lead to more clarity about objectives. Just make sure that you are looking at activities and not forcing them to connect with old/existing goals. It will help to see the dynamic nature of goals.

I am grateful to Harrison Metal’s course on OKR, for it provided me with this concrete bottom-up exercise that is used by top entrepreneurs. Keep in mind that the bottoms-up process can also be coordinated with the standard pre-planning top-down approach. Check Michael’s course to see his interpretation and great explanation.

[1] https://www.harrisonmetal.com/classes/gm2-setting-goals-measuring-performance/lessons/magic-of-okrs



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