We recently completed a client presentation on the importance of top performers and how their view of their work provides valuable data for management in the creation of procedures, training, organizational design, and other important elements in a high-performing culture.
At a casual lunch afterward, we were asked how we got started.
We immediately began sharing stories about early clients and some of our first investigations of top performers. This was followed quickly by some unintentional chest thumping about significant successes with other clients.
Later, on the drive home from the airport after a two-hour plane ride, it dawned on us: we both trace our starts in this rewarding field to the guidance and mentoring provided by Dr. Paul Elliott, who, in the late eighties and early nineties, was deeply involved with the concept of top performance and the importance of accomplishments or outcomes.
Nothing of significance seems to come easy. Though it seemed to make common sense that we could learn from those whose performance stands out from their peers, it took several months and many attempts by Paul for the significance of outcomes to sink in. The resultant perspective has forever changed our views on performance inside and outside the workplace. The significance of this shift in perspective is best summed up by another of Paul’s pupils who said, “Once you get it, you can’t unsee it.”
Should he be asked, Paul would likely credit his own “conversion” to mentoring by Dr. Joe Harless, creator of Accomplishment Based Curriculum Design. And before his death, Joe, in turn, credited his insights to his direct work with psychologist Thomas Gilbert, author of Human Competence: Engineering Worthy Performance, who is considered by most to be the father of human performance technology (HPT), and the better known B. F. Skinner, founder of what is called radical behaviorism.
As you can see, we are privileged to be able to stand on the shoulders of a long line of studied individuals who make it possible for us to see farther than we thought possible. We most certainly and simply say thank you to all—and mostly to Paul—for now that we have seen it, it’s impossible unsee it.
Question to Ponder:
- Can you see it?