During economic downturns, or even when the indicators of a recession are present, businesses are often encouraged to:

  • Create forecasting models to anticipate cash flow.
  • Create contingency plans for future uncertainties.
  • Keep their business as liquid as possible.
  • Stay in relationships with customers, vendors, and financial institutions.

Although this is good advice to follow, we want to discuss an often-overlooked strategy: to focus on your top performers. You should take aggressive steps to ensure you are retaining, developing, and leveraging the potential of your top performers.

The importance of top performers

Within any organization, there is a range of performance in every role. The majority usually falls within one standard deviation of the norm, leaving a smattering of poor and outstanding performers. Although top performers rarely cost much more than an average performer, they can often be three to eight times as productive as an average employee.

To survive or even prosper during tough times, business leaders should focus on their top performers and on how to make them better.

Potential for growth

The first step in either leader development or succession planning is to determine who your top performers are and what current roles they excel in. Then, you must try to understand their future potential for growth. For instance, do your top-performing supervisors have the potential to be outstanding managers? Can your best managers become future leaders?

At SelectionLink, we provide tools to assist organizations in better understanding the future potential of their most capable and talented people. We can help you determine:

  • Which of your best individual contributors possess a substantial potential for supervision.
  • Who among your best supervisors reveals the strongest potential for management.
  • Who has the best leadership potential among your best managers.

Think about it… Your best people think, act, respond, and talk differently than your average employees. The best performers in every role are even motivated differently than average performers.

Identifying talent

Based on 30+ years of research, we have identified critical success factors that are found in various industries’ best supervisors, managers, and leaders. We can measure these factors to help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your top performers. This insight can support them in taking the next step in their development and in furthering their contribution to the success of your business.

There can be opportunities to facilitate business growth, even when the business indicators suggest otherwise. Leveraging the talent and potential of your best, most productive employees should be your focal point.