You can be average and be a low performer, or demonstrate the same performance level and be a high performer. It all depends upon to whom you are comparing yourself.
You really can’t compare yourself to a narrow or small peer group. You have to look to a wider audience. Why? Because the world is changing at a very fast clip, and the average performer today may be below average a year from now. Unless you have a function that doesn’t change, you must stay ahead of the curve to remain ahead of the average mark.
There are three principles to keep in mind when looking at your performance:
- There will always be someone who is better than you. They may be in another industry, function, level or pay. They can be more experienced in a key area, have more education, in a more supportive organization, or have more resources at their disposal, but they’re out there.
- There will always be someone out there that can do the same thing as you, but at a lower price tag. Unless you have something unique that no one else has, and you can convert that to compensation for the value you create. Then you can become overcompensated for what you do.
- You may be getting above average pay for just average results, but that situation will not last long. Either the marketplace will catch up to you, your pay will slide until you are part of the average, or your organization will look for other options to get greater than average results.
What does this all mean to you? Three suggestions:
- Keep striving to become the best at what you do. Expand your knowledge, skills and abilities so you become the most effective within your organization or industry. With the changing world around us, whomever stands still is actually falling behind. Paraphrasing Alice in Wonderland, “The faster I run the behinder I get. So you need to run twice as fast”.
- Differentiate yourself as best you can. Find the area of competence whereby you shine brighter than anyone in your function. Make sure your unique contribution is one that will be leading the function over the next 5 years rather than an area that lags behind where the industry is going.
- When you accelerate your performance the compensation should also accelerate. The slogan, “Pay for Performance” works both ways. Become known for your knowledge, skills or abilities by writing in an industry periodical, speaking to conferences or offer to teach training programs. The greater the perception that you are a leader in your field, the greater the opportunities. Perception is reality.
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