What Makes a High-Performance Leader?

Guest post from Rob Hartnett:


“What is a high-performance leader?” a leader asked me in a Facebook Live session. One of the many I have done since Covid-19 as we pivot to new ways of working.

A high-performance leader is one who is intentional about their leadership. They are not a leader because their position entitles them to be; they see leadership as a verb, a skill to continue to develop and hone. High-performance leaders operate with a growth mindset and are great communicators. A growth mindset means they operate with:

1. Agility

2. Curiosity

3. Persistence

From my research and experience I have observed high-performance leaders look to instill these traits in their people as well. The reason they do this is high-performance leaders understand that their number one goal is to create more high-performance leaders so they can move up to their next position and create more value. They operate with an abundant, as opposed to a scarcity, mindset.

“Titled Leaders” operate from a scarcity mindset. They are only intentional about protecting their role, their title and see all others as a threat to their current role. When you have too many leaders like this you have a fixed mindset, scarcity culture and that is not good for anyone.

Let’s dive a little deeper into the words high-performance. High Performance does not mean they are demanding, relentless, egotistical or high “D” people if you are familiar with DISC behavioural styles. What it means is that a high-performance leader operates like anything that operates at a higher performance than the norm. 

I have grown up around high-performance sport. Motorsport in cars and motorcycles and more human powered endeavours in sailing and cycling. High-performance in the context of sport covers a process that goes like this. 

Practice – Event – Learning – Rest – Practice – Event – Learning – Rest and so on. Each time a Formula One race or MotoGP bike finishes a race the data is downloaded from both driver/rider and machine, learnings are gathered, the machine is then stripped down and rebuilt ready for the next round of practice and event with the new learnings included. The process is then repeated with the aim of improved performance and stronger results. It is the same in every sport where high-performance is the ticket to the dance. 

It is no different with leadership. One of the most important things you can do is create margin for yourself and margin for your team. Margin is the difference between what you can do and what you are doing. If they’re exactly the same level you have no capacity, you are run off your feet, you’re not going to think strategically. If you are doing more than you are capable of for too long this will result in burnout and no one benefits from a burned out leader.  How do you create margin? You must break your time into three sections. 

Section one – what you do on a daily basis with your people. BAU if you will. 

Section two – Time for you to do what leaders need to do and only leaders can do. Still BAU. 

Section three – Time for you and you only to think strategically, grow, invest and upskill. 

As a leader it is also important you model the way for your people and carve out the same regime for them as well. One highly successful global leader I know carves out 20% of his month for section three and holds his team accountable for the same splits.

High-performance leaders are also very strong on accountability and discipline (routine and process). 

Let’s now discuss a growth mindset. Despite Professor Carol Dweck’s groundbreaking book “Mindset” and numerous TED talks I still think most leaders don’t fully understand it. The most common misconception is that we are either growth or fixed mindset people. We are not. It is true that we have a leaning one way or the other but we can be growth, fixed or even mixed about different things. For example I have a growth mindset about my career but I have a fixed mindset about the upsides of parachuting from a perfectly flyable aeroplane! I also have a mixed mindset regarding certain economic strategies, meaning that I am fixed in my mindset but if the right circumstances presented themselves I would be willing to consider my fixed mindset approach. Overall, I am a growth mindset person however at times I do slip into fixed mindset until my growth mindset subconscious or an external coach snaps me out of it. This leads me to defining a growth mindset. My explanation is this – having a growth mindset means: 

I believe with the right strategy, effort, coaching and persistence I can achieve whatever is important to me. With a growth mindset I seek feedback as this accelerates my learning and I see not succeeding as experimenting and learning on my way to achieving my goal. 

A fixed mindset believes that no matter what strategy or effort I apply I won’t succeed, I will look like a failure and therefore it’s not worth trying. I was born in this circumstance and nothing can improve it. Feedback simply reinforces my view that I can’t do it. 

Mixed mindset says that I don’t believe I can do it, I don’t believe it is possible however if these factors changed or I was in this position I might be persuaded to try again. 

For those of you who believe you are growth mindset oriented through and through try this question on. Have you ever gone into a one-on-one review with one of your team, for whom you already had the opinion that they were not going to be successful? And you were only coaching them as you had a monthly KPI to do so? I think we have all done this. This means we had a fixed mindset about their potential. How might our coaching session go if we went in with a growth mindset? 

Coaching, mentoring and accelerated learning is all part of a growth mindset and it can achieve remarkable results. A recent example from Hollywood was the successful remake of “A Star is Born” driven and starring Bradley Cooper. Cooper not only starred in it, he also directed it and was a co-producer of that movie. Six months before they started filming, he couldn’t play guitar, couldn’t play piano and couldn’t sing. However, working with experts in these fields such as Eddie Vedder, Lucas Nelson and Lady Gaga, combined with a solid routine of effort and persistence, resulted in an award-winning movie, a best song award at the Grammys and the best original score award at the BAFTAs. 

Microsoft has done probably the biggest shift in growth mindset at a global corporate level. Led by Satya Nadella, their CEO, they had to change the game, and change their culture quickly. Chris Capossela their CMO said “We went from a culture of know-it-alls to a culture of learn-it-alls.” Which means they had to ask, “Who’s doing stuff better than us? What programmers, coders, what businesses? Who do we need to partner with next?” This is a significant shift for an organisation that had been incredibly successful in the past by being inwardly focused. 

Don’t forget that high-performance leaders fundamentally need to inspire. Leadership gets the team going and management keeps it going. That’s the difference. You need leaders and managers and sometimes that hat swaps many times during the day.

There is a saying that “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, get a team”.  I disagree with this. I say if you want to go further and faster than your competition you will only do it with a team. 

Maybe my cycling has proven that to me. As a leader whether you are leading a Fortune 500 business, a new team, even your family you need to know how to inspire them and this comes from your ability to communicate. Every high-performance leader I know has excellent communication skills. The emphasis being on skills. People are not born communicators. It is a skill that can be developed and must be developed if you wish to cross the chasm from manager to leader. Great communication makes people feel something, it connects and it’s authentic.  For example, we all know it was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who said “I have a dream” in a powerful live speech. Please note he did not say “I have a dream and it’s in Slack with a 72 page PowerPoint deck you can read.” 

When you want to inspire someone, when you want to get them to do something different, three things you need to ask yourself are:

What do I want them to Feel?

How do I want them to Know?

What do I want them to Do? 

I believe we all have the capacity to be high-performance leaders. I believe leadership is a skill and therefore something that can be developed and continually enhanced. You may not be a high-performance leader yet… but with a growth mindset, agility and persistence it is well within our reach.  

Rob Hartnett has worked in senior management roles at global organizations such as Apple Computer, Publicis Mojo, Hewlett-Packard, and Miller Heiman Group. Hartnett is an independent Executive Director in Leadership with the John Maxwell Team as well as a Certified DISC Facilitator & Advisor. For more information, please visit www.robhartnett.com.

3 Ways to Improve Sales Forecasts When the Future Is Unclear

Executive Summary

The economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic has made it difficult for sales teams to set forecasts — at the same time they’re under increased pressure to hit their targets. The authors recommend three practices to help improve the accuracy of sales forecasts during uncertain times: 1) Increase the granularity of your analysis by looking at what’s happening in your customers’ sectors; 2) Leverage your senior executives, who during this time of social distancing may be more available to attend virtual events with high-level customers and gain intelligence; and 3) Honestly assess how urgently your customers need product or service.

Illustration by Joanna Ławniczak

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When the pressure to hit targets is high — as it is during the pandemic — sales teams can become more susceptible to wishful thinking, causing pipeline estimates to become markedly less reliable. Failing to meet expected targets creates a devastating cascade in the organization, lowering employee morale, eroding market reputation, and reducing overall financial performance.

Drawing on our decade of consulting with sales leaders from more than 100 top companies, we’ve identified three things leaders can to do increase the accuracy of their forecasts during uncertain times.

1. Increase the granularity of your analysis.

Sales reps will often paint with a broad brushstroke: “The whole industry is in shambles,” or “No one is selling anything.” Insist on a more rigorous analysis to spot opportunities.

Further Reading

Point your salespeople (and sales managers) towards publications and research that analyzes your customer’s industries (versus your own).  For example, a software client of ours has their sales team read industry publications in the manufacturing sector, and they also stay abreast of what’s happening in health care. These two seemingly disparate industries (manufacturing and health care) represent a large percentage of their customer base.

Asking your team to assess the customer’s business environment provides a two-fold advantage: Your team improves their business acumen, which makes them better salespeople. They also improve their forecasting accuracy, because when you better understand your customer’s economic landscape, you know which business is likely to close and which is not.

2. Leverage your senior executives.

Under normal circumstances, it can be hard to get your senior execs involved in deals. But these exigent times allow for new possibilities. You can ask your own senior executives to attend special virtual events or executive briefings with higher-level buyers, or to author strategic white papers.

Encourage your executives to ask questions about the customer’s overall business strategy. When the senior executives of a commercial banking client of ours began conducting meetings with clients, we created a framework to help them guide the conversations, including questions such as:

  • What’s going on in the customer’s environment?
  • What are their key goals?
  • What are their biggest challenges?
  • What does success look like for this customer, and what does lack of success look like?

This simple framework keeps the conversation focused on the customer. After the meeting, have your senior executives share what they’ve learned with the sales team. When everyone (leaders and the sales team) understand what’s happening at a strategic level within the customer, you can better assess how truly viable an opportunity may be.

3. Honestly assess customer urgency.

It’s always a best practice to ask the sales team honest questions about how badly your customers need or want your product or service. But now is the time to put in place procedures and questions so salespeople are forced to reckon with the present reality. Mandate that your sales team ask themselves these questions before they attempt to close a deal:

  • What’s the ROI on this deal for the customers?
  • How easy is it for customers to make a switch?
  • What are the potential downsides of this engagement for the customer?
  • What are the implications of doing this now versus waiting six months?
  • What resources will it take for them to implement?
  • What other priorities could they pursue instead of this?
  • How will this customer be different as a result of doing business with us?

We find that the last question is often a game changer: It flips a switch in salespeople. Instead of thinking about how much they want to close the deal, they look at it from the customer’s perspective, which helps curtail unrealistic expectations.

If you can’t clearly articulate how their customer’s life and business will be improved as the result of the sale, the business is at risk. If a deal is not urgent for the customer, it’s better to know the truth now, when you can manage it, than to have your forecast fall apart later, when the rest of the organization is counting on it.

Good sales teams are optimistic by nature, and you want to keep them that way. You also want to ensure your forecast is rooted in facts, and with these strategies, you can.

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Are You Offering the Mental Health Benefits Your BIPOC Employees Need?

Executive Summary

Many companies have pledged to better support their BIPOC employees, particularly when it comes to mental health. To do this well, they must offer services that meet the unique mental health needs of those employees and a one-size-fits-all mental health program doesn’t work, especially since people of color are less likely to seek treatment or get culturally appropriate care. To make sure your company’s mental health care benefits address those barriers, the authors recommend evaluating your program on six attributes: access (how quickly and easily can an employee get an appointment), cultural responsiveness, provider diversity, effectiveness, flexibility, and specialty coverage.

Chelsea Victoria/Stocksy

“I am not okay. But I know I have to be. And I will be. But I’m not okay.”

I (Andrea) shared these conflicted yet honest sentiments with a colleague after the murder of Ahmaud Arbery began to receive increased media attention in April. The feeling I called “not okay” was actually psychological distress. I was nervous, mentally fatigued, and continually distracted by the pain of another racially motivated murder and the fear that this could happen to someone I loved. While I was not directly connected to Ahmaud Arbery, the tragedy felt personal due to a psychological phenomenon called shared racial fate.

Managing my distress was further complicated by the burden I felt at work of having to maintain exemplary performance, a burden made even heavier by the realization that my family’s finances and my professional reputation hinged on my ability to compartmentalize and suppress my emotions while working.

Even with my background in mental health, I didn’t accurately label what I was experiencing — race-based traumatic stress — until I spoke with a therapist. Fortunately, my mental health care benefits allowed me to reach out to a professional who helped me process my reactions and develop strategies to manage my emotions and take care of myself.

Unfortunately, many Black Americans don’t have access to these same types of resources. Nor are Black Americans the only ones who experience race-related stress. Millions of people from racial minority groups carry the psychological weight of racism throughout their lives, including at work, and very few are able to reach out to culturally responsive mental health providers through their employee benefits.

Over the past several months, many companies have pledged to better support their Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color (BIPOC) employees, particularly when it comes to mental health. To do this well, they must offer services that meet the unique mental health needs of those employees.

At Lyra Health, I (Joe), consult regularly with employer benefits teams that are increasingly recognizing the shortcomings of a one-size-fits-all mental health program. So what do more effective programs look like? We believe they need to do two key things: Offer culturally appropriate benefits, and ensure employees who need those benefits are using them.

Offer Mental Health Benefits that Work

Most large employers offer mental health benefits via an employee assistance program (EAP), but these programs are often ill-suited to BIPOC communities’ specific needs. While rates of mental illness among Black Americans are comparable to other racial groups, this community faces higher prevalence of severe symptoms that result in disability. The data are particularly troubling when coupled with the fact that BIPOC individuals are often less likely to seek treatment than other groups because of stigma, understandable cultural mistrust toward health care providers, and a lack of access to culturally responsive care. Many of these barriers are rooted in a history of maltreatment by the mental health profession.

Studies show that even when people identifying as BIPOC do obtain services, they often prematurely discontinue care and are less likely to receive a full course of treatment as recommended by clinical guidelines. Traditional EAPs exacerbate this issue by often offering six or fewer sessions to address an identified problem. Thus, treatment coverage often ends well before many evidence-based treatment protocols can be completed.

To make sure that your mental health benefits address these barriers look at the following dimensions of your benefits solution.

  • Access: Is it quick and easy to find and schedule an appointment with a provider? Do you offer online booking and matching of employees to available providers who fit their care needs? A mental health benefits solution should be able to demonstrate an average wait time for an appointment of less than one week, with the ability to obtain a next-day appointment for urgent or severe issues.
  • Cultural responsiveness: Are providers in the network vetted for their use of culturally responsive approaches to care, such as an ability to assess cultural factors that impact clients’ lives, experience and training related to race-based stress, and competence in adapting treatment to cultural needs? Further, what continuing education does the vendor offer to ensure that their providers have easy access to high quality, culturally-informed training? Trainings should address issues related to race and ethnicity, but also promote culturally sensitive care related to other social identities, such as best practices for evaluating and treating clients who identify as transgender.
  • Provider diversity: Does your mental health solution recruit and engage racially diverse providers? Ask about their initiatives to promote diversity within their provider network and whether they continually assess the balance of racial representation among their providers.
  • Effectiveness: Are providers assessed for use of evidence-based therapies that are shown to be effective for diverse populations? Does your benefits solution track clinical outcomes specific to your employee population? An EAP should have data to show that most employees’ mental health symptoms reliably improve.
  • Flexibility: Are employees able to engage in care on their terms? That can mean being able to receive care in-person, by phone, or by video call.
  • Specialty coverage: Can your employees easily find providers who are trained to treat specific issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, or specific populations, such as children and adolescents?

Enhance Utilization Through Education and Partnership

Offering the right mental health benefits is the first step, but even the best benefits won’t be effective if they’re not utilized. Many EAPs have incredibly low usage rates, including among employees who identify as BIPOC, which some experts believe is due to the stigma mentioned above as well as a lack of awareness; many employees simply don’t know that the EAP is available to them. Employers need to promote their mental health benefits using both data and storytelling to normalize mental health, challenge stigma, and explain how evidence-based therapy can effectively treat a wide spectrum of mental health conditions, from mild anxiety and insomnia to substance use and trauma.

Employers should also consider partnering with their BIPOC employee resource groups (ERGs) or affinity groups. These groups can provide safe spaces for discussion around employees’ race-based traumatic stress and the intersection of mental health and cultural diversity. Ask the leaders of these groups if they’d be willing to have an HR representative and possibly a clinician from your mental health benefit provider join a meeting to discuss barriers that are holding BIPOC employees back from seeking help and how to overcome them. If your program effectively covers the dimensions above, you can use this meeting to highlight features such as the ability to be matched with a provider who is culturally responsive.

We also find that outreach efforts are much more effective if BIPOC leaders champion them. When an executive who identifies as a BIPOC shares a personal story about mental health, it can help to destigmatize and encourage access to these benefits.

As companies seek to build and support a more diverse and inclusive workforce, leaders need to understand that race-based stress can be a unique, pervasive burden for many of the employees they want to champion. Offering and promoting mental health benefits that are evidence-based, culturally responsive, and supported by company leaders can lead to meaningful progress in prioritizing the mind, body, and soul of BIPOC employees.

Crypto exchange volume data is becoming more reliable — but it’s still far from perfect

The Blockchain Transparency Institute, or BTI, has published its market data integrity report for 2020. This report found a threefold improvement in the quality of data on veteran crypto rankings site, CoinMarketCap. 

“Only 31% of the [CoinMarketCap] top 25 is being wash traded compared to over 90% just 1 year ago, a 3x improvement with their new rankings system,” the report states. 

Research for the report was compiled as part of “BTI Verified,” an initiative launched by BTI to analyze the problem of crypto exchange data being distorted by wash trading. 

Despite the improvement over the past year, CMC was ranked 4th in the report’s analysis of major crypto data sites — behind competitors such as Nomics, Coingecko and CryptoCompare.

“8 major wash trading exchanges still found on the current CMC top 25 have found a way to beat the new ranking system by faking orderbook liquidity, using ghost trades, and purchasing web visits,” BTI Verified claimed.

In response to the report’s findings, Gerald Chee, head of research at CoinMarketCap, argued that CoinMarketCap’s prominent status in the industry has spurred exchanges to tailor their data manipulation strategies to its systems:

“We are the largest data aggregator in the crypto space, and exchanges will try their very best to game our ranking systems – but not our competitors. This is a reason why our rankings are consistently gamed. Think of it in the SEO game. Hardly anyone tries to game their ranks on Bing, but everyone tries to get top rank on Google.”

Chee clarified CMC’s approach to tackling the false reporting of trading volumes on exchanges. 

First, he said that it is “technically impossible for any data aggregator or provider to detect wash trading from the outside,” noting that data sites “are all consumers of exchanges’ API data.”

To do so would require “account trading data to create a graph model that would reveal how trades are executed and purposefully detect wash trades,” he said.

However, CMC’s model attempts to detect outliers by comparing web traffic data and liquidity. In other words, it looks to detect whether there appears to be “too much volume” for too few users or “too little” liquidity. This method, Chee claimed, sufficiently detects outliers “in at least 80% of exchanges or market pairs.”

BTI Verified’s report attributes the improvement in crypto data sites’ accuracy to new individual pair rankings — yet it underscores that exchange market makers have already found ways to manipulate these metrics. 

The report credits CMC’s inclusion of web traffic and liquidity metrics, as well as confidence scores, with contributing to its exchange rankings “looking much better than they were a year ago.”

However, BTI Verified claims that any exchange can purchase web traffic and use ghost orders in order to trick liquidity metrics. This could enable some exchanges to continue faking their way into CMC’s top rankings. The report notes that such practices are likely to continue unless data sites’ methodologies are improved.

Chee told Cointelegraph that CMC tries to avoid “subjective biases in our methodology,” meaning the site refrains from purposefully “marking down” a given exchange. 

Notably, two well-known exchanges, OKEx and Huobi — each of which report high liquidity and a high number of unique visitors —  had their reported volume reduced by 52% and 84% respectively by CMC competitor Coingecko using its “volume normalization” algorithm. They received a C rating from Nomics’ data transparency 

Unlike other sites, who analyze data transparency and assign a low rating where applicable, CMC considers the transparency of API to be a “subjective exclusion method.” Chee said:

“We believe that [transparency of API] is not a good indicator for wash trading detection. An exchange can provide a lot of “transparent” information regarding their trading data, yet employ bots to execute most of the trades internally.”

Food + Dining: Salud Wine Bar Offering Chicken Marsala, Smoked Meatloaf – Lacamas Magazine

Salud Wine Bar has some great specials this week — through Saturday. 

Chicken Marsala:

“I like to make my Chicken Marsala a little different than everyone else. I first take some golden, crispy, pan-fried chicken, then mix with my mushroom-filled creamy Marsala wine sauce and a good kick of garlic.  Served over a bed of penne pasta, this Chicken Marsala is a delicious treat,” said Salud’s Chef Tony. 

This dish is accompanied with their Salud Side Salad and House made Bread: $15.00

Saturday Smoked Meat (served while supplies last): 

This Saturday, Salud will be serving their ever popular Bacon Wrapped Smoked Meatloaf.  Served along side sweet corn, and a dash of mashed potatoes, as well as the Salud Side Salad and their House Made Bread: $20

You may want to get reservations in ASAP.

For their menu, go to: www.saludwine.com/menu

Please make reservations: www.saludwine.com/online-reservations or call 360-787-2583.

Each dish is available for takeout.

Starting next week they will be open on Tuesdays, as well.

Don’t forget they ALWAYS have Wine Specials, Every Week!! 🍷

Lastly, Please help them by practicing proper CDC guidelines.

They ask that you please wear a mask into the establishment, and wear it anytime you aren’t seated. Also please use hand sanitizer and practice proper social distancing.

Coming Soon – 👨‍👩‍👦‍👦 Family Dining in our Main Dining Room – Mid to End of September!