Finding Star Performer Leaders: The Secret to Running Successful Organizations

Finding Star Performer Leaders: The Secret to Running Successful Organizations

Reuven Bar-On (National Command and Staff College, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8516-9.ch011


This chapter describes an innovative and valuable method for creating predictive models designed to assist in hiring high performing leaders—“star performers”—as well as to continue to enhance their ability to perform on an even higher level. This approach—“Star Performance Modelling”—is described in detail including the process involved and how best to apply the star performer models that are created. The author also demonstrates that the application of these models has a significant impact on organizational effectiveness and profitability. Moreover, it will be explained how star performance modelling is based on analyzing and applying results generated by multifactor assessment instruments such as version 3.0 of the “Bar-On Multifactor Measure of Performance” (MMP3). The author additionally presents a number of examples showing how star performance models have been applied to help organizations save and/or earn hundreds of millions of dollars.
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This section explains the author’s reasons for developing Star Performance Modelling (SPM) as well as a comprehensive assessment instrument – the Bar-On Multifactor Measure of Performance™ (MMP3™) – which plays an integral part in this type of model-building. Creating such a multifactor assessment instrument naturally prompts a discussion on how best to apply it. As such, the author describes the reasons for developing the MMP3™ as well as a more detailed discussion on how to apply it (SPM).

One of the basic reasons for beginning the extensive research that led to developing the Bar-On MMP3™ (version 3.0 of the Multifactor Measure of Performance™) emerged from reviewing a wide variety instruments that have been designed to assess various aspects of human behavior and performance (Bar-On, 2016, 2018). This review indicated a need to create multifactor assessment instruments capable of concomitantly evaluating a combination of key predictors of performance, in order to hopefully reduce the need for time-consuming and costly batteries of tests in psychological assessment. Additionally, this need to develop multifactor assessment instruments, designed to measure human performance, emerged from the desire to, metaphorically, “go beyond IQ and EQ” (Bar-On, 2016, p. 104) as well as other concepts that focus on only a few and questionably robust predictors, by including a wider array of physical, cognitive, intra-personal, inter-personal and motivational contributors to performance. Furthermore, the author’s overall approach to this endeavor was purposely a-theoretical in nature from the outset, in order to avoid being restrained by rigid conceptual frameworks that run the risk of restricting rather than facilitating the ability to examine and potentially include a wider range of contributors to human performance. Essentially, the author envisioned the development of a multifactor assessment instrument that attempts to include as many significant contributors to performance as possible and to combine them in order to enhance overall predictive ability. It was thought that such an instrument could eventually be used in career counseling, human resources as well as leadership assessment and development, to help make better decisions in the workplace.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Discomfort Tolerance and Stamina: In addition to the ability to temporarily suspend everyday physical needs and comforts in order to complete a task, this is the willingness to eat at irregular times, work longer hours with less sleep as well as to work on weekends in order to meet deadlines and finish the work on time.

Decision Making: In addition to generating potentially effective solutions to problems, weighing the pros and cons of each possibility and deciding on the best solution, this is the ability to make good decisions in general. Moreover, it is the ability to come up with a potentially effective plan that requires coping with ambiguity and exercising sound judgement even when working under pressure and dealing with potential risks.

Self-Awareness: This is the ability to accurately look inward at oneself in order to better understand and accept oneself, including one’s weaknesses as well as one’s strengths.

Applying Experience: In addition to appropriately and effectively applying past experience in order to facilitate current problem-analysis, problem-solving and decision-making, this is the ability to apply experience in understanding and dealing with current challenges and problematic situations. This requires the capacity to effectively combine past experience with new information and approaches, which is an important contributor to effective cognitive functioning.

Perseverance: In addition to persevering and following through with a task until it is completed, this is the drive to pursue goals in general.

Determination: In addition to being committed to decisions that are made and goals that are set as well as being determined to follow through with them, this is essentially how resolute people are in the choices and decisions they make. This requires the resolve to begin what they decide to do and to move into “action mode” after decisions are made.

Resourcefulness and Resilience: In addition to the ability to be innovative and consider different ways of coping with situations, this is the capacity of individuals to generate different approaches to dealing with challenges and setbacks as well as to resiliently recover from them. If previous approaches are ineffective, resourceful individuals typically come up with alternative approaches that work for them; and this often depends on formulating an effective course of action aimed at going from the current situation to a better one for them.

Self-Reliance: In addition to being independent from others and being able to think things out alone, make decisions and act independently when needed, this is essentially the capacity to think and act independently rather than depending on others. Moreover, it is the ability of people to act alone when need be, even though they might be open to receive input and suggestions from others.

Coping and Endurance: In addition to managing one’s feelings in stressful situations, this is essentially how well people typically cope and function under pressure. This includes how effective they are in dealing with anxiety-provoking situations.

Connectedness: In addition to being able to connect with other people and to establish and maintain mutually satisfying interpersonal relationships, this is the capacity to establish and maintain good relationships with others, get along with friends and colleagues as well as to enjoy social interactions in general.

Self-Control: In addition to controlling emotions and maintaining self-composure, this is essentially “the ability of people to control their emotions so they work for them and not against them.” Moreover, it is the ability to effectively deal with challenges while maintaining outward composure.

Preparedness and Readiness: This is the ability of individuals to be prepared and ready to cope with immediate situations that arise and/or to execute some form of goal-oriented action based on what they have learned. This includes immediately sizing up what is presently happening in the here-and-now, deciding on the best course of action and rapidly implementing it, which appears to be what is cognitively needed in dealing with emergency situations.

Responsibility: In addition to living according to a set of principles, values and beliefs which guide one’s decisions and ability to do the right thing, this is also the consistency of one’s moral integrity when one is with family members, friends and/or colleagues. Fundamentally, this is based on the ability to understand the difference between right and wrong and to act accordingly.

Situational Awareness: In addition to being attentive to the immediate situation, paying attention to detail and understanding, clarifying and closing gaps between the perception of subjective reality and objective reality, this has to do with how attentive people are to their surroundings and how well they size up the situation. This appears to be based on an ability to update their assessment of situations in response to changes in the immediate environment as well as to filter out irrelevant information, in order not to get distracted.

Self-Motivation: In addition to being positive, optimistic and energized in doing what one does, this is the degree to which people are capable of motivating themselves. This enhances their drive to get as much as they can out of what they enjoy doing and energizes them to perform on an even higher level.

Engagement: In addition to being committed to one’s work which builds on feeling passionate about what one enjoys doing that enhances overall motivational drive, this is the degree to which people feel positive about what they do or have done and understand the positive impact it has or might have on others.

General Cognitive Competence: In addition to one’s ability to learn new information and apply learned knowledge, logic and reasoning for the purpose of understanding and solving problems, this is the capacity to learn more about the challenges one is faced with, to first understand them and then think about a reasonable course of action, to apply potentially effective solutions and weigh conflicting evidence, as well as to take into account the short-term and long-term consequences of potential solutions being considered.

Decisiveness: In addition to expressing oneself openly, clearly and boldly as well as being able to confidently convey feelings, beliefs and ideas, this is the ability of people to be assertive and decisive as well as to set firm limits with others when necessary but without being aggressive or hostile.

Social Awareness: In addition to being aware of others, their feelings and concerns which helps one interact with people and become a more cooperative, constructive and contributing team player, this is the ability to understand nonverbal communication, to know how others feel and to be attentive to their needs.

Finding Meaning: In addition to finding meaning in what one does as well as being passionately involved in meaningful pursuits that benefit others in addition to oneself, this is the ability to live a meaningful and rewarding life as well as to follow one’s calling.

Physical Fitness and Well-Being: In addition to striving to obtain and maintain good physical fitness, which contributes to overall well-being, this factor is a combination of physical (primarily) and emotional well-being. It is how people feel in general about their physical fitness, eating and sleeping habits as well as how energetic they typically are in what they do.

Courage: In addition to being able to overcome one’s apprehensions and fears to act courageously, this is the capability of individuals to protect, stand up for and support others even when there might be negative consequences for doing so. Additionally, it is the extent to which people are even prepared to risk their life to save another person’s life.

Flexibility and Adaptability: In addition to coping with and adapting to change as well as dealing with unexpected, unpredictable and confusing situations, this is the ability to flexibly “think on one’s feet” and deal with the unexpected, finding ways to improvise and adapt when the unpredictable occurs, and to make the necessary adjustments to overcome. This often requires one to re-reframe setbacks and not to see them as personal or permanent.

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