Rotman Management

How Top Performers Achieve More

In the workplace, most people believe that by taking on more, they will accomplish more—but your research indicates otherwise. Please explain.

We studied 5,000 managers and employees—across corporate America, seeking to answer a fundamental question: Why do top performers perform better in their job than others? What we found surprised us: The top performers across organizations actually worked less hours. We identified seven characteristics of their approach to work, and they all relate to being highly selective as to what they engage in.

Top performers very carefully select assignments, tasks, projects and collaborative activities, and as a result, they do a fewer total number of things, but they totally obsess about doing an amazing job on the things they do focus on. They go all in and provide targeted, intense effort to excel in a few chosen areas.

Instead of projects to their plate, these people projects; and instead of saying Yes to all new engagements, they often say No. The fact is, ‘doing more’ does not lead to

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