Performance + Contribution = Indispensable Impact

You’re the person who shows up on Monday morning and gets to work right away. You make a beeline for the coffee machine, and then it’s straight to your office to start plugging away at the millions of things on your plate.

Or wait, maybe you’re the person that saunters in with a thousand new ideas you’ve thought of between 5:00 PM yesterday and 8:30 AM today. You can’t wait to sit down and do some more research, share what you’ve learned, and start implementing these new ideas.

My boss likes to categorize these as performers and contributors, and says most team members will usually fall into one area or the other. Regardless of which way you lean, I’m sure you’re eager to bring value to your position, and while both approaches are indeed valuable in their own right, one way you can take that value even further is to adopt a blend of these two mindsets. To do that, you have to first know which way you lean and also what the wins and deficiencies are in both approaches.

Performer Wins

Performers show up and get work done. They are expert maximizers of time and models of consistency. They are usually thorough and detail-oriented, holding the line when it comes to standards and quality.

Performer Deficiencies

Performers can be one-track minded, focusing only on their areas and failing to broaden their perspective to consider the company as a whole. They are very much in the present and are usually resistant to change, even though it may improve their performance in the long-run.

Contributor Wins

Contributors are idea generators and problem solvers. They are future-focused and eternal challengers of “the way we’ve always done things". They always see room for growth and constantly push the company toward innovation and positive change.

Contributor Deficiencies

Contributors can be so fixated on improvement that it stifles their ability to complete basic tasks. They tend to be overly focused on the areas all around them that they neglect the responsibilities right in front of them.

As with most things in life, striking the balance between extremes is essential. Sometimes we’re so enamored with what defines our personality type that we think growing beyond it somehow compromises our identity. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Start looking at definitions like these as insights into how you can improve instead of a validation of who you are.

Challenge yourself to blend the performer and contributor tendencies—use the wins of one to offset the deficiencies of the other. If you want a voice that champions improvement and innovation, you have to simultaneously be faithful in the small things. This will be the differentiator between a good team member and an indispensable team member.