June 24, 2018

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Breakthrough Employees

There are employees and then there are breakthrough employees. Once in a blue moon the average company hires someone that can make a dramatic difference in the business. This is usually done in the routine hiring process someone retires, quits or is fired and a person is hired to take their place.

Sometimes the company acknowledges the presence of a breakthrough employee but very often does not. Co-workers and micromanagers will drive off a breakthrough employee by considering them a threat to the status quo and their own narrow self-interests.

There is no doubt that the right kind of employee can bring huge value to a company. Highly successful companies often build their success around this type of employee. The breakthrough employee:

  1. Can help a company make a 'quantum' leap. This means that this type of employee can help a company reach the next level of its strategy.

  2. Wants to work in an environment where their skills and knowledge are appreciated and used.

  3. Constantly speaks of improvement, opportunity and what is possible. They will 'jump ship' quickly if the company does not meet their needs. Breakthrough employees will tend to go toward opportunities and a good opportunity goes a long way toward keeping them.

  4. Considers mere compliance to standards a bad joke that does not apply to them.

  5. Has little sympathy with those that just do enough to get a paycheck.

  6. Can quickly raise standards. This is another reason co-workers may resent their presence. Envious co-workers often conspire to make it difficult to co-exist.

  7. Brings experience and new ideas and are not afraid to share them. Their feeling is "if we can do it a better way, why not?"

  8. Has ambition and thrives on a sense of accomplishment. They have the 'fire in the belly'.

  9. Looks for ways to learn new skills and gain knowledge.

  10. Can add freshness and zip into a dulled, compliant staff.

  11. Can come 'out of the blue' in search of opportunity and employment.

  12. Is generally optimistic that positive results can occur.

  13. Is open to innovation and sees change as a way to grow.

  14. Knows their true value to a company and knows they should be well treated and well compensated.

  15. Dislikes anything, including micromanagers that get in their way. If enough obstacles are present they will perceive a lack of opportunity and go elsewhere.

Breakthrough employees are one of the quickest ways to get rapid improvement and growth in a company. Awareness of the breakthrough employee is paramount. Many companies discover breakthrough employees yet let them slip through the cracks to competitors. Although uncommon, the breakthrough employee is not extinct or even rare. But like the value of an uncut diamond, someone has to see the potential!

- Jack D. Deal
Owner of Deal Consulting, He can be reached at or 831-457-8806.