Are you a high performance employee that gets things done? Or are you Mr. Reliable? Which one gets promoted when a managerial position opens up? You’d think it is a tough question, but it is not.

The high performance employee seems like a dream come true to a boss. Being a employer myself, a high performance employee seems like a gift from God. I’d rather have one high performance employee that five that are “Mr. Reliable” about showing up on time, and getting their basic work done.

I’m not the only one that feels this way, and if you ask any small business owner, they’ll all tell you pretty much the same thing. If you want to get ahead in your company, or get your business ahead of your competitors in gaining customers, you have to become a high performer.

There is a story in the bible about this concept that I’d like to point out to you today. It comes from the book of Daniel. I’ve been digging into this book for several recent blog posts, but in case you’ve missed anything, here is a short recap.

There were four slaves of Jewish origin that were brought into the servanthood of a King of a superpower nation. Most slaves were probably trying to make the best of it by doing just enough work to get by. But these four slaves were different.

For starters, they proved that they were better that others right from the beginning. They had a problem with the royal food they were given, so they asked for punishment if they failed to be better than their counterparts after a 10-day test of eating just vegetables and water.

They passed that simple test with flying colors. They looked more fit and better nourished than their classmates. But now that you’ve passed one test, are you allowed to slack off? After three years of training, which they were required to do before even starting their real slave-jobs, you might assume that you could let some things slide, especially if you weren’t getting paid for it.

But they didn’t. Either they were super-smart to begin with, or they got super-wisdom during the process.

The answer, according to the bible, is that they received “knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning” during this time period. I think they knuckled down and did their homework.

Now came final exams. It seems appropriate that it being graduation season that we talk about taking finals. And these young men had the toughest critic of all: the king of the country. Imagine being quizzed by Donald Trump on the show “The Apprentice.” This guy was far more demanding. If you read on further in the book of Daniel, you’ll see that this guy gave orders–not to fire everyone on his staff–but to execute them. Talk about a “final exam.” It could easily become a “fatal exam.”

So how did it turn out? Here is what the bible says:

At the end of the time set by the king to bring them in, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service. In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom. Daniel 1:18-20 (NIV)

Did you get that? TEN-TIMES better. They weren’t just a little bit better; they blew away the competition. It is like they were running a mile in twenty four seconds, while all the other competitors were doing a 4-minute mile (which isn’t too bad by itself).

You’ve probably heard of the Prado Principle? You know, the 80-20 rule? It is applied to all sorts of situations, like 20 percent of your effort produces 80 percent of your income. In business, employers often state that 20 percent of the sales force accounts for 80 percent of their sales. Owners will do anything they can to hire as many of those people that are in the 20 percent category. In fact, they often try to hire the best salesman away from their competitors.

Where are you? Are you in that 20 percent echelon? If you own a business, are you making every effort to show your customers that you are in the top of the league? That’s where the money is. And here is the good news: you don’t have to be born smarter. You can work your way up to to be a high performance employee. It just takes attitude and effort.

You may be wondering how you might get there if you’re not in the top 20%. That is a great question. “Questions” are good. You always start with the question, and if you dwell on it long enough, the answer usually appears.

But one of the other things that everyone should do is to take advantage of the schooling that they are eligible for. I think Daniel and his three buddies did. Like them, put out 100% and aim to get the most out of it as you can. I don’t think most people in public school seem to take advantage of the assets they have around them. Maybe since they think it is free, that it must not be worth it. But any education you can get is beneficial. What I’m saying is it it time to knuckle down and do your homework.

I’d like to give you some other advice about what is beneficial, particularly if you sell products on the internet. I wrote a 9-chapter e-book that tells you how to get higher prices for your products when you sell them online. One of the chapters I lay out the 20% of the things that I do that bring in 80% of my customers and revenue. It is worth having.

Best yet, it is totally free. You can get it as a special bonus when you sign up for my newsletter. Can you beat free? So if you haven’t already done so, go ahead and sign up right now while you’re thinking about it. Your friends and family will look at you differently, and admire you more when you start being more productive in your work.

Thanks for reading this. And remember: “Be Fruitful.” It is how to make money, God’s way.

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Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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  • Peggy Larson

    Man I hate missing this blog. Now I’m so far behind in the stories! Stupid hospital!

    Which employee gets promoted? Tough question. I’ve been in situations where the promotion went to Mr. Reliable because Mr Performance was so good at what he did/does the boss preferred to keep him where he was at rather than promote him even though it didn’t seem fair or right. Of course Mr. Performance is/was smart and eventually moved on to another company.

    Peggy Larson
    Quilting – Colors and Fun!

  • Mike Norris

    Yes that high performance employee is the one thats going to make you the money. One of those guys is worth 10 reliable types especially in sales.


  • Trisha Chambers

    Ok, I’m sold!

  • Scott Sylvan Bell

    you can throw a rock and find a relaible person it takes much more effort to find a top performer. This is where some companies do make a mistake, they put the performer in a management position and that person tanks. It takes differnt skills to be a manager than a perfromer.
    Scott Sylvan Bell

  • Lisa McLellan

    I can see why high performance would be a more desireable quality than reliability. Good demonstration.

    Lisa McLellan
    Babysitting Services, Nanny Services, and Nanny agencies

  • Christian Dating Expert

    Hi Tim,

    I appreciate the “Grades do NOT equal knowledge” sign because the school system rewards a certain set of behaviors… and yet those may not all matter with our customers, right?

    Happy Dating and Relationships,

    April Braswell
    Christian Dating Expert and Coach

  • Michael D Walker

    THere’s a good book on Vilfredo Pareto & the Pareto Principle in Richard Koch’s “The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Success by Achieving More with Less”.

    I also like your discussion of more effort & attitude & taking advantage of learning opportunities to seperate yourself from the pack. And it seems to be true that high performers aren’t usually cut out for the dull meetings & trappings of a manager’s role.

    The Success Secrets