The Harvard Business Review reports on a study of attributes and behaviours of highly productive individuals from a range of industries that was undertaken in an attempt to understand their much-better-than-average outputs.

Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman collected data on 7,000 workers, from code-writers to butchers, who had been rated by their managers as “super-productive.” They studied the behaviours of these people directly and through reports from their colleagues and co-workers, and found seven attitudes and practices that were common among the ten percent rated as most productive.

The attributes included such predictable traits as “Have knowledge and technical expertise,” and “Take initiative,” along with others that may be less intuitive, such as “Set stretch goals” (they take on big projects, rather than a series of smaller ones).

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