In today’s modern business world, you need every advantage you can get to create a high-performance organization. Your strategy, business model, and even your products and services can be imitated by the competition.
However, your corporate culture cannot be easily copied by your competitors. That’s why, to succeed in today’s cutthroat economy, you must develop a positive, performance-based culture that leads to to a long-term advantage.
Most organizations leverage only about 70% of an individual employee’s potential. Whether this is due to poor feedback, lack of training resources, or a negative corporate culture does not matter.
What matters is that you can improve this number. With the right feedback, a positive corporate culture, and a mindset focused on improving performance, you can motivate your employees – leading to better overall business results.
In this blog, we’ll explore the 5 pillars of high-performance organizations, to discover what makes certain companies so much better at unlocking the potential of their workers.
With this guide, you’ll be able to understand the numerous benefits of a high-performance culture, and how you can begin the process of changing your own corporate structure – for the better. Let’s get started.
Guidelines for a high-performance organisation
Every high-performance organization is somewhat different. After all, as we mentioned, it’s not easy to simple imitate any particular corporate culture – it takes time and energy to develop a high-performance organization.
However, there are five “pillars” that are present in just about every high-performance organization we have analyzed.
In this section of our blog post, we’ll analyze each one, and discuss why they are important to a high-performance organization. Once you understand the “5 Pillars”, you’ll have a much better idea of the common attributes that all high-performance organizations have in common.
1. High-performance leadership, fast decision making
Great leadership is absolutely essential for a high-performance organization. Leadership has a “trickle-down” effect. The decisions that leaders make affect the whole company – and so does their mindset.
If your corporate leadership is high-performance, makes fast decisions, and is competent and reliable, the rest of your company will follow suit. However, the opposite is also true.
Leaders who are slow, unreliable, and low-performance will bog down the rest of your company. Change will be nearly impossible – and even high-performing employees will be frustrated by incompetent leadership, and their performance will suffer for it.
Make sure that your leaders have the tools they need to make fast, proper decisions, and that they are embodying a high-performance mindset.
2. Culture of open conversations and change mindset
Change is not bad. Change is natural. Stasis – failing to change – is what is unnatural. To survive and thrive, companies must change.
They must change their business model. They must change personnel. They must change their products and services. They must change their marketing campaigns.
Constant change is the only way to compete in our modern world – and change should be brought about by open, honest conversation. Your employees should always feel free to discuss their opinions on how your company is performing – and how it can change for the better.
If you listen to your employees, your company will improve. So make it a point to embody a culture where change is encouraged, and employees can feel free to speak their minds.
3. High performance employees (flexible, cooperating, diverse)
A high-performance culture begins with your employees. It’s important to hire employees who are flexible and able to cooperate with each other, and who bring diverse skill sets, opinions, and mindsets to your company.
Your company is only as high-performing as your lowest-performing employee. Remember that. Your goal should be to encourage all employees to work “at the top of their game”, and work towards their full potential.
To do so, it’s important to hire the right people. But it’s just as important to train and retrain existing staff, to help them understand your new focus. Loyalty is important – and if you can train your existing staff to embody a more high-performance mindset, you’ll be shocked at how much your corporate culture improves.
4. Long term focus
Don’t just focus on tomorrow. Don’t just focus on next month. And don’t just focus on next year! Your company needs to have a long-term focus. Short term goals are important – you need them to measure your current success – but they are not the only thing you should focus on.
High-performing companies focus on the long-term. If you only look towards the near future, it’s like you’re putting blinders on. You’re not seeing the end goal – only what you have to do in the next quarter, or the next business year.
High-performance companies begin with the long term, and then build backward to determine their short-term goals. By doing so, they can ensure that they are working towards a larger result, while still tracking short-term success.
5. Continuous improvement
“Good enough” is never good enough for a high-performance company. The process of continuous improvement should always be on-going at your business.
Even if you are at the top of your industry, you should always be looking for areas of improvement, and figuring out where you can do better.
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Building a high-performance culture at your workplace is not easy. It takes time, effort, and often quite a bit of money. You may have to overhaul your feedback systems, hire (and let go of) quite a few people, and spend a lot of resources on improving your corporate culture and individual employee performance.
But in the end, it’s well-worth the investment of both time and energy. Once you have built a workplace culture and a management structure that rewards high performance employees, and fosters a positive atmosphere of continuous improvement, the results are incredible.
De Waal, A. A. (2012). What Makes A High Performance Organisation? HPO Center, Hilversum. https://www.hpocenter.com