Top 10+ key elements in creating a high performance culture
High performance culture are not dependent on one simple factor or as a result of one or two things. The entire context you operate in greatly impacts your results. This context includes the culture of the company – how things get done, how decisions get made, what works and does not work as far as behaviors and what gets rewarded and how.
The key to building a high-performing culture is to make sure you consider “‘what“ and “how“ you will get to your destination points – the clear definitions of where you are going in a specific time-frame.
The specifics of a high performance culture are unique to your company because they are based on what will work best for you to get you to where you want to go within the parameters you have defined. There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to culture.
Creating a high performance culture
However, here are 10 key elements in creating a high performance culture that probably will fit most organizations:
# 1 – Clearly define what winning looks like
Look across the entire organization and define what it looks like from a variety of perspectives – sales, marketing, customer service, procurement, finance etc.
#2 – Spell out your “preferred culture”
In the same way that leaders shape and communicate a vision, they also spell out a picture of the culture they are striving for.
This can often be just a set of guiding principles or values, but the best seem to go further by establishing preferred behaviors that support these values: Which aspects of our current culture are we happy/unhappy with? What preferred behaviors do we need to create the culture we want? What behaviors actually get rewarded round here? Which unacceptable behaviors are actually tolerated here? How do we measure up against each of our preferred behaviors?
#3 – Set stretch targets
Employees tend to rise to the standard set for them. The more you expect, the more they will achieve. But there is a fine line between good stretch targets, which can energize an organization, and bad ones, which can dampen morale
#4 – Connect to the big picture
The majority of employees want to be a part of a compelling future, want to know what is most important at work and what excellence looks like. For targets to be meaningful and effective in motivating employees, they must be tied to larger organizational ambitions. Employees who don’t understand the roles they play in company success are more likely to become disengaged. No matter what level the employee is at, he should be able to articulate exactly how his efforts feed into the broader company strategy
#5 – Develop an ownership mentality
When individuals understand the boundaries in which they can operate, as well as where the company wants to go, they feel empowered with a freedom to decide and act, and most often make the right choices. They begin to think and act like an “owner”
#6 – Improving performance through transparency
By sharing numbers with employees, you can increase employees’ sense of ownership. However, being open is not enough. You need to be sure your employees are trained to understand financial statements and have enough insight into their own jobs to know how to affect the numbers. Focus on additional metrics besides the financial ones. Employees who are not in the financial world will be able to relate better to the results and will feel more included in the process
#7 – Increase performance through employee engagement
Employees who are engaged put their heart and soul into their job and have the energy and excitement to give more than is required of the job. Engaged employees are committed and loyal to the organization
#8 – Storytelling
Storytelling can be a powerful tool when you want to drive organizational change and performance improvement. The leaders must be able use stories to motivate their employees to achieve more than they thought possible
#9 – Internal communication
Internal communication need to be on the top of the agenda – Have they heard the message? Do they believe it? Do they know what it means? Have they interpreted it for themselves, and have they internalized it?
#10 – Taking the time to celebrate
Do remember to celebrate milestones once they have been reached. Taking the time to celebrate is important because it acknowledges people’s hard work, boosts morale and keeps up the momentum. If you want something to grow, pour champagne on it
Culture eats strategy for breakfast
High-performance organizations do not take their culture for granted. They plan it, monitor it and manage it so that it remains aligned with they want to achieve. Do remember the famous words of Peter Drucker: Culture eats strategy for breakfast.
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