Promoting a High Performance Culture

By Etheline Desir | Desir Group

The success of any organization is determined by its culture. Successful organizations create a performance culture, and continuously strengthen it to achieve results. While leadership and discipline are important factors, there are other elements which are essential for promoting, implementing, and sustaining a high performance culture.

Here are four defining factors for building a high performance culture:

1. Discipline and behavior modeling: Because culture is a learned behavior, senior leadership demonstrates the standards for promoting excellence and ensuring accountability. On the other hand, cultures that exemplify a lack of discipline or resolve, typically demonstrate little or no accountability.

2. Set clear expectations and defined employee roles: When leaders do not consistently establish specific goals and provide ongoing feedback, it is difficult for employees to feel empowered. Leaders must not only clearly define individual employee roles, but also help them understand how their roles are connected to the greater organizational goals.

3. Create an environment of trust that encourages employee development: Research shows that performance and employee retention improve when an organization demonstrates that it cares about its employees’ growth. Successful organizations share knowledge and provide employees with learning experiences relevant to success in their roles.

4. Encourage mentoring: While there is no one particular method for providing mentoring, successful organizations understand the capabilities and needs of their team, and help link them with suitable partners in the organization based on their specific responsibilities. Formal mentoring programs can enhance organizational talent, and provide a cost-effective method for getting employees up to speed and engaged.

According to a 2012 Harvard Business Review study, high-performing cultures are characterized by an ability to align–gain clarity on vision, strategy, and shared employee behaviors; execute–move in the agreed-upon direction with minimal friction; and renew–continuously improve at a pace that exceeds competitors— three factors they also refer to as ‘organizational health’. Companies that use this definition of culture to find the specifics that matter to them, and the right tools to measure those specifics, find that culture is no longer something that is hard to measure and manage.

Remember that culture is the learned assumption on which people base daily behavior, in essence it is the way an organization does things. It guides how employees think and act, serving as the operating system of the organization.

For further information, questions and/or comments, email dsearch@desirgroup.com.