A recent article in HBR suggests that winning cultures are comprised of two interrelated and reinforcing elements. First, every high-performing company has a unique identity—distinctive characteristics that set it apart from other organisations. These characteristics give employees a sense of meaning just from being part of the company. They also create passion for what the company does.
Secondly, the best performing companies typically display a set of performance attributes that align with the company’s strategy and reinforce the right employee behaviors. Research revealed seven of these:
- Honest. There is high integrity in all interactions, with employees, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders;
- Performance-focused. Rewards, development, and other talent-management practices are in sync with the underlying drivers of performance;
- Accountable and owner-like. Roles, responsibilities, and authority all reinforce ownership over work and results;
- Collaborative. There’s a recognition that the best ideas come from the exchange and sharing of ideas between individuals and teams;
- Agile and adaptive. The organisation is able to quickly adjust when necessary and adapt to changes in the external environment;
- Innovative. Employees push the envelope in terms of new ways of thinking; and
- Oriented toward winning. There is strong ambition focused on objective measures of success, either versus the competition or against some absolute standard of excellence.
Few organisations exhibit all seven of these attributes. But high-performing organizations typically spike on the three or four that are most critical to their success.
Culture plays a vital role in performance. Winning cultures treat performance as an explicit output and foster an environment that is conducive to generating the best possible results — not just for employees, but for customers, suppliers and shareholders…
A tad prescriptive perhaps but we think this adds clarity to a subject area which by its very nature is difficult to pin down.