Often I will hear executive management saying how they are working towards creating a high performance culture. They want their employees being very productive and producing results—who doesn’t want that? It may be one of the latest “buzz” words or trends in the corporate world. But this is focusing on the end result, the goal, instead of what would actually be the cause of that high performance.
Expectations can easily fall short and lead to disappointment within the organization. The thing is, you can NOT force high performance. Yes, there will be a small percentage of employees that thrive by being pushed into high achievement. But the majority of employees are not there. Yes, they’ll perform…but they won’t go above and beyond what they are required to do, since they aren’t particularly motivated.
So how do you create high performance? First, you need to look at what are the underlying factors. In our work with organization culture and transformation, we have found three key factors that create the results of a high performance culture.
The first is to have a very engaged workforce. Unfortunately, the majority of employees are not engaged at work. According to the latest Gallup report, only 15% of the global workforce is engaged, 67% are disengaged, and 18% are actively disengaged. Yes, most of the employees are performing their duties but the largest bulk of employees are disengaged or actively disengaged. This means they are not reaching their full potential nor are they bringing their discretionary effort, passion, enthusiasm and creativity to their work. And this costs businesses billions per year!
If we continue to dig deeper, we find the other key factors that connect to engaging your workforce.
Secondly, building confidence with employees will help to engage them. When your employees feel positively emotionally connected to the values and purpose of the company, they will align to the business goals more cohesively and drive the business forward. When they fully believe in the company, the management, and the products or services, they are more likely to perform well. Unfortunately, a lot of companies do not have their purpose clearly and authentically stated and do not have the mindset of using business as a force for good. The market, and humanity, is shifting their expectations and want to support companies that are doing good things. This trend is very real and growing quickly. The companies that are not on board to improve their business to support the planet and their people—to be a “humanity plus” company–will be left behind!
Lastly, underneath that level of confidence is the true essential to high performance—trust. Over the years of working with many companies globally, I’ve found that if there is low trust, it becomes quite difficult to get transformational culture work to really last.
We started our NET Leadership training (which stands for the Neuroscience of Engagement & Trust) at the request of participants in our Cultural Engagement Certification training. I’ve found that a high level of trust is truly the foundation to creating an amazing company. This trust needs to extend to all stakeholders (employees, management, board, customers, suppliers, partners, etc). In fact, research shows that high trust organizations outperform low trust organization by 600%!
As a leader, remember that while it’s great to strive to reach a high performance culture, keep in mind that there is a lot of foundational work to reach that. And when you get the foundation right, then the high performance comes naturally!