How do you define a high performance culture?

Definition of high performance culture by the SupportingLines Institute.

It is hard to find a clear definition of “high-performance culture”. Though many experts and organizations use the term, very few define it. People sometimes list the elements of a high-performance culture, but the ingredients vary depending on the author’s point of view and are rarely based on science.

A natural place to start is with the words that integrate the concept. The pure definition of high-performance is used to describe something that is “better, faster, or more efficient’ than something else. According to Harvard Business School professor Michael Watkins, culture is a “consistent, observable pattern of behaviour in organizations.” 

If we combine definitions, we might see a high-performance culture as a consistent and observable pattern of behaviour that allows an organization to produce better results, faster. 

At SupportingLines, we assess whether organizations have a high performance culture based on three outcomes:

  • Leadership Effectiveness
  • Achieving more goals
  • Engaging more people

Leadership Effectiveness is directly tied to business performance and can be measured as accurately as somebody’s height. The other two outcomes are likely something you already ready measure: the percentage of your goals that you achieve and employee engagement. All three elements are grounded in science.

Using these outcomes as a guide, leaders can create a clear roadmap to a high performance culture. According to McKinsey performance experts Carolyn Dewar and Scott Keller, leading a successful culture-change program is the most rewarding work of an executive’s career.

Culture is the result of an agreement between the leadership and the employees. It starts with a vision that requires the alignment of everyone in the organization. When the interests of all stakeholders are taken into account, the basis for a healthy culture is established. 

To achieve the outcomes noted above, research based on the SupportingLines Performance & Engagement diagnostic confirms that a high-performance culture requires:

  • Leaders to support their teams
  • Teams to support each other
  • Teams to set complete goalsTM

Contact us today to take our FREE leader self-assessment and create a roadmap toward a high-performance culture in your organization.

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