We often hear the expression “High Performing Company.” Consultants say it, Business owners say it, Managers and Executives say it. But what does it mean? What exactly is a high performing company and what does it do for you?
Let’s start with a simple definition. According to Andre de Waal of the High Performing Organization Center, it is:
“…an organization that achieves financial and non-financial results that are exceedingly better than those of its peer group over a period of time of five years or more, by focusing in a disciplined way on that which really matters…”
Those are a lot of words that say simply that you do what you do better than your competition and you’ve done that for awhile. Awhile…meaning this isn’t a quick fix project nor is it something you can do and say “SUCCESS!!” It means you work on it every day with the goal of sustaining it forever. Sounds simple enough. Yet it is more than that.
A High Performing Company has certain characteristics. Some of these are:
Employees are Engaged – engaged is an overused word that means simply that employees feel a sense of ownership and responsibility for the business. They solve its problems and they don’t pass the buck to someone else. Further, employees understand it is they who execute the businesses strategy and achieve its results. They know they will be rewarded for that too.
They Have High-Quality Management – This is more than technical skill. Management demonstrates integrity and serves as a role model for all other employees. They make decisions and don’t procrastinate over them trying to find a politically astute answer. They coach and mentor others are highly effective at their job, confident in both their ability and the workforces ability to execute strategy, is decisive regarding poor performers and holds others accountable.
Things Get Done – Nothing languishes waiting for time to do it. The organization embraces high performance and rewards that. There is an action orientation to the business where the Workforces input is sought and respected on how to execute strategy. Further, the organization embraces change and innovation; “we have always done it this way” is moved to extinction.
Open Communication – The business devotes a good amount of their time to open discussion with employees about the workplace, business strategy, and roles. Every employee understands their role in making the business successful. The business also spends a good amount of time on learning, training and sharing information regarding internal best practices.
High-Quality Employees – The organization has clearly defined roles and responsibilities for every position. Redundancy has been eliminated and personal accountability assigned. High performing employees in high responsibility roles are appropriately rewarded in such a way as to matter. The organization has a well-defined strategy to attract and retain only the best and this strategy is well known outside of the business. The business does not focus on the inefficient Employer of Choice designation and instead works on attracting the Employee of Choice.
Continuous Improvement is a Part of the Culture – The business monitors and measures all of its processes. It makes decisions on improving processes based on facts and not emotion or gut feelings. The workplace processes are aligned with the organization’s strategy and changed as needed. The workforce is trained on continuous improvement, the culture supports continuous improvement and systems are in place to drive a culture of continuous improvement.
Having these characteristics should be a part of every businesses strategy. To do anything less would simply place your business in a bath of mediocrity or complacency. Why be in business if all you want to be is mediocre or just good enough? There are tangible benefits to being a High Performing Company too. These are:
Having a Greater Level of Customer Satisfaction and Retention – not only are you retaining your customers at a significantly higher rate than your competitors, your customers are more satisfied. They refer others to your business and price of your goods and/or services stop being a concern.
Greater Employee Job Satisfaction – The water cooler complaining, whispered gripe sessions or sometimes open criticism about your business disappears. Employees are enjoying their work, are telling others about how great your business work environment is and they happily refer others for employment with your business.
Higher Profitability – More happy customers and happy employees drive your profitability. Without those two elements, your profits will not be as high as they can be.
Being a High performing Company takes work, effort and time. It doesn’t happen overnight and once achieved you can’t sit back and let it care for itself. However, once achieved your company will be better than your competitors and that means your profits will also be better.