There is no sure-shot formula for success, and history is a witness to the fact that the greatest inventions and discoveries have been a result of experimentation, curiosity, and determination. Similarly, there is no rule book for creating a high-performance organization, and some of the most successful organizations in the world are a testament to the fact that the process requires creativity, trial and error, and an unfaltering commitment to excellence. While each organization charts its own path, the trials undertaken by leaders and employers have helped identify some glaring pitfalls on the road to becoming a high-performance organization. As we reach the end of the #ChangeTheGame series, we discuss three crucial yet common missteps to avoid when building a high-performance organization:
Holding leaders accountable to different standards
Oftentimes, in pursuit of larger goals and transformations, leaders in an organization get a hall pass to circumvent rules and processes. They could, for instance, be permitted to sit out engagement activities or fall back on their training goals as they focus on strategy and business planning. As a result, several times, CEOs and other leaders often end up embodying messages that are different from the values that they preach. Eventually, employees will spot this difference, as well. Thus, it is critical that everyone in the organization, no matter their role, follows the same rules, processes, and values.
How to avoid it: Leaders at high-performance organizations know that any meaningful change starts at the top and permeates further. Thus, they must follow and practice the same culture, behaviors, and values they wish to see in their employees. Clear communication, reiteration, and demonstration of the company culture and values, in meetings, emails, events, and feedback is essential to foster a consistent, fair, and uniform workplace.
Not prioritizing culture
Young organizations, or older ones looking to change their inner workings, often find it tough to define their culture. Since the concept seems too ambiguous in the face of tangible outcomes (which can be quantified in numbers and targets) many choose to focus on processes, systems, and tools instead of the workplace culture. However, to ensure high levels of engagement, motivation, and productivity, a healthy and encouraging culture is indispensable.
How to avoid it: Do not put the question of culture on the back burner by tying it to company size or business priorities. The leadership and management must actively discuss the type of culture they want to build and the processes they must follow for the same. Establish robust metrics that measure the progress of your organization’s culture and its impact on the business. Furthermore, build your culture on the understanding of what is important for your workforce and what motivates them. A culture based on innovation, learning, development, and thoughtfulness is likely to be much more effective than one that is simply based on financial incentives and numbers.
Leaning on tech to solve organizational issues
While there are no two ways about the fact that technology has fundamentally changed the way work is done, many organizations bet on modern tools to fix organizational issues that run much deeper. Instead of viewing technology as an enabler to meet their goals, organizations consider it a singular solution to all their challenges. Consequently, when these tools fail to deliver the expected results--as they usually do--organizations tend to blame the technology for not being at par and fail to recognize the gap between their objectives and chosen tools for execution.
How to avoid these pitfalls
Do not create strategies and processes around tools and products that promise to fix inherent organizational challenges. Go beyond the curated presentations and demos to ask yourself the tough questions before buying a product: what purpose or pain-point will this solve; how will employees use it in their everyday work; how will the impact be measured. Choose a vendor that helps you implement your solution better and not a product that promises to be a solution in itself.
Building a high-performance organization and workforce requires a commitment to progressive, dynamic, and agile workplace values. The leadership and management of the organization must be determined to cultivate a uniform and inclusive culture by creating strong internal work processes. Similarly, intelligent digital tools must not be relied upon to fix inherently broken processes, and leaders must imbibe the rules and values that they create. As stated before, every organization follows a unique journey, but there is a lot to learn from the failures and successes that have already taken place.