What it takes to be a high-performance organization
When we think of some of the biggest brands in the world, we can think of Google, Amazon, Uber, Salesforce, and some more. But what makes these brands stand apart to be fixed in our memories? Is it about the breakthrough innovation they have brought to the fore or their unwavering spirit to constantly offer the best-in-class services or their bigger brand philosophy?
What I believe leads an organization to be called a high-performance organization is largely based on these 4 broader pillars:
Be passionate about the problems you are solving
A brand today, in a world of super-agile connectivity and real-time communication, should be customer-obsessed. Customer obsession is about how closely attuned you are to your customer’s pain points and how passionate you are about solving those problems. It involves empowering your people so that they become individual decision-makers and break their own goals into smaller objectives, chase them, and allocate ample individual bandwidth for it. There has to be a sound understanding of the right balance between stability in the brand vision and flexibility for meeting market demands. In times of uncertainties, what helps an organization thrive on the terra firma are strong pillars of leadership which is able to articulate problems and solutions. They should be accepting of the fact that they have a limited vision because the pace of change is quick and they possibly cannot be experts in everything.
Don’t be complacent about the status quo
An organization should have the courage to stand back and dissociate itself from the love for its products and get a vantage point of the ground realities, competitor products’ USP, and own products’ flaws. One has to continuously question their capabilities because there’s just no space for being complacent with your status quo. Continuous and cumulative individual improvement by 1% every day could lead to a domino effect and a massive improvement on an organizational level. It’s highly critical to develop a clear innovation mindset because the oncoming disruption wouldn’t allow market dynamics to be the same tomorrow and your products need to evolve in sync with the changing world. Your brand should be agile enough to have the shortest time in reaching ideas to the execution stage and rally people around a particular vision. The primary idea is to believe that your brand doesn’t just stand for increasing shareholder value, but also offering what your customers demand every step of their life.
Imbibe a culture that your people love
To attract talented individuals to work with you and share and chase your objectives, it’s imperative to create values and experiences which go on to represent a brand's philosophy and vision. Build an environment and provide the necessary resources and infrastructure that enable and empower your people to want to solve customer challenges better than anyone else in the market. Create a culture where individuals could walk up to you and ask for personal or professional help- be it mentoring, internal job transfers, international deputations, that will help them perform optimally in their work and also find a semblance between their work and passion. They should be able to visualize how their everyday work is contributing to the bigger organizational vision. Give enough freedom to your people to innovate, make mistakes, and find what works best for their ideas to succeed while also handholding them to set the right career-growth trajectory.
Create a brand your people are proud of
People want to buy from and work with those organizations that offer brand value and proposition that goes beyond the commercial numbers they derive. Organizations must have a brand narrative that aligns with people’s faith and helps them see the brand as a larger extension of their beliefs and values. For example, Uber and Ola are not just about getting their customers to different locations. They have become synonymous with chasing destinations in life while saving time. What Microsoft does with its Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation or nearer home, what Azim Premji Foundation or Tata Trusts are doing- make them greater than just the business they make. These brands inspire trust as to how the wealth created by them is the wealth generated for the community- a brand philosophy that has helped them stand the test of time and be labeled as a high-performance organization with every passing year.
High-performance organizations relentlessly innovate and better their products to respond to changing market requirements, meet wider customer expectations, and deliver on their promises. Coming back to our question of what keeps some brands etched in our minds, it’s the continuous efforts to balance innovation, offer world-class services, and to stand by the brand's philosophy.