5 Surefire Methods to Build a High-performing Organisation

Written by Royston Guest Thursday 19 January 2017
History is littered with high-performing organisations. How can you join these all-time greats?
Rocket taking off from a laptop

It’s a certainty that you know a high performing organisation when you see one. There are clues all around.

New Zealand All Blacks Rugby Team have won 86% of their games in recent years. Manchester United Football Club in its heyday constantly vexed its opponents by winning games, often with a goal scored in stoppage time. Barcelona Football Club have dominated the game in football-mad Spain, and is considered by many experts to be the greatest football team in the world.

In business, Disney built a reputation as a leader in customer experience, which has remained unchallenged for more than 60 years. LEGO® is the second biggest toymaker in the world, with a respected and loved global brand that has remained popular for nearly 70 years.

The department store Harrods has held a reputation, not only as one of the most exclusive shopping destinations in the world but also as a London landmark, for more than 180 years.

The list could go on. However, the key question is this; What are five surefire methods that guarantees their position in history as exemplars of best practice and enduring greatness?

5 Key Elements of a High Performing Organisation

#1 a Compelling Vision/purpose

A compelling vision/purpose is like infusing work with purpose and meaning. It describes your unwavering goal for your business and why it exists in the first place.

It is is your North Star; in good times it can focus the business, reinforcing the goal and ambition. In tough times, it offers an inspirational focal point to keep pushing on, in the knowledge that you’re pursuing a goal worth achieving, giving employees, partners, suppliers, and customers an emotional and intellectual connection with the business beyond its operational characteristics. How compelling and well defined is your vision/purpose?

#2 Values/behaviours

If Vision/Purpose determines where you’re going, your Values/Behaviours determine precisely how you’re going to get there.

A common set of Values and defined Behaviours create clarity on what excellence looks like, feels like, and acts like. This is important from a team perspective and critical to commercial success.

Customers today will look beyond your ability to deliver the product or service you provide, because that’s a given. In choosing their partner of choice, they want to know the Values that underpin the organisation. Can you be trusted? Are the words, credentials, and story you share up-front backed up by substance and depth in how the organization actually acts? Do you have a clear set of Values for your business? Are they under-pinned by a defined set of Behaviours, which propel you towards your goal of excellence in everything you do?

#3 Strategic Plan

Failing to plan is like planning to fail. A sound, well thought out, structured plan is about making sure you are in the driver’s seat of your business with a clear vision of where it is you want to get to, why you want to go there, and how you’re going to turn your vision into reality.

How sound is the thinking underpinning your strategic plan?

#4 Disciplined Execution

‘Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection then we can catch excellence!’.

Disciplined execution is about having a plan and being flawless in its execution. It’s about frequently revisiting and refining your plan based on empirical validation; what is working (keep doing it) and what isn’t (change it). It’s about testing small before going BIG. It’s about having the measures that matter in play, interpreting the insight, and acting accordingly.

How disciplined are you in the art and science of disciplined execution?

#5 Performance Culture

A common mistake is thinking of culture as a ‘nice to have’, rather than a potent competitive advantage. Culture may earn companies a strong showing on annual ‘best companies to work for’ lists, but its greatest strength is the achievement of high levels of performance through shared Vision/Purpose, Values, and beliefs.

That’s why performance culture sits firmly at the epicentre of the High Performing Organisation Model. Think of it as the central nervous system for your entire organisation.

All the roads lead back to culture. How strong is your performance culture?

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Royston Guest is author of Built to Grow, a blueprint to help entrepreneurs, business owners and professionals understand the guiding principles of accelerated, sustained and profitable business. Built to Grow is available to buy from Amazon.

Join Royston’s Built to Grow Facebook or LinkedIn Group and access exclusive content, articles and insights on how you can deliver accelerated, sustained and profitable business growth.