Mar
07

The Top 2 Barriers to Predictable Performance

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The CEO of small company and I were talking about his aspirations for the company. It was time to begin stepping back from the day-to-day operations to focus on the big picture. All he needed was a way for them to produce the same results as when he was involved: predictable performance.

Talking with his employees, a picture began to emerge. Everyone loved the CEO. He valued them. He paid above market wages. He treated them with dignity and respect. They were owners in the company and proud of the products they produced. They knew their role in accomplishing the company’s mission.

During an economic downturn, he protected their jobs. Those he let go, he helped to land on their feet. They were sharing their stories with pride. They were loyal to him.

He had the foundation for a great company culture. Helping him create predictable performance should be easy. The mechanics are a simple.

As the conversations continued, another part of the picture began to emerge. The employees were afraid. Why? Some of the C-level executives, VPs and managers were not committed to his values. Much of the effort he expended in operations was mitigating the challenges they created. Pockets of the CEO’s culture existed throughout the company, but not in all areas.

The culture he was creating would not survive without him and neither would the predictable performance he wanted to create. His people values were necessary for creating the predictable performance.

How do you create a culture that does not depend on you and values people?best_culture

1) Know your values. If you have not given them much thought, tell the stories about what makes you viscerally angry, brings tears of joy or moments of deep satisfaction. These are indications of what you value. Values won’t be a single word. Often they are a simple statement of lessons learned.

2) Define your non-negotiables. We make trade-offs every day on our values. Some are more important than others. Which ones are you unwilling to give up?

3) Hire for the non-negotiable values; train for skills. How? Ask questions that let them tell their stories and listen. You’ll hear their values. If you hire based on your values, your mangers will hire based on the same values.

4) Let them go if you don’t see those values demonstrated in their actions.  Creating a great culture is difficult. Destroying it is not.

pyramid_cultureA great culture starts at the top with shared values that permeate all levels of the organization. A culture that values people is at the heart of predictable performance.

When the culture is no longer dependent on the CEO and strong people values are present and practiced, creating predictable performance becomes profitable.

Categories : Performance

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