Teams: the 2nd Cornerstone of Performance Oriented Cultures

Have High Performance Work Teams throughout your company. Teams are powerful constructs, and high-performance ones do not spring up by magic. By the same token, business teams are not the answer for every performance issue. In corporations, while the talk is about teams and working together, there is actually a focus on individual performance. For the most part, there is no formal practice designed to enhance or improve group performance. High-performance teams are “a small number of people with complementary skills who are equally committed to a common purpose, goals, and a working approach in which they hold themselves mutually accountable.” This definition of real teams comes from the article “The Wisdom of Teams”, by Katzenbach and Smith. Real teams are basic units of performance, and members of the team are mutually accountable for the results. This is quite different from how most of the work world is organized. When a group takes on mutual accountability for their customers’ experiences, it can generate real customer-focused actions. From this, tangible and positive business results will occur. At my favorite restaurant, for example, the waiter greets me with my preferred glass of wine, letting me know that Chuck, the chef, has a special dish waiting for me. Everyone is clearly into giving me a personalized, pleasant experience, and I have not even ordered yet. I have found that having a team design its structure allows the team to develop and perform more quickly. This is because in doing so, the team has to confront the performance issues it will encounter. The process allows for those issues to come to the forefront...

Staffing: The 1st Cornerstone of a High Performance Culture

Staff with the best – mediocrity can work with your competition. This is the mantra of a high performance culture. As business people, we do not directly control terrorist plots, the economy, our competition, taxes, healthcare plans, or national events. But even with unions, executives and managers do ultimately control who works in the company. We should make the most of this opportunity and leverage the “people piece” to enhance our companies’ performance advantage.   Here are some suggestions for raising performance and driving out mediocrity from CMI’s A,B,C process:   1. Educate managers: Help them understand the definitions of A, B, and C players. 2. Jointly gauge employee performance: At specific meetings, managers should jointly assess employee performance.  Only those who interact directly with the employee should state their opinions. This allows the employee’s manager to get candid feedback. In assessing performance, avoid grey areas – no pluses and minuses – managers must make a choice whether the employee is an A, B, or C player. 3. Take action. Ditch the D’s and F’s’: D and F employees will drag your company down. If you have more than a few D and F employees, sell the firm and do something to save yourself. Decide what to do with your C players. C players are mediocre employees; these employees are marginal in their performance and unremarkable in any positive attribute they bring to the workplace. They exist, take up space, and just get their jobs done, sort of. A test for “C-ness” is putting yourself in this scenario: If one of these employees came up to you and said they...

Bruce’s Book Review – Traction by Gino Wickman and Mike Paton

Traction is a must read for anyone building a company.  Whether you are a start up,  a growing $20 million business, or anything in between this book has something for you.  As you know, I am not a guy in the diner about growing companies . I have been successful in being a resource to companies so that they successfully grow.  Another way of putting this is that I am great compost for growing companies.  When I read Traction and I have probably wandered around its pages at least 10 times since I read it six years ago, my reaction is always the same…”oh wow that is a great idea, oh there is a powerful process, and hey I could have written this book”.  Only I did not. Traction is full of great ideas.  There is an audit included in the book that I have many clients  take.  The audit helps  pinpoint where as a organization you need to develop yourself.  This book is a must read for the leadership team of your organization.  After everyone takes the audit, you can then compare scores and get aligned on what to work on.  The author presents a system of growing and structuring a company.  What is great is that you do not have to adopt the system and you can pick and choose what to utilize. The book has ideas on how to focus and how to structure meetings.  One idea that I have taken from this book is the one-page plan with a focus on quarterly organizational  rocks.  This book is a classic and the ideas are classic and...

The 4 Cornerstones of a High Performance Culture

If culture was a pyramid, there would be four cornerstones: staff, teams, purpose & values, and strategic planning. At the apex of the pyramid would be a work culture that attains performance beyond expectations. the cornerstones would be defined by the following: Staffing your organization with the best employees. Teams that are high performance teams Corporate mission and values that everyone is aligned with A complete and implemented Strategic Business Plan Only a pyramid with all four of these cornerstones will create a foundation stable enough for an ongoing high performance culture. What follows is an explanation of how to create these four cornerstones.  These will appear in the next couple weeks of posts.   To learn more about building a high performance culture click here.    ...