Create a High-Performance

Organization Culture

Most organizations give considerable focus to ensuring they have the best equipment, technology, and systems. Which are all incredibly important. Unfortunately, far too many organizations neglect the most important element ... their people and their organizational culture. 

People are what make an organization tick

Place two businesses side by side, outfit them with the same equipment, technology and systems, and one will outperform the other. Why? Because of the people and the culture in the business. So how did you arrive at the culture in your organization?

Most organization cultures come about by default ... not deliberate design ... which is why so many businesses don't achieve their potential

Unfortunately for many organizations' the culture probably came about by default. They are driven by the values and beliefs of the core group of people who founded the organization, with probably little, to no, deliberate thought or systematic design of the culture.

In most organizations, much thought and planning is put into the 'technical' side of the business (how the systems and equipment work to enable people to deliver the product or service), but little, to no time, on the most important component -- engaging the hearts and minds of the people who actually make the product or deliver the service.

You could argue that you can't create a culture ... but rest assured cultures do develop, regardless of whether it happens by osmosis, or by design.

An organization's culture evolves from the:

  • People who started the business
  • Mindset and outlook that leaders who have a strong influence, in the organization have about how the work gets done and the role of people in doing that work
  • Way decisions are made and implemented
  • Way opportunities, problems and crises are faced
  • Organization structure and hierarchy
  • Way people are selected, promoted and de-selected
  • Rites, stories and ceremonies that are in place
  • Reward and recognition systems

Each of these elements (and more) send clear and consistent messages to people. Messages that help them to see what they have to do, to 'get on', in this organization. They become a set of values, that are often assumed, and taken for granted, that help people to know how to behave.


Creating a High-Performance Organization Culture isn't just about helping people to feel good - but, it is one of the wonderful side benefits!

It is about designing the systems and conditions that deliver the results the shareholders and customers want by unleashing the potential of the people who work in the business

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What is a High-Performance Organization Culture?

A high-performance organization culture is characterized by:

  • Planned organization design choices
  • Minimizing of management control
  • Enabling people who do the work to control how it gets done
  • High commitment
  • Lean, flat, flexible structures
  • Delivery of results that outstrip traditionally run organizations
  • Commitment to a common vision
  • Business focused
  • Integration of people and equipment (not people to equipment)
  • Leadership committed to facilitating the best in others
  • Teamwork and multi-skilling across functions and boundaries
  • Delegation of authority and decision-making to the person closest to the task
  • Principle-based rather than rule-based
  • Energized people committed to learning and doing their best

The one thing I know for sure.... for you to create a high-performance organization culture, you must be a high-performance leader. So do make sure you make use of the articles about Self-Improvement and Improving Relationships

And, when you are ready to really fast-track your leadership career - then come along and join the Make a Dent Club

What are Some of the Main Differences Between Traditional and High Performance Organizations?


High Performance

Hired hand

Organizational contributor

People need controlling

People want to give their best

Technology determines structure and work processes

Integration of Technical and Social Systems

Managed by rules

Led by principles

Motivated by competition

Motivated by co-operation

Organization structure is rigid and hierarchical with fixed roles

Organization structure flexible and flat; enabling people to go where talents can be used

People issues owned by H.R Department

People issues owned by line management

Reward system promotes 'climbing the ladder'

Reward system promotes achieving organizational goals and excellence

Information guarded and decisions made by management

Information shared and decisions made by the person closest to the task

Low performance tolerated

Low performance addressed quickly

Little recognition/acknowledgement

Recognition of performance that supports team goals

No shared vision

Commitment of all to shared vision

Focus on short-term results

Focus on long-term success of the business

Content with static skills

Focused on growth

Training conducted

Commitment to sharing and applying learning & knowledge

People need to be motivated (through fear or bribes)

People feel inspired because they believe in what they are doing

One person, one job

Multi-task, multi-skill, rotate

Focused on activities

Focused on results

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