High Performing Organisation

Successful organisations seem to possess a greater awareness of their market vis-à-vis their competitors, engaging critical staff in the right areas, and respond very well to external situations. They convert every challenge or problem into business opportunities.

 

"Future of business" is a word that can ignite a seemingly endless discussion. While the future holds opportunities, the one unarguable premise while conceiving the future is that it shall take shape on the basis of what we do today. Even though VUCA is affecting nearly every industry, some organisations have always managed to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to consistent performance year on year. They taste success in almost every initiative, and, even at the instance of failure, the impact is only temporary. Successful organisations seem to possess a greater awareness of their market vis-à-vis their competitors, engaging critical staff in the right areas, and respond very well to external situations. They convert every challenge or problem into business opportunities.

 

It is always worth spending some time to understand what these organisations do which is so different from their peers, and, to identify traits they have in common, particularly from the perspective of corporate performance management (CPM). I would define High Performing Organisations (HPOs) as those enterprises which commit its objectives to the stakeholders, and consistently deliver, and even surpass them on several occasions. They build in the expertise in every domain for a consistent and a sustained level of performance. It is important to note that it is not a mere business financial performance, but delivering on all stakeholder value proposition that is the frame of reference for delivering HPO. Of course, credible and consistent financial performance garners maximum weightage, but every factor must be considered while defining HPO. After much deliberation, discussions at professional forums and partaking research, I have ascertained that the below are a "must haves" for a High Performing Organisation (HPO).

 

Must haves for a High Performing Organisation (HPO)

 

The Mission/Purpose

 

Many organisations believe that the primary function of a business strategy is to provide a description over the ways of maximizing shareholder value. However, I feel that this is not enough. Strategies come and go over time. In high performing organisations, the fundamental performance drivers are described by the mission statement. Corporate strategy is what links the mission statement with the personal objectives of each employee. Unfortunately, several companies struggle to create a mission statement because of lack of clarity, conviction, and commitment. Good mission statements identify the stakeholders of an organisation. Great mission statements go a further step further and identify the performance drivers of an organisation and establish ambitious goals for the organization.

 

Values

 

Values, irrespective of the fact that they are articulated or implicit, is a MUST for every organisation. "Values" are not soft. New employees who join one organisation and do not fit into its value system usually depart in very quick time. If employees and the management of an organisation do not agree over any values that have been shared, every change proposed within the organisation will be heavily debated, and implementation will require significant effort. Even when values are agreed upon internally, if those values (i.e., what binds the organisation together) do not align with customers' values (i.e., what attracts customers to the company), the organisation will struggle to innovate successfully. In HPOs, managers and employees agree on the company's internal values, and those internal values match customers' values. These values are the bedrock of creation and sustenance of culture. The culture is designed to achieve business goals and employees are encouraged to leave the comfort zone in pursuit of personal as well as business objectives.

 

Steps To Build A High Performing Organisation

 

◆ Collective vision

◆ Shared values

◆ Committed stakeholder / goals strategy

◆ Execute diligently to deliver vide an operating plan

◆ People care and excellence

◆ Digital strategy to support and enhance business growth

◆ Reward stakeholders in co-relation to performance

◆ Continuous process improvements

◆ Corporate governance

◆ Communicate and build a social brand in all areas

 

Strategic Focus & Alignment

 

The execution of a good strategy is at least as important as having that strategy in the first place. A company with no strategy but excellent execution may, in fact, be better off than a company with a good strategy that is badly implemented. Therefore, the first step in developing strategic alignment is to put in place a measurement system to gather feedback on whether a strategy is working. There are many types of measurement systems, and each has its own advantages and challenges. Regardless of which is being opted by a company, implementing it at the top management level and collecting feedback is not, by itself, enough to create focus and alignment. The measurement system has to be cascaded deep into the organisation for cumulative implementation of strategy across the organisation.

 

Agility is the key

 

A plethora of research suggests that most organisations fail at executing strategies, because the external environment changes faster than the rate at which strategies can be devised. High-performance organisations achieve a high level of agility so that they can identify change and respond optimally- or, even better, set the pace for change within their industry. They lead change management effectively by leveraging the potential of the people and designing a robust communication framework.

 

Leadership

 

The term leadership is not definitive, it changes with the need and demand of an organisation. In an era dominated by change and uncertainity, Highperformance organisation leaders are visionary and comfortable with ambiguous surroundings. They understand the significance and recognize the importance of cooperation and collaboration in a working environment which is well outside the world. HPOs have leaders in the wing who have been rotated through many positions and functions across geographies to be ready with future pipeline.

 

Bringing it all together

 

The journey towards becoming a high performing organisation is never ending and is replete with pitfalls and detours. Still, every step in that direction is worthwhile, because it improves the company in some manner. For HPOs, the journey is the destination. A perspective HPO should have a clear line of sight in terms of business objectives, strategy, priorities, market due diligence, and a strong grip on execution excellence to drive financial and operational scorecard ticking.

 

In summary, I can define some steps to build a High Performing organization

 

◆ Collective vision

 

◆ Shared values

 

◆ Committed stakeholder / goals strategy

 

◆ Execute diligently to deliver vide an operating plan

 

◆ People care and excellence

 

◆ Digital strategy to support and enhance business growth

 

◆ Reward stakeholders in co-relation to performance

 

◆ Continuous process improvements

 

◆ Corporate governance

 

◆ Communicate and build a social brand in all areas

 

 

 

Rajesh Padmanabhan is the Director and Group CHRO at the Welspun Group. He began his career with the ICICI Group and was Vice President-HR at ICICI Infotech. He has served in pivotal HR positions in Essel Propack, the Oberoi Group, Patni Computers, Capgemini and Vedanta Resources. Rajesh is a Post Graduate in HR as well as Finance from Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies.

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