The business environment has changed drastically in the last decade and continues to do so at a much faster pace. The world of work has become more digital, global, diverse and technology driven than it ever was. However, several traditional organizations are struggling to cope with these changes. On the other hand, there are some relatively new ones that have emerged as market leaders in a short span of time and can be described as high performance organizations. A high performance organization is one that performs exceedingly better than the competitors in the long run through constant innovation.
Organizations today need to change at a much faster pace due to technological advancements, multi-generational workforces and global economic implications. While it is highly challenging to deal with these changes constantly, it is also an opportunity to rethink how they approach leadership, people strategy and organizational structures. New systems, processes and tools can be created to evolve and sustain in this highly dynamic business environment to become a high performance organization.
Very simply, organizational culture can be defined as the way things get done in an organization and it reflects the attitude and behavior of employees towards work. Organizations, today, need to thrive in a highly dynamic environment which requires a strong culture that not only drives and sustains big changes but also have the foresight to be able to adapt to a highly unpredictable environment.
High performance organizations build the organizational culture and monitor it at regular intervals to achieve their strategic objectives. It is a culture based on collaboration, transparency, continuous learning and free-flowing communication. It must encourage innovation and risk-taking in order to thrive, while dealing with the rapid changes. However, the organizational culture must not be rigid, but fluid enough to change with the changing strategic priorities.
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Leadership is a scarce resource and the fast pace of change has weakened traditional leadership that was based purely on command and control. The need for people management skills is higher than it ever was. In a high performance organization, leadership cannot have the traditional top-down approach. Instead, leadership must be exercised through a network of well-trained and empowered employees that have the ability and the resources to make decisions and execute them as well. This reduces the decision-making time and makes the organization more agile.
The leadership must be well-equipped to deal with the highly VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) environment and have the ability to mobilize the organization and give them a sense of direction. A new leadership mindset needs to be inculcated that promotes innovation, risk-taking and a continuous learning culture to become a high- performance organization.
Most importantly, high performance organizations generate leaders at every level. They create a pipeline of future leaders who have experienced varied roles and functions in the organization and have been groomed for the leadership role. They identify potential leaders early and groom them with the skills and competencies required by a future leader.
The organizational structure of a high performance organization is more agile and supports faster decision-making. Lean structures eliminate the unnecessary tasks and allows the organization to focus more on meaningful work. It not only ensures faster communication and decision-making, but also gives the senior leaders a better view of the day-to-day operations. Everyone has clearly defined roles which eliminates ambiguity and improves decision-making. The roles are defined on the basis of the broader organizational needs and filled with the right talent with the requisite skills.
The organizational structure of a high performance organization is dynamic and future oriented. Also, it can’t be very rigid so that when the competitive environment is changing, the organizational structure can be adjusted. It can help companies improve their execution by aligning their key elements- structure, individual capabilities, roles and collaboration with the organization’s strategy.
In high performing organizations, the HR function is not limited to activities like recruiting and performance management. The HR leaders play the role of strategic business partners and help translate the business strategy into people strategy that can ensure sustained growth. They are aware of the significance of employer brand and make sure that employees and recruits are aware of the broad range of benefits that the organization offers.
Companies need to devise the right people strategies to attract and retain the best talent, encourage a continuous learning culture and establish a system of constant feedback. High- performance organizations employ developmental and retention tools that go beyond compensation and financial incentives and also focus on employee engagement. They keep track of the engagement levels of the workforce by measuring it regularly and actively managing it especially through difficult phases. While cultural experiences and strategies are created for employee engagement, they are also aligned with the business objectives.
In high performance organizations, the HR leaders are also highly invested in encouraging continuous learning so that the workforce can learn new skills easily and at a faster pace. Continuous learning enables the workforce to build the required skills anytime and anywhere. New systems and tools are invested in, which enables the employees to take onus of their own professional and personal development. These organizations have established a continuous learning culture where learning resources are available to employees anytime and anywhere, and they are rewarded for learning continuously.
While it is highly critical for organizations to deal with the changing market forces, it is also an opportunity for them to innovate and grow at a much faster pace. All they need to do is to innovate their approach to leadership, talent management and organizational structures. Organizations need to become more experimental, exploratory and adaptive to gain a competitive advantage. As business leaders try to find new ways to deal with the ever- changing business environment, they need to work on the key elements that help in making an organization a high performance organization.
- The need to create high performance organizations- Drishti Pant, 03 October 2019
- The Top 6 Priorities For Building High-Performance Organizations Of Tomorrow- Brent Gleeson, 06 June, 2017
- Creating a High- Performance Organization- BCG
- Three Steps to a High-Performance Culture- Carolyn Dewar and Scott Keller, 26 January, 2012
- High-Performance Organizations- The Secrets of their Success- Vikram Bhalla, Jean- Michel Caye, Andrew Dyer, Lisa Dymond, Yves Morieux, Paul Orlander, 01 September, 2011