Creating a High Performance Culture

A recent article in the Financial Post suggested: “Create a culture of high performance. Recognize employees who exceed expectations.”

But how do you create a culture of high performance? High performance cannot be achieved on a cultural level unless expectations are understood by all and everyone is equally motivated to achieve them. By building a strategic recognition system on the following three guidelines, you can build a solid foundation for a high performance culture.

1) Establish clear expectations based on your company values and strategic objectives. Use these values and objectives as a means to encourage precisely behavior, actions and attitudes you need from every behavior to achieve your company’s mission and objectives

2) Recognize 80-90% of employees to bring these values to life across your organization. As Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, once said in Winning, “The middle 70% are enormously valuable to any company; you simply cannot function without their skills, energy, and commitment. And that’s the major challenge, and risk -- keeping the “middle 70” engaged and motivated. … But everyone in the middle 70 needs to be motivated, and made to feel as if they truly belong.” Of course, the top 10% need to be recognized for their efforts, but don’t neglect the middle 70.

3) To achieve 80-90% of annual recognition, open the recognition program to all through peer-to-peer recognition. This also encourages employees at every level to look around and notice the hard work and exceptional efforts of their coworkers, and then acknowledge that effort formally.

With clearly understood and frequently reinforced expectations that drive the company mission, you can build the high performance culture you need to achieve in this stressed economy while keeping employees focused on the task at hand.

What are your tips for building a high performance culture? Join the conversation in comments.

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