Archive for July, 2013

Building a High Performance Culture Part III

Monday, July 8th, 2013

Words that Work: Consistent

In this third post on building a high performance culture I’ll return to words that work: the mindsets, values, attitudes and behaviors you must embed in a great culture. Thus far I’ve presented the following:

Words that work:

Earn: to acquire through merit.

Deserve: to be worthy of; to qualify for.

Words that hurt:

Fault: Responsibility for failure.

To use in a sentence: It’s not my fault I had a bad month. In other words, I’m a victim.

Blame: To assign responsibility for failure.

Excuse: a plea offered to explain away a fault or failure.

When appearing on MSNBC’s Your Business show I was asked if I believed the number one reason organizations didn’t reach their fullest potential was because they failed to change. I replied that while failing to change was a common reason, my experience had shown that the top reason organizations fell short of their potential was their chronic inconsistency. They would, in fact, change but then not stick with it; and then try another initiative, change again, but fail to follow through. This brings us to our third cultural word that works:

Consistent: constantly adhering to the same principles.

Consistent organizations are filled with people who are brilliant in basics of their job day-in and day-out; the days they feel like it and even when they don’t; even when it’s not easy, cheap, popular or convenient. In fact, if you study good performers and organizations and compare them to great ones, you’ll find that both groups do many of the same things; the great ones simply do them more consistently. Because of this they do them with greater excellence, strengthen their culture and pull away from the pack.

Frankly, even a sluggard can manage to do the right things occasionally, on the good days, when he or she feels like it. But leaders in a high performance culture identify daily, weekly and monthly disciplines that must be executed consistently and without excuse; and they hold people accountable for doing so. These leaders understand that no organization can become great by doing what matters most every once-in-a-while.