What holds an organization together and motivates the people within it to do the right thing rather than the easy thing? The answer, for many top-performing companies, is culture—the values, mind-sets, and behaviours that constitute an environment conducive to success.
The importance of a winning culture was underscored in Bain & Company’s latest worldwide survey of management tools and trends: 91% of the 1,200 senior executives at global companies surveyed agreed that “culture is as important as strategy for business success.”
In another recent Bain survey, 81% of executives agreed that a company without a winning culture was “doomed to mediocrity.” But what exactly is a winning culture?
Performance culture is at the heart of competitive advantage in the twenty-first century. Thanks to globalization and the instant flow of information, competitors can soon mimic a successful strategy. What they cannot reproduce quickly, however, is a superior performance culture.
As Herb Kelleher, former CEO of Southwest Airlines, notes, “Competitors can buy tangible assets, but they can’t buy culture.” Consider Toyota’s production system, Southwest Airlines’ low-cost air travel model, and General Electric’s replication of its business model in dozens of industries.
None of these is confidential; on the contrary, there are much exhaustive analysis in a multitude of articles and case studies. Yet the performance culture of these organizations supports a competitive advantage that has proven extraordinarily hard to replicate.
While a strong performance culture – one where employees work to their full potential more often than not – can be a sustainable source of competitive advantage, the lack of it is a significant competitive disadvantage because it creates a barrier to implementing change of all kinds.
And, just as important is, how can a company’s leaders instil a great performance culture? A winning culture has two defining characteristics:
a. A unique personality and soul based on shared values and heritage.
b. Cultural norms and behaviours that translate the organization’s unique personality and soul into customer-focused actions and bottom-line results.
With the above in mind, let us continue our discussion on “75 ways to build and establish a great performance culture” Happy reading.
41. Thank people for a job well done
42. Pay people well
43. Offer benefits to employees
44. Invite employees to special functions
45. Beware expense reductions in the wrong places
46. Think before you act on anything that will affect customers
47. Think before you act on anything that will affect employees
48. Coach for empowerment
49. Understand the different levels of employee readiness
50. Offer explanations where appropriate
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