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Creating a High Performance Organization Culture – Common Challenges

One of the reasons our country been successful for so long is because of our culture.  While never perfect and continuously threatened, our liberty, free society and markets have encouraged individual initiative and rewarded hard work, risk taking and innovation.  These cultural characteristics are made possible because of the freedoms and rights guaranteed by our American constitution and the bill of rights.

Like the constitution and the bill of rights, organizational culture is important to carefully design, gain buy-in from the stakeholders, implement and appropriately enforce if people are going to act as stakeholder owners.  With the right structure and nurtured culture people at all levels of the organization will go the extra mile to innovate new products and services, consistently produce quality products, find cost savings, and take pride in the team and organization they belong to.

Without some kind of specified, nurtured and enforced governance structure and culture, the organization usually becomes a fiefdom to enrich and serve a single leader or small group of leaders.  While not illegal or immoral, this will not optimize human capital or business performance.

The high performance organization culture is able to optimize its human capital because its leadership model, ownership structure, values, promotion and rewards systems energize creativity, collaboration, innovation, pride and hard work at all levels of the organization.    People within high performance organization cultures are carefully selected, developed and positioned. They act as highly motivated owners of the business who produce high quality work products, delight their customers because they have a voice and a stake in what happens. High performance cultures give high performers a voice for creative expression, decision-making, collegiality, teamwork, professional satisfaction and financial rewards.

Leave organizational culture to be arbitrarily defined by the shrewdest politician, most aggressive bully or the slickest orator who’s claim to fame is a single contract or a good financial quarter and you will experience many of following common low performance cultural related problems:

  • Disenfranchised, apathetic staff
  • Low commitment/accountability
  • Lack of team cohesiveness and collective impact
  • Wasted time and energy on recurring problems of all types
  • Difficult recruiting and retaining the best talent
  • Inconsistent quality work products
  • Delivery problems
  • Low customer satisfaction ratings
  • Erosion of brand quality
  • Slower growth than industry peers

In short, the high performance organization culture is characterized by what is produced, as well as, how production occurs. Core values are a driving force of the high performance corporate culture and, as a result, they are reflected in decisions, actions, recruiting, development and performance management systems. For more on this, contact us for a copy of our Creating High Performance Organizations White Paper.

To talk with us about creating a high performance organization, contact Tim Allard at 434-984-0425 or email

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