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Developing a High Performance Cuture

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The importance of organisational culture

How do we boost the motivation, performance, and engagement of people at work? You might want to turn around the fortunes of a struggling team, or help an organisation make the shift “from good to great”, or transform people’s experience of organisational life, to generate greater employee engagement. 

Achieving excellence is more than a matter of individual talent and effective performance management: a key factor is the quality of the psychological environment in which individuals work. You might already invest a good deal in developing your people – but what kind of environment do they go back into? If people are having to swim against the cultural tide in order to be successful they’re unlikely to work at their best over the long term.

What helps us perform at our best?

In a recent research study we asked people about times at work when they’d been at their best, and what it was that helped them excel. Our interviewees work in a wide variety of settings: retail, education, banking, health, professional services, and the arts. It turns out that people doing these very different sorts of jobs are remarkably consistent in what they look for:

  • to feel a sense of autonomy in what they’re doing
  • to feel a sense of belonging to a team and an organisation
  • to find meaning, purpose, and value in their work
  • to have clarity about the way the organisation works
  • to feel challenged and stretched
  • to have a sense of achievement

What difference can culture make?

When the conditions are right, and individuals are able to work at their best, what do organisations have to gain?  The study reveals three main benefits:

  1. When individuals work in a positive organisational culture they’re more likely to be committed to what they’re doing and invest their energy and skills in their work – to be engaged. And there’s evidence that employee engagement is a significant factor in reducing sickness absence, increasing retention, enhancing quality, and improving performance. Engaged employees are likely to feel better and perform better too.
  1. Individuals and teams working in a positive organisational culture are more likely to have a “can-do” attitude, the belief that they can achieve what they set out to do. People with stronger “self-efficacy” beliefs are more likely to tackle challenges and persist at them, to achieve more, and to have greater job satisfaction.
  1. Not surprisingly, a positive organisational culture helps create an upbeat climate, in which people experience more positive emotion. Positive emotions have been linked to better immune functioning (and therefore less ill-health), to greater resilience in recovering from challenging situations, and to more creative and resourceful thinking.

Culture change in practice

We've developed an innovative process using the High Performance Culture Framework to help organisations find their own ways of creating a more positive organisational culture and increase levels of individual and team engagement. Our approach is what one writer calls “tracking and fanning” – identifying examples of the team or organisation at its best, learning what made that possible, and finding ways to make those strengths and successes more consistent and reliable.

Like to know more?

If you’d like to find out how a high performance culture could work in your organisation, take a few minutes to get in touch.

contact us now to find out how we can help

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