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3 Key Elements of Performance-driven Culture

Editor's Note: If you are interested in becoming an expert on Performance Management, take a look at Flevy's Performance Management Frameworks offering here. This is a curated collection of best practice frameworks based on the thought leadership of leading consulting firms, academics, and recognized subject matter experts. By learning and applying these concepts, you can you stay ahead of the curve. Full details here.

Featured Best Practice on Performance Management

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The organizational maturity notion signifies the progress of an organization in terms of developing its people, processes, technology, and capability by implementing quality practices. Organizations aiming to achieve the highest maturity levels in performance need to take care of the intricacies [read more]

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A strong, positive Organizational Culture fosters a good feeling in employees about their work and the work environment.

Nourishing such a culture demands key behaviors to be keenly managed by looking for and recurrently strengthening Bedrock Behaviors.

Bedrock Behaviors is a set of acts that has the influence to initiate a domino effect, altering other Behaviors as they travel through an organization.  Organizations that identify and embrace such Behaviors, are in a position to create cultures with sway that go further than employee engagement and directly improve performance.

Not many leaders become aware of the massive effect of these crucial Behaviors, with their attempts to increase performance staying vague and dispersed.

Also leaders find the enticement of amassing instructions one after another very difficult to forbear.

These instructions frequently enfeeble each other even if these actions are lined up to the same eventual objectives.

Additionally, when these actions are aimed at substantial transformations to the culture, they are virtually always too inclusive, systematic, abstruse, and immediate.

Culture is quite profoundly entrenched in employees’ convictions and habits and this is something leaders are mostly unable to realize.  Failure of this realization makes it difficult to bring about change in behaviors that has a lasting impact.

Generating change in behavior is more effective when organizations keep it simple, rather than taking the all-encompassing cultural change approach.

Organizations that focus on the following 3 key elements of Culture—that drive Performance—are the ones that succeed in causing lasting change:

  1. Critical Behaviors—those methods of accomplishing tasks, in the existing operations, that can be effortlessly disseminated from one employee to the next.
  1. Existing Cultural Traits—point to 3 or 4 poignant elements of the present Culture that are uniquely well-defined, sagaciously deep, passionately profound, and broadly familiar.
  1. Critical, Informal Leaders—those few employees who genuinely inspire others by what they do and the manner in which they do it.

These 3 key cultural elements are among the behaviors that have also been referred to as the critical few behaviors.  Clear focus on these 3 key elements of culture diminishes complexity and produces a more optimistic, comfortable, and permanent cultural impact on Performance.

Let us delve a little deeper into these elements.

Critical Behaviors

Identifying, elucidating, and garnering wide backing for a few critical behaviors—exemplifying the cultural priorities of the business—is the top most task in bringing cultural change.

Intricate and interwoven connection of the elements of the Critical Few will become instantly apparent when attempts are made to focus on critical behaviors.

While attempting to identify and prioritize the Critical Few Behaviors, urge to eradicate other behaviors that hold the business back should be checked.

Temptation to address the biggest pain points—e.g., lack of Innovation, lack of collaboration, and the like—should instead be channeled towards pinpointing and promoting desired behaviors.

Existing Cultural Traits

Virtually all organizations have a small number of significant existing cultural traits that are characteristically positive and they are an essential part of the authentic cultural scenario.

Leaders have the responsibility of ascertaining the Existing Cultural Traits that the business is supposed to uphold and add on to.

A business should focus on 3 or 4 traits, from among the numerous commendable traits, that are particularly clear, astutely thoughtful, emotionally formidable, and extensively well-known.

Looking for a large number of traits not only makes even the most solid traits appear, in some ways, unconvincing but also causes the whole process to lose credibility.

When appropriately identified and employed, these traits offer the employees a feeling of pride and purpose.

Critical Informal Leaders

Culture cannot be changed in haste since it is a self-sustaining way of behaving, contemplating, believing, and feeling, in a given group.

Focus and effort should be on a critical few groups and certain individuals, within the organization, who can assist in carrying out this Transformation and make it enduring.

Interested in learning more about Performance-driven Culture?  You can download an editable PowerPoint presentation on Performance-driven Culture here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?

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For even more best practices available on Flevy, have a look at our top 100 lists:

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The Performance Scorecard is a unique framework that acts as an invaluable tool for senior management to cut through the clutter of reviewing multiple (and at times irrelevant) department Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and provides a single view dashboard to aid performance [read more]

Want to Achieve Excellence in Performance Management?

Gain the knowledge and develop the expertise to become an expert in Performance Management. Our frameworks are based on the thought leadership of leading consulting firms, academics, and recognized subject matter experts. Click here for full details.

Performance Management (also known as Strategic Performance Management, Performance Measurement, Business Performance Management, Enterprise Performance Management, or Corporate Performance Management) is a strategic management approach for monitoring how a business is performing. It describes the methodologies, metrics, processes, systems, and software that are used for monitoring and managing the business performance of an organization.

As Peter Drucker famously said, "If you can't measure it, you can't improve it."

Having a structured and robust Strategic Performance Management system (e.g. the Balanced Scorecard) is critical to the sustainable success of any organization; and affects all areas of our organization.

Learn about our Performance Management Best Practice Frameworks here.

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About Mark Bridges

Mark Bridges is a Senior Director of Strategy at Flevy. Flevy is your go-to resource for best practices in business management, covering management topics from Strategic Planning to Operational Excellence to Digital Transformation (view full list here). Learn how the Fortune 100 and global consulting firms do it. Improve the growth and efficiency of your organization by leveraging Flevy's library of best practice methodologies and templates. Prior to Flevy, Mark worked as an Associate at McKinsey & Co. and holds an MBA from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. You can connect with Mark on LinkedIn here.

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