high performance organizations means including everyoneIn the past I posted on the importance of delegation and outsourcing.  As I look at the common theme there, it hit me these are the characteristics of build high performance organizations!  So, organized  and summarized these topics here.

The process for creating high-performance organizations is not complex. I didn’t say it was easy.  But, if you are willing to put in the time and energy the result can be transformational!

4 Characteristics for High Performance Organizations

The steps to creating a high performance organization are somewhat similar to delegation.  They include:

  • Communicating the operating parameters
  • Delegating/Empowering others
  • Establishing performance criteria
  • Holding people accountable

Operating Parameters

You begin by telling people their role in the organization and what you need them to do in supporting of the mission.  This takes the form of 2 critical tools in the business:

  1. job description
  2. operational business plan

Many small businesses don’t have job descriptions which creates the first problem.  If people don’t understand their responsibilities or somewhere to return to review them, then how can you expect them to do their job well?

Next, the operational business plan outlines the goals and objectives for the company and what tasks need to be accomplished toward achieving them. I liken it to a project plan for the business.


delegating create high performance organizationsIf people know their role and what the organization is trying to accomplish, you arm them with the needed tools to make better decision.  Now, instead of you having to decide everything that everyone needs to do, you can allow them to make decisions for themselves!

This also help you in alleviating some of the stress you have with delegating.  If they know the target, then they can make some of these simpler decisions that eats up your time and drive you crazy every day.  By creating this kind of environment, you begin seeing a shift in the culture.  People go from dependence to independent and making decisions on their own.

You have to be careful here.  When people make the wrong decision you cannot let the hammer fall.  You must use it as a learning opportunity.  Show them where they may have made a mistake in their judgment and how they should evaluate these situations going forward.  This allows them to improve their decision making skills and empowers your people to do more on your behalf.

Establish Performance Criteria

By providing a job description and business plan you establish performance criteria.  These 2 documents outline the parameters.  In this step you just need to describe how you plan to evaluate success.  If your people know what you expect upfront, then  they usually display the behaviors which you want.  If not, you need to ask yourself why not?

Many people struggle with this step because they don’t know how to create objective metrics from which to evaluate a subjective situation.  While this is very doable, it is a more complex process than can be addressed here.  If you are struggling with this, contact me.  I will be happy to walk you through the process of establishing objective performance criteria.

High Performance Organizations Hold People Accountable

Once you set expectations of your people then evaluating them becomes easier and people become accountable.  Most people will tell you they want accountability! It’s your responsibility as the leader to create it

I am surprised the number of time I interview employees and find that they’re frustrated because they don’t know what’s expected of them.  Just as frequently they tell me, “I never get any feedback if I am doing a good job or not.”

Frequently this is because the business owner hasn’t taken the responsibility necessary upfront work to create accountability system.  As a result employees don’t even know what the owners wants of them!

Often in this situation, the only feedback tends to be negative.  If you only get negative feedback is given then the organization’s performance begins to suffer. I falls on each individual to find the positive in the day-to-day and some people have a difficult time finding the positive.

A Process for Building High-Performance Organizations

So, if you want a high-performance organization there is some upfront work you need to do.

  • First, understand what you want people to do.
  • Then, communicate responsibility to them.
  • Next, give them the performance measures (metrics).
  • Finally, follow through on evaluating them against the metrics.

It may sound like a lot.  But, it empowers your people to make decision on their own. Once it’s working, you’ll be surprised at how much more time you get back in your day!

Have you employed something similar to this to improve employee performance in your business?  How did it work?  Was there something you may have done differently that gave to positive results?