What’s your High Performance Plan? Is it even possible to plan for High Performance? Yes, I believe it is! These are 10 Lessons on High Performance that will help you take your organization to the next level. Are you working with teams? Read this to make them High Performance, also. If you’re working with volunteer teams, then you can read this short article on Equipping Your Volunteers.
1. Poor performance is not always accidental
Some teams are not meant to excel on their own, they’re solely meant to support another team and are therefore capped at a certain level. Sometimes poor performance is exactly what the team is built for. More often, though, poor performance isn’t the goal, but there’s not a champion for taking things to the next level. That means that no one is pushing for excellence. In organizations leading volunteers, it’s critical that bureaucracy isn’t holding up volunteer development.
2. High Performance isn’t necessarily orderly
An organization can be neat and orderly, and still be poorly run and not achieve its goals. On the flip side, an organization can be a disaster and still be high performing. Think about the most popular restaurants in your city. A busy restaurant can be chaotic and still serve hundreds of guests great food every hour. Calm and orderly isn’t a prerequisite of high performance!
3. High Performance is not always efficient
Organizations that plan against multiple futures aren’t necessarily the most efficient ones. They must keep resources in reserve in order to take advantage of opportunities that present itself. Capital is difficult to obtain, so you need reserves. This is simpler to understand than it originally sounds. Having some of your money in a checking account isn’t efficient at all. There are much better places to hold money, but the access you have to it makes it worth it. Having that money there gives you access when you need it.
For volunteer organizations, being efficient means that there’s no waste of financial AND human resources. Sometimes you have to prioritize one over the other.
4. High Performance does not reside in hierarchy (or the lack thereof)
Hierarchy plays no part in high performance organizations. It doesn’t necessarily matter if your organization is centralized, decentralized, flat, tall, round, it doesn’t matter. Metrics, not centralization, create accountability. However, RAND researches believe that authority should be pushed down and out to the lowest levels possible. Having authority down to the lowest possible denominator allows all employees to be in search for excellence, thus making high performance more attainable.
5. High Performance does not require charisma
Having a charismatic leaders doesn’t increase the organization’s likelihood of high performance. Charismatic leaders are nice to have around, but not essential to success. Read Jim Collins’ book, Good to Great, for more information on charismatic leaders and how they can bring the opposite of high performance to their organizations.
6. High Performance requires “minimal viability”
Organizations don’t necessarily have to be well managed in order to be high performing. Although it won’t be high performing for very long if they’re mismanaged. Think of a basketball team during a run, they can be led by competent players on the court and during the run require minimal involvement from the head coach. Still, if the head coach isn’t effective, their overall season will suffer.
7. High Performance requires at least minimal competition
Too much competition can diminish the resources needed for research, development, and strategic planning. While too little competition can produce complacency and mediocrity. Organizations need at least some competition in order to survive. Many tend to view competition as bad, but that’s not the case. Competition with another organization will bring out the best high performance in your organization and in your teams.
8. High Performance thrives on information
High performance organizations have access to effective information technology systems and have open communication across teams and units. Nowadays, every has a data problem. If you don’t have a data problem, then you have a data crisis on your hands, you just don’t know it yet.
9. High Performance thrives on delegation
95% of high performance organizations gave their staff authority to make routine decisions. 77% have a participatory style of management. This is huge! High performance demands delegation, trust, and communication.
10. High Performance starts and ends with mission
The organization must have all the right components. A highly committed workforce, talented leaders, and enough resources to succeed, along with a mission that is within reach. Without a concrete mission, it doesn’t matter what you have or what you do, you’ll never even know whether you’re succeeding or not.