MT Expert: The six habits of super-successful organisations

Habits form and shape the culture of an organisation. They become 'the way we do things around here'. Does your firm practice the six traits common to high performance organisations?

by Campbell MacPherson
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Changing organisational habits involves changing the habits of many individuals and takes significant effort, time and committed leadership. But this investment in achieving high performance can deliver a substantial return.

These habits need to become so deeply engrained in the organisation’s culture and DNA that they literally become the organisation’s new way of life. These new habits will impact every facet of the organisation, make it a better place to work, increase employee engagement and drive high performance.

So, what are the top seven habits of high-flying firms?

Habit 1: Leaders must be inspirational figures

According to research from Insync Surveys, which polled over 100,000 employees in over 200 organisations, 54% of employees in high performance organisations believe that their senior leadership team has an inspiring vision for the organisation. Keeping cool under pressure, behaving courteously towards everyone in the company, and developing a reputation for fairness are all key to being an inspirational leader.

Habit 2: Be clear on your strategies and goals

If your team understands what's expected of them, and where the company is headed, they are more likely to perform as desired. Fuzzy company vision, undefined goals and an overabundance of 'priorities' leaves staff unfocused and can often lead to the development of an unhealthy blame culture in organisations, with everyone pointing fingers and saying, 'So and so didn't tell me I had to do that'.

Habit 3: Develop your people

High performance organisations have effective plans for developing and retaining their people and are committed to ensuring that the right people get promoted. A policy whereby positions are always advertised internally works wonders with staff retention too.

Habit 4: Go out of your way to recognise your people

Do you know the names of everyone that works for you? If you're the CEO of a company with 1,000 people, you should still know all the staff in the two tiers of management below you. It's a common trait of leaders in high performance organisations that they go out of their way to acknowledge and thank people for their contribution.

Habit 5: Genuinely care for your people.

According to Insync Surveys' research, almost 80% of people in a high performance organisation would recommend the company to family and friends, specifically because 'the organisation cares about and is committed to me'. Would your staff say the same about your firm? How many new recruits come in through recommendations from existing employees?

Habit 6: Listen and adapt to customer needs

But it's not all about being good to your own people. High performance organisation treat their customers with tender loving care. It may sound obvious, but customer care should be a consistently evolving beast, from the day a customer buys or signs up, re-engaging throughout the relationship, and - most importantly - treating that customer with respect even if they decide to take their business elsewhere.

It should come as no surprise that an organisation that genuinely places their customers and their people at the heart of the business, whose people understand where the company is headed and the role they play in delivering the future, and continually improves the way it work, is one that will outperform its peers. The key to an organisation’s success, as ever, lies in the commitment of its leaders and their willingness to implement.

Is your leadership up to the challenge of building a high performance organisation?

Campbell is MD of consultancy Campbell Macpherson & Associates.

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