Because the business and its environment are continually evolving, best practice also has to be adapted to the times. What matters is the right managerial practice, exploiting the right business drivers to adapt to and shape the conditions facing a business over time–André de Waal, 2010
Top 7 Characteristics Shared by High Performance Organizations (HPO)
1. Fast response to new conditions: I am not only talking about financial crisis, politics or shift in consumer taste. I think that the biggest change that is affecting global companies of the twenty-first century is communication. With a 24/7 highly connected world and new mobile technologies, organizations are facing unique new challenges. Global smart companies understand that social media are providing more opportunities than threats. Those who are leading the pack, such as DELL with its blog “Direct2Dell” have already their corporate brand values shared in real-time by empowered employees and customers who have millions of friends around the world to share opinions about products, services and how organizations treat their employees, the environment or citizens.
2. Risk-taking, experimentation, and innovation: Under strict budgets, companies are forced to innovate or die. The high performance organizations however make innovation a habit. They are not egocentric, they are always watching what is new in their industry but also allow “pet projects” for employees to explore totally new fields. For example companies like Google or 3M give the employees 20% of their time to work on something they are really passionate about.
3. Entrepreneurship, proactive approaches to find solutions are encouraged and rewarded. Building a strong entrepreneurial culture in big multinational companies is not easy as it is highly cultural in my opinion. For example Japanese teams are looking for consensus and the “kaizen” system which means continuing learning and improvement is a group discipline rather than having champions pushing for new ideas. On the contrary leaders in emerging markets are usually selected for their capability to take risks and decide quickly with few rules. The corporate strategy in an entrepreneurial organization is often generated by a bottom up approach with front-line employees such as customer services and sales people together with customers sharing feedbacks on blogs or social media like Facebook or Twitter. However entrepreneurship drives value only when corporate strategy is clearly defined and very well executed at all levels of the organization including performance evaluation, feedback loops and corrective measures.
4. Top managers exhibit genuine concern for customers, employees, shareholders and suppliers. High performance companies are continuously building trust with people they deal with even competitors. The top management “walk their talk” to keep the company’s reputation and credibility at its highest level. After the Enron scandal and most recently the banks’ risky behaviors leading to the major financial crisis, the topic of corporate governance is highly sensitive . When company such as BP lost trust in the recent Gulf disaster, stocks went down dramatically. It is very difficult for a global company to manage ethical behaviors and accountability as every country has its own definition of corporate governance and social responsibility but top performers know there is a link between trust and profits. Companies who lose trust such as Toyota during its recent recall lose capital and may never be able to regain their brand value again in a global market.
” You can’t judge yourself to be sustainable or responsible. You can only be judged by others”. Jeffrey Hollender
5. Clear, deeply rooted, widely understood philosophy and values. Corporate vision and mission statements determine what is the purpose of an organization, where is it going and what are the values shared by the employees, the stakeholders, shareholders, suppliers and the community at large. Values and principles define actions and help create a strategy and defining goals and action plans. Starbucks is a good example of a company who has global values and mission statements clearly defined and shared by local cultures.
6. Careful selection of new employees to be sure they will “fit in. Referrals are the best method to identify high quality hires and help find passive candidates with the specific experience hiring companies need. If you like it or not, again social media are making a big difference and more than 70% of companies find new hires that way. Online social networking is not new, same rules apply as in person networking but powered by platforms like Linkedin or Twitter, it increases the efficiency, retention rates and fit of referral hires and help reducing hiring costs.
7. Family friendly culture and employees at the center of the corporate core values:
We also know that talented, engaged employees drive customer value and business performance–Mike Davis, senior vice president of Global Human Resources for General Mills.
Top 7 key attitudes of strategic global leaders and managers:
1.Create a compelling vision shared by all stakeholders
2.Create farsighted strategies to achieve the vision
3.Tolerate mavericks with creative ideas and be willing to accept failures
4.Focus on inspiring and empowering people while providing honest feedback with cultural sensitivity
5.Make work stimulating, challenging and rewarding. Say “thank you” often.
6.Create sense of teamwork across cultures and business units to avoid the silo effect
7.Embrace diversity and leverage cultural differences for excellence
- The Zappos Case: Can We Get Both Happiness And Profits ? (zestnzen.wordpress.com)
- Pump Up Employee Morale (dayscore.wordpress.com)
- Values Based Recruitment and Acculturation Onboarding (chuckros.wordpress.com)