Posted on May 30, 2019
Fostering Cultures of Success: Five Key Investments in Capacity and Climate
By: Steve Wischmann, President/Owner
Horizon Performance Solutions, LLC
High-performing organizations sustain their exceptional standards by establishing and fortifying an atmosphere of excellence – they foster a culture of success. Certainly, many organizations experience a high-water mark of elevated performance, but too many do not advance this capability and ethos over an extended period of time. Sustained high performance is not easy but very achievable when organizations pay attention to their internal and external dynamics and make the required investments in climate and capacity. It’s not enough to have a great product or service. It’s not enough to be trendy and hip in your brand. It’s not enough to just think big. While there is much that can and must be done in leading an organization to greatness, there are five key investments of time and energy that will help produce a positive climate and superior capacity.
First, set high standards and unwaveringly stand by them – greatness is achieved and sustained by organizations that passionately pursue and expect excellence. This includes being tolerant of measured risk-taking, not being paralyzed by missteps in progress toward achievement, and remaining flexible in addressing constant change. You keep moving forward embracing high standards and living by them. This focus is at the heart of achieving exceptional performance.
Second, establish your values and vision and be clear about goals and objectives – chart your course and make it clear so that your organization is not adrift. Make it easy for your workforce to collectively move in the same direction. Include a range of personnel in strategic planning and goal setting. Nurture inclusion and buy-in from throughout the organization – people thrive when they are engaged in the stakes of an organization.
Third, hire and develop the best people to fit your organization – the most important element of your business, agency, or organization is the people. You must work to get the “right team” and then focus their collective best energy on your action. Hire smartly, develop your workforce, and inspire committed performance that is galvanized by high standards.
Fourth, understand your place in the market and community and be open to change – there are few things more certain than uncertainty. Scan your environment and recognize and accept changing conditions, then revise and refine your organization’s focus and performance to meet new demand signals. Have a strategic view that is informed by the dynamic reality of your market or situation.
Fifth, celebrate progress and reward commitment and loyalty – make your organization the team of choice for talented people. Reward effort and evident progress toward your aforementioned vision and goals. Forge an atmosphere of productive outcomes by encouraging creativity and willing investment from your workforce. Frequently meet with your people to share anecdotes of success and provide for the cultural “storytelling” to begin. Transcend the workspace – make sure your people know that they are part of something much bigger than the buildings and grounds that comprise your infrastructure.
The most successful organizations achieve these five key investments. Storied companies, agencies, non-profits, and notably the military services, know how to gain excellence and sustain it. They foster cultures of success.