Seven habits that drive performance

New research out of Australia shows that when times are tough, you should change your organisational habits.

Insync Surveys’ Alignment and Engagement Survey (formerly Organisation Alignment Survey) drew data from over 100,000 people from 200 organisations to arrive at seven transformational organisational habits.

Changing these habits can lift a low performing organisation to another level and help already high performing organisations to reinforce their advantage.

The seven habits are:

  1. Live an inspiring vision

  2. Communicate clear strategies and goals

  3. Develop your people

  4. Go out of your way to recognise your people

  5. Genuinely care for your people

  6. Listen and adapt to your customers’ needs

  7. Continually improve your systems

This isn’t a menu from which to pick and choose: the idea is to adopt them all – to get ahead, they must become your organisation’s new way of life.

Many of the habits can be embedded at little cost compared with other major change programs. The research suggests that adopting these organisational habits will increase employee engagement and contribution – people will feel more inclined to go the extra mile – which en masse lifts your organisation’s productivity and performance.

Two of the seven habits align closely with what we do at Peak Performance – developing peak performing people and customer-centric cultures. Habit three, ‘Develop your people’ shows that the way your organisation approaches selection, recruitment, development and retention is key to getting the best from your team.

Low performing organisations focus on getting the right people in but fall over when it comes to development, coaching and support. By failing to develop their senior leaders they reinforce their low-performance culture.

Some organisations are reluctant to invest in developing their employees in case those people move on. But this glass half empty perspective doesn’t build capability. Far more relevant is the risk of what will happen if you don’t develop them – and they stay.

There are lots of ways to develop people; from giving emerging leaders special and challenging projects, to secondment to other areas of the business and external development programs.

We regularly work with senior leadership teams and run interactive workshops, provide coaching and help to implement reinforcement activities designed to close their skill gaps. As the research states, one size rarely fits all.

There are some key things your organisation can put into action:

  • Ensure your leadership team is agreed on the importance of developing your people.

  • Ask one or two leaders to take on a champion role within your organisation.

  • Task your head of HR with the job of developing leadership programs relevant to your business, and task line managers with ensuring people development takes place.

  • Build a mentoring and coaching culture, with programs to ensure emerging leaders are mentored by the very best people.

The sixth habit of the magic seven – listen and adapt to customer needs – is another area that resonates with what we do. This is all about creating long term loyalty – something that won’t happen without a plan.

The Insync research found that most employees in high performance organisations believe their employers are committed to achieving long term customer loyalty, compared to less than half of employees in low performance organisations.

And 62% of employees in high performance organisations think their systems help them to serve their customers well – compared to only 31% of employees in low performance organisations.

It’s all about becoming a truly customer-centric organisation and putting the customer at the heart of everything you do:

  • Invest in understanding the current and future needs and wants of your customers so you can offer products and services they choose to buy.

  • Deploy useful, actionable customer metrics. Systematically seek customer feedback and use this to improve operating practices.

  • Invest in systems and practices that make it easy for customers to do business with you.

  • Hire for the right customer centric attitude, then train, coach, develop and reward your people to keep them engaged, enthused and focused on the customer.

  • Support an environment where employees can really get to know their customers and have the authority, ability and commitment to resolving their problems.

  • Translate customer knowledge into strategies that deliver superior value while using your organisation’s resources efficiently to reduce the real costs for you and the non-financial costs of time, effort and emotion for your customers.

Ultimately, it’s about taking your customers on a journey from satisfaction, to loyalty to advocacy.

The full research report (PDF) is worth a read and it has some good action checklists. Contact us if you’d like to focus more on habits three and six!


Posted: Monday 11 March 2013

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