[Step 2 of 6] – Create a High Performance Culture

High performance culture to grow your business

10th April 2016

Gavin Preston

Business Growth


As you grow your business your team grows, whether as employees, partners, subcontractors, virtual assistants, suppliers or investors.

People have a leverage effect in your business.  They multiply what is already there.  They multiply the number of customers you can serve and the volume of product/service you can deliver.  You had better make sure they multiply the good.

Having clear systems and processes standardises ‘what’ is done.  That is not enough. ‘How things are done’ is as important as the ‘what is done’.   It is the ‘how things are done around here’ that gives a business identity and sets it apart from others in the market place.  ‘How things are done around here’ is of course the culture of a business.

Get the ‘what’ right and customers will be less than satisfied.  Delivering your product at the right time, to the right quality and at the price you quoted is the minimum expected.  How you deliver that product in terms of the customer’s experience of dealing with your business can either give you 5 star raving reviews or 1 star scathing reviews.

In my blog  last week  I shared that Step 1 in creating predictable business growth is the development of a Compelling Vision.

Step 2 of my six step business growth system ‘The Growth Code’, is Culture.  More specifically, creating a high performance culture that consistently delights your customers.

Here are 3 tips how you can build a high performing culture:

1.Build the right team
In the words of Jim Collins in his book ‘Good to Great’ – “first get the right people on the bus and then decide which seats they are going to sit in”.

Most businesses leave their recruitment until the last minute when they desperately need a new member of the team because they are buckling under the current work load.When you are hurting in this way the temptation is to hire the first person that looks half decent.   “You’ll do” is not the way to grow a high performance culture.

See your recruitment as a campaign just like you would a marketing campaign i.e a series of events or activity that results in a stream of applicants.

Even if you have not yet got a job opportunity always be looking for talent.Get recommendations from your market place as to who are the top performers that are currently working for someone else.  Meet up with them, have an exploratory coffee. Start the process of exploring whether there is a fit.  Build a substitutes bench so that you have talent waiting and primed when a post comes available.

Ensure your recruitment process has several steps and the opinions of a number of trusted colleagues are taken on board.  Be thorough.  A good hire can have a positive leverage effect. A team of great hires can take you to the top of the performance stakes.  We’ve all seen the rot a bad hire can cause.Trust your gut feel on this one.

2.Set standards
A hallmark of champions is to consistently demand of themselves more than anyone else could expect.  They obsessively look for every tenth of a percentage point of improvement.  Raising their standards of what is acceptable is a fundamental ingredient of their success.

When growing your business, if you are going to stand out in a noisy market place, you need to set  high standards for your teams and build a culture of continuous improvement.

i) Set clear goals for your teams and the people within those teams.

Engage everyone with those goals (last week’s blog and supporting video gave you some tips on how to make those goals more engaging).

ii) Set the Values of your business. These are things that are important to you. These are the guiding compass as to “how things are done around here”.

For example one of my corporate clients KP Snacks are rolling a great new set of values and they are:

  • We take personal ownership
  • We achieve together
  • We value our people
  • We have a positive attitude

iii) Decide on the behaviours that you expect to see in the business that bring your values alive.

An example of one of KP’s behaviours that sit under each of the values above are:

  • Understands what needs to be done
  • Works collaboratively and supportively with colleagues and customers
  • Able to engage with others and makes them feel valued
  • Demonstrates a can do attitude through actions and behaviours

Build High Performance Culture in your business

3. Build the right habits

We are what we consistently do.  Most of our day to day behaviour is habitual.  It has become so through consistent practice.  To change our results we need to change our consistent actions ie. Our habits.

Set up daily rituals. These could be reviewing wins/successes, team debriefs to look for areas for improvement, equipment clean down or desk tidy, drinking enough water, leaving your work station at lunch time for a break, doing at least one thing that will move the business forward etc.

Catch people doing things right. Thank them. Give positive feedback. Praise. Reinforce the behaviours that you do want.  This will improve performance, engagement and morale quicker than you might expect.

Establish a rhythm of team comms. Have regular team meetings to ensure the 2 way flow of communication is frequent enough and effective. Be sure to communicate the wins. Nothing breeds success more than success.

Click here for more details about my six step business growth system “The Growth Code”.

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