Outperform competitors, outperform yourself
Too many companies struggle to achieve high performance. Many more struggle to sustain it. While they set organizational goals or attempt to implement new processes or initiatives that improve their performance, the common result is a slew of incomplete projects, sinking morale and disappointing results. So what are they missing?
During our work with organizations of different sizes operating in diverse industries, The Dorsey Group has identified five keys to sustainable performance improvement.
1. Alignment and ownership
Alignment and ownership are key factors in sustaining performance improvements. While the vast majority of organizations set goals at the organizational level, those who translate their goals into actionable indicators at the employee level see greater and longer-lasting performance improvements. Why?
Organizational goals can feel large and distant, even unachievable, to the average employee. They don’t see how the goal applies to their daily work and they don’t understand what is really expected of them. That’s exactly what causes performance to tank. When goals are set and indicators are created, employees are able to take ownership of the work and align their daily tasks with the priorities of the organization.
Performance improvements aren’t made by a handful of people within an organization; every employee at every level must be involved. So while employees need to know how to do their jobs, understanding why is even more important. Engaged employees know the how and understand the why, which gives them the opportunity to make suggestions for improvement, collaborate and drive performance to a higher level.
Transparency is critical when tracking progress toward a goal. Employees at every level of an organization need to know what’s happening as well as how and why it is happening. When employees are in communication, they are able to prioritize their work to focus on higher organizational goals. In fact, it is this ability to identify and focus on top priorities that mark an employee as a top performer.
4. Timely review
Instead of shelving goals and reviewing only when they aren’t met, daily and weekly review of key performance indicators allows your teams to proactively identify and resolve issues long before they become performance crises.
5. A strong audit and feedback mechanism so that you can course correct
Understanding how the process is working—and course correcting when it’s not—requires a strong audit and feedback mechanism. The Dorsey Group’s Strategic Alignment Process and Scorecard provide a visual control for checking alignment between expected performance levels and actual performance levels.
Sustainable performance improvements are possible, but…
A change in the organizational mindset is often necessary. Satisfaction shouldn’t come from hitting targets, but exceeding them. While goals should always serve as a guide, the ability to look beyond them can lead to amazing, unexpected opportunities that allow organizations to drive performance to ever-higher levels and sustain their results.