3 Ways to Get High Performance From the Entire Organization

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Studies have shown that humans process negative and positive experiences differently. Negative experiences tend to stick in the brain while positive ones bounce out. Is it human nature to focus on the negative in all aspects of our lives? What keeps leaders up at night?

Things like figuring out how to tweak a business model, how to focus on “pain points”, and how to fix the things that are broken in the organization seem to preoccupy our thinking.

Whether explicit or implicit, every business is founded with the goal of being the best. After all, no one invests his or her time and money with the stated intent of being mediocre, right?

With the intent of producing the best product or service, leaders spend much of their time analyzing results to fix the issues that cause their business distress.

But why are we always so focused on what’s NOT right? It’s partly human nature, partly habit, and we are just drawn to solve the biggest breakdowns in the business.

We seek out the rush of solving the issues. The problem is that when we do this, we neglect to focus on what actually is working. And that’s where the real opportunity lies.

What would happen if you stopped looking for the things that aren’t working and started looking for the things going well?

What if you spent time discovering and replicating the strong areas of the business on broader scale? Before long you’d wind up with an organization full of “what’s working” examples and a lot less of “what’s not.”

You know where these high performing spots are, but what are you doing to leverage them? Leaders often assume the best performers have natural talent and skills and that best practices are being shared.

Yet, this isn’t necessarily the case. Usually, the best performers do not even realize they’re doing anything great or different from the rest. So the odds of any best-practice sharing are slim to none.

Why isn’t anyone digging deeper to find out exactly what these high performers are doing? Why is the business not set up to scale the new approaches uncovered by high performers?

Simplify and Implement

While it’s easy to identify who your high performers are, finding out what makes them successful might take a bit more sleuthing. Your high performers think they’re just doing their jobs, unaware that they have practices, habits, knowledge, and skills that should be replicated by others.

An even greater secret is that high performers often figure out what to stop doing or not do at all to achieve extraordinary results.

So, how do you decode the mystery of high performers?

  1. Find your sparks. Define the high-performance areas that really matter to you. Is it customer satisfaction? Sales growth? Productivity? Then, take a look at that specific area of your business. Is there a group of people doing similar activities? Can you rank or chart their performance? This is how you can see trends that will reveal those areas that can give the rest of the business its spark.
  2. Change your mindset – the greatest growth can come from within. We tend to believe that the bigger wins will come from the newer or bigger ideas. What we forget is that the cost and time to come up with a new market, business model, product, or service is usually significant, while the cost and risk to replicate something that has already been proven is little to none. Rather than encouraging your people to “reinvent the wheel” or create a new way of doing things, consider rewarding your people who replicate the best results that are already in practice. After all, if something is working well, you know that if scaled it should continue to yield the same, only greater, outcomes.
  3. Use your high performers as the teachers. Enlist your high performers as partners in scaling their “secret sauce” among their peers. It’s much more effective to have successful people act as mentors than it is for you to just tell employees what needs to happen.

When you feel compelled to spend all of your time fixing the problems, remember these simple tips:

· Focus on the high performers.

· Uncover the drivers of high performance.

· Simplify for mass rollout so that it’s applicable to everyone.

· Scale the secret sauce throughout the organization.

Leaders, this is your call to action. Highlight the best stuff and the people who make it happen. Then, help them bring their knowledge and practices to everyone in the organization. The returns of replicating what works are far more astounding than simply fixing what’s broken.