Towards SUSTAINABLE HIGH PERFORMANCE: Build and Converge the Commitment of All
Field experiences, including many in Japan, convinced me that to be sustainable, a high-level performance must be based on four pillars: customer satisfaction, just necessary, continuous improvement and, also, the pro-active commitment of everyone.
This commitment, all too often neglected and the most difficult to build, is essential in order to achieve high performance and to maintain it.
Seek pro-active commitment from all
This commitment translates into cooperation at all levels of management and between all departments, and then, in a very operational way, fuels a flow of “convergent initiatives”. These multiple initiatives, large and small, contribute to continuous improvement and make a concrete contribution to achieving a shared performance ambition. Such “convergent initiatives” are both a powerful lever for progress and an extremely relevant indicator of pro-active engagement.
Subscribe to a cultural and managerial transformation
In addition to numerous indispensable technical actions, a high sustainable performance therefore requires a cultural transformation: to make each member of the staff, in each department, the active carrier of a shared ambition. Performance is then result of a managerial evolution process, often even of a managerial revolution.
The vast majority of leaders understand the need for more committed and autonomous staff at all levels. At the same time, in many companies, the deployment of a “Lean” policy is limited to the implementation of a set of methods and tools that should, as if by magic, develop cooperation. Yet confidence and cooperation cannot be decreed. Only a deep managerial reflection can sustain a lasting transformation, well beyond the few rapid but fragile advances that tools allow.
Building quick results in endless progress
However, it is possible to envisage steps that will ensure rapid and robust results, which will be part of a movement of endless progress. Together with improvement tools that can build confidence, it is important to associate the accompaniment of managers in an intellectual and emotional understanding of the managerial situation, and often even in a discovery of the profound levers of everyday ways of functioning.
This dual work requires associating advising and coaching. A simple training, presenting the methods and tools as well as the expected results, may suffice for a superficial application, which follows the procedure at minimum, but it is the reflection on the consequences that the methods and tools will have on the people and on the meaning of their work that illuminates their intelligent implementation; adapting to each particular situation.
Accompanying the transformation: technical expertise and competence of a coach
Taking into account the human factors of sincere commitment first ensures the full effectiveness of the methods and tools transmitted. The underlying managerial reflection allows to build a strong interpersonal relationship, and to establish the confidence necessary to envisage and accompany the deeper managerial transformations.
This need for accompaniment appears gradually. From the awareness of the limits of a purely technical approach, emerges in stages, according to the context and the capacity of the management to question its practices, the fundamental problem of any organization: its capacity to elicit cooperation and convergent initiatives. It is thus possible to question the changes to be put forward all together.
Thus, technical expertise and the skills of the coach feed a virtuous dynamic that guides the manager and his teams towards modes of operation which guarantee a constant improvement, towards a high sustainable performance!
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A separate document analyzes in details the way to build autonomy and cooperation by the major levers which are, on the one hand, trust within the teams and, on the other hand, the meaning given to the joint high performance project.
The reflection is based on a simple yet essential tool: the “Power-Permission-Protection” triangle. The “Power”, in concrete terms the action and convergent initiative capacity, requires “Permission”, the field of trust created by the management, and “Protection”, formed by the shared meaning, vision and values.
This analysis is complemented by a few in-company applications that illustrate concretely the implementation we can follow to build a sustainable high performance.
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