10 Ways to Improve Organizational Performance

10 Ways to Improve Organizational Performance

Overhead view of a busy team of business colleagues in a conference

No matter what size an organization, its founders and leaders always strive to create optimum performance, however the achievement of this goal often remains elusive due to a large number of factors, which may include a combination of the following:

  • Lack of Vision and Strategy
  • No ingrained Behavioural Values
  • Non alignment of the workforce with the Vision and Strategy
  • Wrong people in the wrong jobs and a disengaged workforce
  • Poor quality products or services and poor customer service
  • General lack of consistency
  • No robust forecasting
  • Incorrect metrics utilized to assess performance with focus on the wrong priorities, especially financial targets
  • Non-leveraging of partnerships and too much competition
  • Dysfunctional teams and silo working
  • Lack of resources
  • Poor Marketing
  • Lack of processes and procedures
  • Poor Planning and Project Management
  • Inadequate Risk Management
  • Lack of robust Project Reviews and analysis of Plan v Actual
  • Over-concentration on the EBITDA, as opposed to behaviours and attitude

This list is by no means definitive, but it does highlight the complexity and enormity of challenges facing many company heads.  So how can a firm optimize performance?  Here are 10 ways to assist leaders in improving organizational performance:

  1. The oft repeated advice: Have a clear vision, mission and strategy and ensure that team members are consulted, everyone is clear on the direction of the company and has sight of the basic financials. Make sure that all employees know where their role, objectives, KPIs and tasks fit within the operation to create alignment.
  2. Ensure all company initiatives are aligned with the vision and strategy, that the strategy is well-executed, and that a robust strategic review is carried out regularly and any necessary change of direction is well communicated.
  3. Make certain that any company values are lived and breathed by each leader in order to gain trust and respect; base values on behaviours, as well as financial metrics.
  4. Train and Coach senior managers to be role models for the organization, identify Champions of Change to lead on any Change initiatives and encourage increased Collaboration. 
  5. Deliver constructive as well as positive Feedback: Rewarding poor performance by praising poor work results in a significant lack of engagement of not only poor performers, but also high achievers and the majority of individual contributors. The negative impact on the bottom line can become considerable: Research suggests that 85% of managers demotivate team members by using inappropriate performance management tools and techniques. 
  6. Manage Talent: Very few companies have a robust strategy for Talent Management or Succession Planning.  Those that have, who assess and develop their staff according to behavioural competencies are proven to be more successful financially.  
  7. Solicit feedback from team members regarding customer service and quality. Actively listen to their ideas and have a forum for providing anonymous feedback and solutions to long-standing problems.  Employees on the front line have a powerful insight in to the needs of customers and the effectiveness and quality of delivery.
  8. Ensure that all executives are always working in Quadrant 2 of Stephen Covey’s Time Management grid in order to be less operational and more strategic to be able to achieve company objectives.
  9. Empower your managers to make decisions, problem solve and take ownership of their roles and responsibilities. Frequently ask them what needs to be done to deliver added shareholder and customer value.
  10. Be consistent in all company initiatives and behaviours. Practice and develop Authentic Leadership and demonstrate Emotional Intelligence in order for key stakeholders to fully engage.


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