High Performance Cultures

It has been a while since I have worked in a big business and I am often asked for career advice on how to get ahead.
I have been a leader of people for a long time — not always getting it right. But luckily… more often than not it works out.
Great culture is about creating an environment where people can do their best work. A great culture ensures that individuals know what they are there to do (have clear objectives) are noticed (recognised for performance) and go home feeling like a winner (success is celebrated).
However, having a great culture is not about running a kindergarten. It is not something that happens ‘to’ people in fact, a sense of accomplishment and achievement often comes from overcoming adversity. The employee/employer relationship is both give and take. I have been writing about this for years — it is not new news.
Let’s consider the contribution of team. Great performing teams are like any important relationship — they are based on trust.
To be truly productive here are four things to look at in your career:

  1. Consider the relationship, rather than the transaction.
    If ‘it’ is all about you then the relationship becomes unproductive. Shared aspiration builds trust and resilience. Focus on getting to know people, throughout the business.
  2. Always saying ‘I want’ can be exhausting for those around you.
    How can you have the answer, find the solution, or offer assistance? People who are productive and problem solvers get promoted.
  3. Be interested, not interesting (we have two ears one mouth and they need to be used in that proportion).
    Spend more time listening to others, be curious rather than talking about yourself. What are others trying to achieve? How could you assist? A problem shared is a problem halved.
  4. Quality over quantity.
    Don’t worry about how many people you interact with, worry instead about making those interactions count. Networking (aka relationship building) inside a business is probably more important for career advancement than attending course after course on personal development.

I also like to ask the following questions:

  • Do people know what they can count on you for?
  • Do you have shared values and a sense of purpose?

Asking yourself these questions ultimately creates a united team and a place where people flourish and you want to be. But it is something that you have to choose to do. Culture is not something that happens to you — it is something that you choose to participate in.
And it is absolutely okay to have discussions, debates and disagreements. Different points of view are important and diverse ideas create a greater outcome. If you have a respect for who your colleagues are then these discussions can be incredibly valuable.
Being part of a truly high performing culture is amazing — it is absolutely worth investing in.

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