“We are in the middle of one of the most profound shifts in human history, where the primary work of mankind is moving from the Industrial Age of “control” to the Knowledge Worker Age of “release.”– Stephen R Covey
For centuries people have organised themselves into collective groups. We all know that when we work together, it is possible to achieve more security and satisfaction than we can alone as individuals.
But, somewhere in our pursuit of higher-performing organisations, this intuition got lost in favour of a focus on cost and efficiency. Multiple business and economic failures led to a new drive toward consumer satisfaction. A focus on creating more consumer value has proven to be somewhat successful. However, many implementations of approaches like Six Sigma, TQM, Quality Circles, Lean, TOC and Agile have failed to deliver the expected results.
As we move out of the ‘Industrial Age’ and into the ‘Knowledge Age’ there is a slowly emerging understanding that we need to listen to our intuition. We need to create environments where we can work together, learn from each other, bring our contribution to the table and achieve greater collective satisfaction.
Sustainable High Performance is achieved by creating a synergy between increasing Consumer Value, providing a Culture that is safe, secure and satisfying for employees, and maintaining Commercial Responsibility.
Engagement is when the people closest to the consumer are directly and actively involved in solving problems that hinder the performance for that consumer.
High Performance through Engagement is when those people who are closest to the consumer use, as a matter of habit, analytical problem solving tools and structured processes to identify the root cause of problems, find solutions to those problems and then implement quickly to increase value to consumers.
High Performance through Engagement is a strategy for developing a work system that:
- is consumer-focused
- uses analytical problem solving processes like Interest Based Problem Solving, the Theory of Constraints Thinking Processes and design thinking
- meets the interests of all stakeholders
- has open and real-time information systems
- is performance-driven with continuous improvement metrics
- is employee-based and relies on the discretionary effort of employees
- has a management system that facilitates and releases intuition, knowledge and experience from employees
- is focused on building constructive thinking, behaviour and cultures
- has an emphasis on training, developing and growing people
- is innovative, dynamic and flexible
There are multiple ways to build this work system.
Your organisation is unique because the people in it are unique. A high-performance work system must be customised and designed for your organisation by the people in your organisation. In most cases, it can be funded within the existing resources of the organisation.
High Performance through Engagement is not for everyone. It requires “courageous leadership” (think Brené Brown – Dare to Lead) and a willingness to embrace a new way of operating.
The benefits of High Performance through Engagement are increased customer loyalty, increased financial performance and a culture of innovation and growth. There are numerous case studies published by both the private and public sectors as well as multiple University studies of the impact of adopting a High Performance through Engagement approach. The evidence is overwhelming that the improvement in performance that comes from a culture of engagement substantially improves the overall operating performance of an organisation.
What is an HPtE Strategy®?
An HPtE Strategy® is an organisation strategy that balances commercial responsibility, consumer value and culture to create sustainable high performance. It deliberately creates a culture of collaboration, innovation, confidence and achievement. This cultural change is needed more than ever in a fast-changing, complex, variable and global work environment.
Some of the key methodologies include:
- Systems thinking (e.g. Interest-Based Problem-Solving and Theory of Constraints Thinking Processes),
- Continuous improvement practices (e.g. Agile, Lean and Six-Sigma),
- Collaborative budgeting,
- Culture and behavioural assessments (e.g. Organisational Culture Inventory®, Organisational Effectiveness Inventory®, Group Styles Inventory™, Leadership Impact® and Life Styles Inventory™).
An HPtE Strategy® goes beyond the traditionally separated commercially driven, continuous improvement or culture-based initiatives. Companies that pursuit an HPtE Strategy® do one thing significantly differently than other companies. They leverage the power of collective problem solving to deliver the needs of shareholders, consumers and employees.
An HPtE Strategy® is not:
- A financial strategy (although it impacts commercial returns)
- A continuous improvement strategy (although it utilises continuous improvement methodologies)
- A culture strategy (although it has a significant impact on culture)
- An HR or ER strategy (although it impacts HR and ER)
- An “Engagement Survey” (although it utilises robust and reliable psychological assessment tools)
- An industrial relations strategy (although it impacts industrial and labour/management relationships)
- A form of autocracy or industrial democracy (although it leverages the strengths of both ideologies)
An HPtE Strategy® embeds powerful systems thinking and problem solving processes into the very fabric of an organisation. It recognises and leverages the inherent tension between satisfying the needs of shareholders, consumers and employees.
Through constant discovery, organisations find new and innovative ways to deliver more commercial responsibility, more consumer value AND a safer, secure and more satisfying work environment for people.
He aha te mea nui o te aoMaori proverb
What is the most important thing in the world?
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata
It is the people, it is the people, it is the people