Can leaders always deliver?
Status quo is not—or should not—be an option for any organization. Organizations need people to deliver better-than-expected results, with a focus on continuous growth, over time. The demands of competition and expectations create constraints and pressures. Often, it is the subtle relationship between pressure and performance, that impacts results. The right amount of pressure can create performance needed for better-than-expected results. In contrast, performance can suffer if there is too little or too much pressure. Leaders need to seek this fine balance of pressure and support, to impact results.
What do results tell us? I suggest that the success of an employee is determined by their ability to achieve results. The diagram below shows how results may, or could, be measured.
These results are directly linked to the actions of employees, which we call performance. Performance may be defined as the way (or the how) a person does the work or activity (task), against an agreed set of measurable objectives defined in the organizational strategy. Performance links to the effectiveness and motivation of the person, and speaks to their skill level, abilities and competencies, and their stresses and level of engagement, and includes the work environment or situation. Since performance drives results, it is essential for leaders to clearly identify the link between performance and results. Likewise, it is critical to identify the challenges and gaps in performance so as to undertake the correct action to support employees, and improve performance, overall.
Since performance drives our results, the question, then, is, what are these factors which can improve our performance, to deliver the better-than- expected results?
To improve Performance, we need to answer these two questions:
1. What do we want to do? (performance structure)
2. How do we want to do it? (performance culture)
What is a Performance Structure?
Structure is a framework of identifiable elements which physically or functionally connect to each other and gives form and stability.
The three elements of Performance Structure are:
1. Planning addresses how to close the gap between where we are and where we need to be by formulating a strategy for achievement. Strategy is a method or series of actions designed to achieve the goal of closing such gap.
2. Alignment speaks to the leader’s ability to engage people to do the work, and the tool to link planning to execution.
3. Execution is the ‘course of actions’ that are required to be taken to produce results.
What is a Performance Culture?
Culture is a common understanding of selected values or ethics, which are reflected by an expected behavior for a group of people whether they are part of formal structure or not. While formal processes and structures support this, central to the creation of a performance culture, is the leader.
Within a performance culture, a leader focuses on:
1. Strong people: Those who have the intention, the ability and skills to put their heart, mind and body in action to execute the plan.
2. Working together: Building the credibility to bring people with them, and align them to execute the plan.
3. Understand the customer: In addition to dealing with complex issues, the people in a performance culture engage with the customer to understand their expectations and challenges in order to deliver successful results and minimize the disappointments and frustrations.
A focus on results and performance is essential to organizational growth. It is imperative for a leader to clearly identify the gaps in performance that impact results, and provide both a structure and culture to address the gaps, so as to achieve better-than-expected results. Within today’s highly competitive business environment, status quo shouldn’t be an option. The pressures of performance must be coupled with leadership that influences and supports the people in the organization—to achieve success.
About the Author Bilal Hamade
Executive Coach, Mentor and Change Architect
Bilal is an experienced leader and change architect. Drawing on his success as a CEO, he now translates his passion for driving high performance in both sports and business through the development of strong leaders.
After eight years as CEO of the group consisting of Xerox Emirates, Avis UAE, and Bosch - Home Wide UAE, among other companies, Bilal retired with the objective of investing more time as an advisor to various Boards, venture capital, and the development of leaders through coaching and mentoring. He drove change by partnering with his team and developing leaders to build the right talent capabilities to successfully deliver their company’s strategy and supported significant change initiatives for various projects.
Bilal draws on both his sports training as a Black Belt Dan 4 Karate International player and coach as well as his business leadership success to coach senior and emerging leaders. This unique combination of sports and business excellence gives him a distinctive edge as a coach. The rigor of structures, the need for self-discipline, the ability to perform under pressure and the drive to achieve a personal best, to deliver results that are better than expected, are the core foundations of his work. He instills the values of trust and integrity and recognizes that the key to any future success is people.
As a coach, he helps leaders create a culture for success, with a relentless focus on both on people and results. His work recognizes both the transactional and transformational work of a leader. Bilal draws on his own experiences in sports and business to help leaders implement structures and strategies to achieve their vision. He combines logic, honesty and vision and to help leaders gain clarity about their leadership style, ambitions and directions for future success. His approach is customized to ensure that the actions and learnings complement the vision, values, culture and strategy of the organization of the client.
Bilal holds a degree in Computer Programming & Informatics from BATC College, Beirut, Lebanon in addition to an MBA in Marketing from International University, Missouri, USA. Currently, he is pursuing a Doctorate with Henley Business School – University of Reading, Reading, UK, with a focus on leadership. He is a Black Belt Dan 4 Karate International player, Instructor, coach and country representative. Bilal resides in Canada with his family.
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