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Creating High Performance Organizations

The bottom line of performance is that organization success depends on how well the expectations of key stakeholders are met (customers, investors, employees, suppliers and the public). In the turbulent business environment of the 21st century, creating and sustaining high performance in organizations is a challenge. Consider the fact that only one of the companies making up the original Dow Jones Industrial Average exists today. The average life of companies has become less than the average life span. Technology innovations can enable a competitive advantage or, if not utilized, may make an organization obsolete overnight. The high performing organizations of the future will bear little resemblance to the structures, processes, and systems of the 20th century. Those who master what creates high performance in organizations will have a competitive edge.

Companies like Harley Davidson and Celestica are examples of those who have purposefully designed themselves for high performance. There is a clear operating philosophy that clarifies the underlying beliefs, values, and principles that drive the behavior of the organization. The organization and work systems are designed to align with the operating philosophy. The design considers the social as well as the technical system so that performance meets or exceeds the expectations of all stakeholders. The tasks, structures, information requirements, decision-making, people selection-training issues, and reward systems are designed for high performance recognizing they are all interdependent, and all impact results. The support systems and processes are designed to enable and sustain performance. The design most certainly means the workforce has new roles requiring new skills. Also, leadership is even more critical to success. The selection and development of them becomes extremely important.

The redesign of an existing organization or the start-up of a new one for high performance may include the following issues:

  • Clarifying the organizational pressures and stakeholder expectations

  • Benchmarking high performance organizations, learning about high performance

  • Assessing current organization strengths and weaknesses

  • Creating an organization operating philosophy

  • Identifying key variances in the technical system and people system

  • Designing the work system including jobs, roles, and responsibilities

  • Designing a performance measurement and management plan

  • Designing the enabling support systems

  • Creating a capability building plan: training, development experiences

  • Developing a transition plan to manage the change

  • Providing for continual renewal to ensure adapting to changing environment

Creating high performance designs is a collaborative effort. The best ownership for making it a success comes from a participative design process. After a planning day to establish scope, boundaries, and objectives, a process can be prepared to fit the specifics of the situation.

MASET, LLC    P. O. Box 11663    Chandler, AZ 85248
Phone: 602-721-3680     Fax 480-802-4710


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