The Center for High Performance believes that high performance starts with the work environment.
To determine the specific characteristics that are necessary in a high-performance work environment, CfHP conducted a study of more than 3,000 knowledge workers around the world. The study–the largest and most in-depth of its kind–identified a global standard for high performance based on 45 work-environment attributes. Workgroups that scored high on these attributes not only made money for their companies and drove innovation; they also were “talent magnets” for the best and brightest.
Top 10 Findings
- Respondents’ perceptions do not match reality. Asked whether their workgroup is high-performing (does it adapt to changing conditions and consistently exceed performance goals and peer group performance) 77 percent of respondents said “yes.” When asked to provide evidence of the workgroup’s high performance (did it make money for the company and introduce new products, services or processes), only 10 percent could do so.
- Nonperforming workgroups have not necessarily been that way forever. Of those respondents in nonperforming workgroups, 29 percent said that their group used to perform at a higher level than it does today.
- Knowledge workers are primarily using their intellectual capital to increase efficiencies, rather than to focus on creating new products and services. Forty percent of knowledge workers could point to a process improvement that their workgroup was responsible for, compared to only 17 percent who said their group had developed a new product or service.
- The study found a global standard–three characteristics that consistently distinguish high-performing workgroups around the world. They are: valuing people, optimizing critical thinking, and seizing opportunities.
- Even the highest-performing business units have the capacity to do better. In the study, we asked survey participants to rate their workgroups from 0 to 10 on a series of performance measures. On average, those who belonged to high-performing workgroups rated their group’s performance at 7.0; they scored no measure higher than 7.8.
- We were not able to identify a “one-size-fits-all” leadership style in high-performing workgroups. However, the environments that foster high performance are remarkably similar around the world.
- In high-performing workgroups, the leader protects the workgroup from the rest of the organization.
- Respondents in high-performing workgroups are generally not motivated by rewards; however, non-financial recognition rated higher than financial recognition.
- Short-term focus is killing performance. Our research found that members of both high-performing and nonperforming groups feel overworked and at the mercy of short-term goals.
- The behaviors mentioned most frequently in our study that extinguish thinking are micromanaging, hoarding information, and leaders acting in their own self-interest.
Whether your company is rethinking its business strategy, navigating a crisis or poised for significant growth, contact us now to start your high-performance evolution.