"A High Performance Organization (HPO) is an organization that achieves financial and non-financial results that are better than those of its peer group over a period of time of at least five to ten years"
The characteristics of a HPO
Organizational design characteristics
D1. Stimulate cross-functional and cross-organizational collaboration.
D2. Simplify and flatten the organization by reducing boundaries and barriers between and around units.
D3. Foster organization-wide sharing of information, knowledge and best practices.
D4. Constantly realign the business with changing internal and external circumstances.
S1. Define a strong vision that excites and challenges.
S2. Balance long-term focus and short-term focus.
S3. Set clear, ambitious, measurable and achievable goals.
S4. Create clarity and a common understanding of the organization’s direction and strategy
S5. Adopt the strategy that will set the company apart.
S6. Align strategy, goals, and objectives with the demands of the external environment and build robust, resilient and adaptive plans to achieve these.
P1. Design a good and fair reward and incentive structure.
P2. Continuously innovate products, processes and services.
P3. Continuously simplify and improve all the organization’s processes.
P4. Create highly interactive internal communication.
P5. Measure what matters.
P6. Report to everyone financial and non-financial information needed to drive improvement.
P9. Strive for continuous process optimalization.
P8. Strive to be a best practice organization.
P9. Deploy resources effectively.
T1. Implement flexible ICT-systems throughout the organization.
T2. Apply user-friendly ICT-tools to increase usage Leadership characteristics
L1. Maintain and strengthen trust relationships with people on all levels.
L2. Live with integrity and lead by example.
L3. Apply decisive action-focused decision-making.
L4. Coach and facilitate.
L5. Stretch yourselves and your people.
L6. Develop effective, focused and strong leadership.
L7. Allow experiments and mistakes.
L8. Inspire the people to accomplish extraordinary results.
L9. Grow leaders from within.
L10. Stimulate change and improvement.
L11. Assemble a diverse and complementary management team and workforce.
L12. Be committed to the organization for the long haul.
L13. Be confidently humble.
L14. Hold people responsible for results and be decisive about nonperformers.
Individuals & Roles characteristics
I1. Create a learning organization.
I2. Attract exceptional people with a can-do attitude who fit the culture.
I3. Engage and involve the workforce.
I4. Create a safe and secure workplace.
I5. Master the core competencies and be an innovator in them.
I6. Develop people to be resilient and flexible.
I7. Align employee behaviour and values with company values and direction.
C1. Empower people and give them freedom to decide and act.
C2. Establish strong and meaningful core values.
C3. Develop and maintain a performance-driven culture.
C4. Create a culture of transparency, openness and trust.
C5. Create a shared identity and a sense of community.
External orientation characteristics
E1. Continuously strive to enhance customer value creation.
E2. Maintain good and long-term relationships with all stakeholders.
E3. Monitor the environment consequently and respond adequately.
E4. Choose to compete and compare with the best in the market place .
E5. Grow through partnerships and be part of a value creating network.
E6. Only enter new business that complement the company’s strengths.
An analysis of 290 studies into high performance organizations yielded characteristics with regard to the organizational design, structure, processes, technology, leadership, people, and culture, and the external environment which seem to influence the ability of organizations to achieve high performance.
These characteristics can guide managers as to which actions they need to take to lead their organizations to superior results.
Acess to the article: Waal, A.A. de, (2010). The Characteristics of a High Performance Organisation