Sunday, September 6, 2015

Creating a Performance Culture: What Not To Do

This blog post is in response to August 2015 ASQ Influential Voices topic "Creating a Performance Culture: What Not To Do" written by James Lawther.

From the U. S. Baldrige perspective, enterprise-wide performance excellence is key to sustainable growth and prosperity. This sounds nice on paper, however to achieve performance excellence it calls for enlightened leadership. When leaders surround themselves with competent and positive attitude associates, a journey of sustainable transformation begins. 

According Prof. Emeritus John P. Kotter from Harvard Business School (Change Management Guru), there is a Eight-Stage Process of Transformation Journey ("Leading Change" 2nd Edition, Harvard Business Review Press, Boston, MA, 2012). 

The Eight Stages of Transformation are:   

  1. Establishing a Sense of Urgency
  2. Creating the Guiding Coalition
  3. Developing a Vision and Strategy
  4. Communicating the Change Vision
  5. Empowering Employees for Broad-Based Action
  6. Generating Short-Term Wins
  7. Consolidating Gains and Producing More Change
  8. Anchoring New Approaches in the Culture 
In the eighth stage, he suggests that a new culture will emerge which needs to be weaved into new corporate style encompassing leadership development and succession planning.

Here are some Don'ts for building a Performance Culture for a Sustainable Transformation:
  1. Do not launch a change initiative without establishing a sense of urgency which leads to too much complacency.
  2. Do not to proceed until you have a powerful guiding coalition (team) consisting of leaders at all levels.
  3. Do not create complicated or blurry Vision of Change to be useful. Need a clear and compelling statement to be effective.
  4. Do not under-communicate the change vision. Need credible communication, and a lot of it to engage hearts and minds of employees.
  5. Do not permit obstacles to block the new change vision. Need to change organizational structure and/or performance-appraisal systems for employees to take actions.
  6. Do not hope for short-term wins (passive), but must create compelling evidence (active) within six to eight months that the journey is producing expected results.
  7. Do not declare victory too soon. For the entire company it may take three to ten years to sink changes deeply into the culture.
  8. Do not neglect to anchor changes firmly in the corporate culture. Reinforce specific behaviors and attitudes that helped improve performance. May require reshaping promotion criteria and succession planning.
I look forward to your views to build a performance culture.


    IT is my humble submission- may not be taken as forceful comments
    When we start the word WHAT NOT TO DO
    From the practical experience of my 40 years in the industries, we always wish to see a better future, a growth or simple one word PROGRESS
    I BELIEVE that we start with a positive start and make sure that with our expert team success is at our doors step and we are bound to achieve it and that is for sure its full utilization and correct implementation
    We all must start any good approach with a view to achieve it and making sure that it works with the system and result into success.
    Hope I need not to add more justification as it is just a quality thought comes to my mind and expressed
    With all congratulations to you for your valuable post and my best wishes


    1. Parmodji, thanks for sharing your views. My blog post is in direct response to a Guest Blog written for ASQ Influential Voices. Hence, I had to respond to the topic "Creating a Performance Culture: What Not To Do", All the best. Manu

    2. Manu, I salute your efforts to make this process change more effective. We have had many lists of what to do over the years, but company leaders have not been very successful at implementing culture changes. A list of what not to do can be a useful aid towards making more effective changes.

      Bob Colby

      You have hit upon some key points. Leadership may have a clear plan, but it often does not get communicated to everyone, making the plan less effective. Also, senior leadership usually does not have expectations set correctly about how long changes will take.

      Let me a comment of my own. Quality is not a separate piece of the puzzle. It needs to be fully integrated into the business plan. Too often leaders get tunnel vision on process change, totally focusing around the how (process) and not the what (product). For example, I may be able to build the world's best cassette tape player, but if I have lost sight of the fact that people don't really want cassette players any longer, these changes have been of little value.

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