The conundrum of performance

How CEO’s can drive performance

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Driving Performance

Every CEO and leader wants their organisation to thrive and prosper, but not every organisation does, so what can leaders do to ensure that they drive wholesale improvement in their organisations performance?

Whilst this is an incredibly complicated topic which involves all manner of actions from restructuring the organisation’s finances, recruiting the best ‘talent’ or developing their digital capabilities, I believe there is one action a leader can prioritise above all others to drive wholesale improvement in their organisation’s performance:

Improve how effectively you manage your people


Because your people are your agents of action – they are the ones who are ultimately responsible for identifying and implementing ways to continuously improve both your business model and how well it’s executed. They may conduct some of the actions mentioned above, but they are the starting point.

As we hurtle headlong into the greatest technological revolution ever, where app developers are disrupting the taxi and delivery industry, search engines are building vehicles to disrupt the automotive industry and billion dollar ‘unicorns’ seemingly abound, it is easy to become fixated on the power of technology. However, it is of paramount importance to remember that in the absence of Artificial Intelligence, your people are still the drivers of improvement in your organisation.

They are the ones who need to work with your customers, partners and each other every day to gather information; analyse that information to identify threats or opportunities for your organisation; share that information with relevant parties; assess risks and make effective and informed decisions to evolve and adapt in response to disruption; be creative and innovative to be disruptive; collaborate to implement those decisions; and finally reassess the situation post action to take learning to be applied in the future, all to drive performance improvement. This is what needs to happen to drive performance, but whether any of this actually takes place depends on how willing and able your people are to undertake these actions.

That is the key point – management is about improving how willing and able your people are to give the best of themselves, to drive performance improvement. We all know that people’s willingness and ability can wane significantly depending on the environment people find themselves in. I would imagine that a significant portion of those reading this can draw upon their own experience of how their willingness or ability to undertake actions to drive their organisation’s success has been stymied by the environment they are in, perhaps because of low levels of trust or inspiration, a blame culture, organisational politics or a counterproductive reward system. If you can, then you’re part of the majority – The Gallup State of the Global Workplace Study showed that 87% of the working population is disengaged from their employer and their work, i.e. their willingness to drive performance improvement is either limited or non-existent.

There is a huge opportunity presenting itself here to CEO’s and leaders to improve the performance of their organisations. What it requires is a development of management to move away from command and control, to engagement and empowerment. At APPS, we work with CEO’s and leaders to support them in doing just that by developing and embedding the right behaviours, governance infrastructure and corporate methodologies. By doing so, we weave performance improvement into the very fabric of the organisations thinking, culture and processes at an individual, team and organisational level. I’m not talking about traditional training and development, or process management, this is about re-coding the behaviours of your people and aligning every part of your organisation to support those behaviours, and this extends well beyond the remit of any one department. With our expertise you can deliver real improvement to your organisation’s performance, so if you are a CEO or a leader and you’re reading this, then reach out to us and let’s start a conversation. If you’re an employee and you recognise these issues in your organisation, then put this in front of your CEO, because unless someone takes ownership of this problem in your organisation, this remains no more than a short post on LinkedIn rather than what it could be: A call to arms to end poor management and drive wholesale improvement in your organisation’s performance, for the benefit of the organisation, all of its people and its customers.

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