Business is a performance sport. That was a slogan I read while buying new shoes. I can’t see the relationship between this slogan and shoes, but I do agree with this statement. If business is a performance sport then only the organisations with the best performance will survive. We have seen many non performing organisations bite the dust in the last two years.
How to increase the performance of your organisation? Laurie Bassi, professor of economics at Georgetown University has shown that organisations whose leaders eliminate barriers, provide feedback, inspire confidence, share information and welcome new ideas outperform those that don’t. In comparing the average three-year annual growth rate in income for high versus low sales offices in a major business, Bassi found that growth rate for the higher-scoring offices ranged from 60% to 130% higher than the growth rate for offices with low human resources management scores.
In a study of nearly 1,000 firms, Mark Huselid of Rutgers University found a statistically significant correlation between high-performance work practices and intermediate employee outcomes such as turnover, productivity, and overall corporate financial performance. The factors that impact employee productivity include selection, performance management and appraisal processes, as well as development strategies that include training, coaching and mentoring. Providing employees with tools, resources, direction and support they need to perform at their best are some of the factors that lead to a high-performance work environment.
Analysis by The Ken Blanchard Companies shows that the average organisations is forfeited over $ 1 million a year in untapped potential because of less than optimal leadership practices. In a recent article ‘How extraordinary Leaders double Profits’ authors Jack Zenger, Joe Folkman and Scott K. Edinger make the extraordinary claim that there is enormous potential for organisations to improve their bottom lines by developing leaders who, for example inspire people to perform at higher levels and who can recognise and remove obstacles to employee productivity. In fact their research shows that good leaders can double profits.
In a large survey of 1,300 private companies conducted by Proudfoot Consulting in 2002, conducted with companies from seven of the world’s leading economies, Proudfoot found that on average, only 59% of the work time is productive. What gets in the way of higher employee productivity? According to Proudfoot there are three major causes:
- Insufficient planning and control (43%)
- Inadequate management (23%)
- Poor working morale (12%)
Tor Dahl, member of the Board of Directors for the American Productivity and Quality Center explains: ‘Although most people are working very hard these days, we have found that each individual in an organisation can still increase productivity by at least 30%. How can that be? The answer lies in the fact that most workers often of no fault of their own, are not working on the right things in the right way. The culprits are a variety of organisational ‘ills’ including lack of clear direction and goals, sub optimised processes, excessive paperwork and reporting requirements, unproductive meetings, inappropriate systems and tools.
Business is a performance sport! This is a serious wake up call for all managers and executives. No organisation can afford at any time but certainly not in today’s circumstances to miss around 30% of their productivity. Look at your own organisation and review the missed opportunities to seriously improve your organisations output, performance and future.