The Performance Organization

The problem with management science is that there invariable remains a tension between the logical business needs, as described by KPIs (including financial results) and the latest fad in HR-oriented models (from Mazslo to the Leadership Pipeline). The problem is that the two approaches never seem to meet where it matters, in the Board room. Even the so-dubbed ‘High Performance Organization’ (HPO) Model is principally an HR assortment of 5 goodies put in one box: these include employee engagement, self-directing teams, integrated production technology, organisational learning and Total Quality Management. Shouldn’t there be something more acceptable to Directors that incorporates the measurable people-performance benifits AND the business management in one package. Enter the founding principle of TPO – The Performance Organization! The problem for many businesses is that shareholders can be easily satisfied in any given period by one successful business deal. Lords Weinstock and White made an artform out of take-over, asset-stripping and disposal. They made countless millions for themselves and for shareholders but their business models had no consideration for the suffering of staff and families. It is easy to see why so many managements consider HR to be simply a ‘necessary activity’; why just one Director is allocated to take care of HR as a remote interest; why thehre is rarely a proper intergration of a believable HR model into the Corporate Business Objectives. Until now, HR is thought of a cost-centre and generates nothing quantifiable for the bottom line. The fads and tick-box activity of many HR departments has helped reduce their stock (from Board members to the front-line) to abyssmally low popularity ratings – often less than the long-suffering IT department. How can we change this scenario?

I do not know all the answers but some should be obvious:

  • Benchmark behavioural characteristics that we know make a difference to the business KPIs
  • Strategically-support and develop those characteristics among staff to objective levels (and work out a ROI value for that change)
  • Measure the difference when the program is finished.

Sure, we need to do some applied research to help quantify the financial benefits of certain human behaviours/performance in different organisational/business sectors. But we already know enough about the rest to make a good stab at setting out a cohesive TPO model that will impact favourably in any organization where human endeavour is capable of making a bigger difference to the financial results than the strategic business development. Let’s put a team of academics and organisational HR Directors together to evolve this? Who wants to help form TPO? I’m in.


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