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Creating A Results-Oriented, High Performance Success Plan
Lea Strickland, F.O.C.U.S. Resources

By Lea Strickland, CMA CFM CBM
President - F.O.C.U.S. Resources
Lea Strickland 
Guest Columnist Special Feature:
An organization’s culture plays a significant role in the degree of success that is achieved. A results-oriented culture equates to a high performance organization. The ability to define performance and establish specific standards of performance for all levels of the organization, for groups as well as individuals, contributes to the ability of the organization to ask for and get the desired level of results.

If an organization lacks specific strategic objectives, then strategy selection and plans are without a means to measure “success”. Establishing organizational objectives without translating those objectives into performance criteria for subordinate levels leads to a lack of alignment and clear priorities that can be used to unify the decision-making criteria and direction of the organization toward a common purpose.

No single performance measure – at any level of the organization – is sufficient to ensure that the desired outcomes will result. Measures both financial and “soft” are necessary to create a comprehensive snapshot of what the organization has chosen to pursue and is achieving. Typical objectives at both the organization and business unit level include these:
  • Profitability – measured as total profits, return on equity, return on investment, return on total assets, return on sales, operating profit
  • Market share
  • Growth rates in sales and profits
Here are other performance measures which are more operational:
  • Customer satisfaction
  • On-time delivery
  • Quality
  • Uptime
  • Productivity increases
Regardless of the measures selected as the strategic targets/objectives, the organization must be focused on the results the measures represent and not just on undertaking the activities and doing. “Doing” isn’t sufficient – results are required.

An ability to instill a high level of commitment to the strategic success of the organization and all its components creates an atmosphere where there is a constructive pressure to achieve. This pressure to achieve must be accompanied by a culture that mandates “doing the right things” – operationally, financially, ethically, and at all other decision points. Achieving results at any cost, even sacrificing the future to hit today’s targets, is destructive, not constructive, to the overall intent and long-term vision of the organization.

When an organization is able to achieve performance consistently and to reach its desired outcomes, then momentum builds within the organization and beyond. High performance begets high performance. The expectation of the organization becomes success. Each person’s role and the expectation to perform provide motivation and support for moving the organization forward.

High performance and achievement should not be thought of in terms of getting along and being happy, although those elements would provide additional contributions to the culture and results. The organization is looking for consistent results. To achieve consistent results, the organization must have consistent expectations applied across all members of the organization. Rewards and consequences must be applied equitably, consistently, and in a timely manner in order to sustain, motivate, and enforce standards of performance.

One of the most critical elements of results-oriented, high performance is to create champions out of high performers. The reward of recognizing contributions and results recognized is that an environment is created which generates motivation to continue the high performance because of the direct tie between results and reward.

High performance is a combination of culture, clear objectives, resources to achieve the objectives, commitment to the outcomes, and belief that performance/results lead to rewards. It also means that underperformance is addressed and those responsible are moved out of critical positions, possibly the organization itself.

To be successful organizations must have a culture which supports and rewards success. Resources and energies consumed by underachievers and poor performers pull the organization’s total performance down. Morale is significantly impacted when poor performance isn’t addressed. Poor performance means that others in the organization must pick up the slack. If your organization is kept busy picking up the slack, then resources are being overused, misused, or abused. Make the commitment to a results oriented high performance mentality. Walk the walk, talk the talk, and take action.

Copyright © 2006 F.O.C.U.S. Resource, Inc.

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About our Expert:
F.O.C.U.S. Resources founder, Lea Strickland, is a nationally recognized consultant on strategic business issues, both operational and financial. Her expert opinions have appeared in national publications such as Entrepreneur Magazine's Be Your Own Boss and Small Business Technology Magazine. She is also a featured columnist, contributor, and guest expert for publications that include: CarolinaNewswire.com, Business Leader Magazine, North Carolina Career Network Magazine, and North Carolina Journal for Women. Her own publication, The F.O.C.U.S. Resources Newsletter, is read around the world. Companies of all sizes and industries frequently consult Ms. Strickland on issues that include: Strategy Formulation, Strategic Planning, Financial Projections and Budgets, and Growth Issues. For more background information and past articles for CarolinaNewswire.com, check out Lea's Archives as well as all our other guest expert columns

CarolinaNewswire.com provides the thoughts and analysis of this columnist as a free benefit to our readers but without any representations or warranties as to the accuracy or efficacy of such thoughts or analysis. The opionions, analysis, and thoughts expressed here are those of the author only and should not be deemed as medical, legal, financial, tax or other advice from this publication. Readers with such questions should consult a professional.