In June 2022, the South African Women's soccer team won their first Women's Africa Cup of Nations. When one of the players was interviewed, she stated, “This was our goal. We as a team decided this is where we want to be, and we want to win it for South Africa." This response certainly highlights one of the attributes of high performing teams. High performing teams however do not exist outside the culture and the environment in which they operate. Organisations need to create environments that cultivate high performance.
What makes a high performance culture
Culture can be simply defined as "the way we do things". How an organisation does things is what defines its culture. Culture also refers to a composition of values, beliefs, attitudes and customs that define an organisation, it is the personality of the organisation.
Most high performing teams can be characterised in one of the following ways:
How to create a high performance culture
Encourage Open, Honest and Respectful Communication
A critical aspect to creating and nurturing a high performance culture is open and clear communication. Communication comes in many ways, but starts from clearly communicating the vision of the organisation to all levels of the organisation. It also includes opening up opportunities to receive feedback and to provide ongoing feedback.
Align personal purpose to the organisation's purpose
For an organisation to create a high performance culture, its employees need to know and see how their personal purpose and vision are connected to those of the organisation. When employees and teams are clear on how their own purpose is aligned to that of the organisation, they become more proactive, engaged and productive.
Create a culture of inclusivity
Every employee need to know that the organisation they work for values their individuality. Employees spend most of their time in their workplaces, hence organisations must strive to create inclusive cultures. Belonging has become an important factor for employees in deciding whether or not to stay within an organisation. Organisations can reduce high employee turnover rates through enabling and creating a culture of inclusivity.
Define Clear Roles and Responsibilities
Alignment to the vision of the organisations is an important step in creating a high performing culture. However, alignment alone will not achieve the desired outcome. Each employee within the organisation needs to be clear on their roles and responsibilities, and how these impact on the bigger picture of the organisation, on their own goals, as well as those of the teams within which they operate.
Encourage Innovation, Celebrate successes and recognise contributions
To cultivate high performance culture, organisations need to encourage their employees to bravely innovate. This means creating a safe space for new ideas to be tabled and tested, for mistakes to be made without being penalised. Organisations however need to effectively balance this, through celebrating the successes, but also learning from some of the mistakes made.
A high performance culture is not easy to create, but has many benefits. Organisations can benefit from an engaged, motivated and inspired workforce, resulting in positive results for the organisation. Consult with us to find out more about how your organisation can cultivate a high performing culture.