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Leaders Drive Productivity. Are you building a High Performance Environment?

Leaders Drive Productivity. Are you building a High Performance Environment?

It is the Leaders challenge to create the circumstances that stimulate improved performance and execution from the people within their organization. The key question for business leaders is not “why” high performance but rather “how”?

Whether it is maintaining the prestige of a great artistic institution, creating elite military capability or succeeding in business it comes down to leaders’ ability to stimulate performance. While an ineffective leader can render useless an entire organization, effective leaders in business improve the performance of their people just like a great coach improves the performance of an athlete.


Improved business performance is a factor of better strategy execution through improving individual performance contribution. So leaders can ensure performance improvement by creating and maintaining high performance environment. A high performance environment can be defined as an environment that stimulates the individuals within that context to improve their performance. The Olympic Games are an example of a high performance environment.

High performance management matters because it provides better results.

The high performance environment structure/HPES has been developed by Elkeim as a result of 16 years of investigation of the environmental circumstances that stimulate improved performance in human populations. It describes the common elements of high performance environments.

These elements include concepts addressing direction – achievement, failure and strategy, concepts that provide status of the current level of performance – measurement and exposure systems, and concepts addressing motivation which include reason/purpose plus reward and consequence. The final unifying element is labelled “The Way” and is a description of culture/values or guiding philosophy in an environment.

The key to building a high performance environment in organizations is clarity and effectiveness.

Not only does an environment need concepts defining direction, performance status and motivation, those concepts must be clear and effective if performance outcome is desired. This issue, a lack of clarity & effectiveness in one, some or all of the nine components of the HPES, is the cause of many of the problems with driving improved execution and enhanced productivity in business today.

The Steps to Building High Performance:

  • Manage for 2 outcomes — achievement & failure
  • Unify & align organization on key objectives and strategy
  • Define clearly what represents failure (low performance)
  • Improve the perceived quality of individual performance measures — no hiding places
  • Ensure the population has strong reasons to remain with the organisation
  • Maintain a narrow range of acceptable performance standards
  • Ensure the high performers are perceived to be receiving the greater share of available rewards
  • Improve the effectiveness of dealing with low performers
  • Pursue higher quality comparisons — ensure you are comparing yourself to something better than yourself
Paul Limbrey
President, Elkiem
Erik Berggren
Senior Director of Customer
Results & Global Research
Andrew Meikle
CEO, Elkiem