September 5, 2018 by Siobhan Climer
Everyone knows the companies that are doing it right. Their employees advocate on behalf of the organization, recruiting top-notch talent is a breeze, and employee output is exceptional. But how do companies create a high-performance culture?
Mark Griesbaum, Managing Partner of Affinity4You and SIM Board of Directors’ Trustee, explored this very question at Mindsight’s 8th Annual Technology Roadmap Conference on September 27, 2018 in Downers Grove, IL. Find out what he talked about by reading more below.
Skills Vs. Growth
How many job descriptions have you looked at that contain a seemingly endless list of required skills? As an example:
Small start-up seeks Yale-trained ornithologist and spy extraordinaire. Must be fluent in Danish and skilled at traditional Irish dancing. Must have minimum 15 years of experience in business or high-technology environment. Salary: 30K.
Hyperbolic? Perhaps. But it’s not far from the reality. The trouble is recruiters and employers make the reasonable assumption that they should hire the person who is ideally skilled for a position.
Skills are important, yes, but skills can also be learned. When people start a new position, they grow, they develop, they bring their diverse experiences and help the role adapt for changes across the globe. That’s important, too. If you are hiring for a computer programmer position, it would be great if the candidate knew Java, MS .Net, PL/SQL, ABAP, J2EE, Salesforce, Mulesoft, Tibco, and – why not – Informatica. But finding someone who has every one of those skills isn’t likely – nor is it what you really want.
The key is not to necessarily hire someone who has every skill under the sun; instead, you want to hire someone who can learn. The truth is you probably won’t be doing things the same way next year – next month – next week. Things change, and you want employees who can change with you. To create a high-performance culture, you need people who want to be part of the journey.
Leaders Model High-Performance Culture
A true leader doesn’t excel at every aspect of a company’s work. As Mindsight CEO Ed Kapelinski stated in a recent interview, “The mix of different strengths on our team means that we have a unique perspective that can get to the bottom of almost any technological challenge.” Leaders surround themselves with people who are different, who have different strengths and can offer perspective. Leaders provide the vision; the team makes that vision reality. The vision offered by leadership drives employee action. It forms the dreams with which employees feed their output; it sets expectations for purpose and value; and it gives the push needed to enact change.
Leaders create a high-performance culture by modeling a growth mindset that teaches, learns, and develops with everyone else. People like challenges that teach them new skills. Leaders can provide the impetus for this change by showing their employees what that looks like. If a company wants to create a high-performance culture, it must start at the top.
Everyone Needs A Partner
Loneliness in the U.S. is a growing trend; a recent study by Cigna showed an alarmingly-high loneliness score among Americans. Doing it on your own is a prevalent mantra – nor is it new. “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps” is just another way of saying “I can do it on my own.”
To create a high-performance culture, you’ll need to drop the independent streak and ask for help. People are the key ingredient to culture. You need people to share the company’s vision. You need people to care and want your business to do well, not just so they have an income next year, but because they believe in the work that you do. Working with your internal and external partners is vital for driving this relationship. Think of every partnership as a people-based team. Focus on the team’s strengths and drive everyone to the goalpost.
5 Generations, 4 Types of People: Create A High-Performance Culture
People are working longer, and that means up to five generations can be wedged into the same office space. Each generation has its own internal culture, expectations, beliefs, values, and rules. (How many Millennials Want This or Baby Boomers Did This articles have you read lately?) Working with so many generations requires an adherence to a transparent set of criteria that identify success in the workplace.
According to Mark Griesbaum, there are four types of people in the world.
- Those who make things happen
- Those to whom things happen
- Those who watch things happen
- Those who don’t even know things are happening
Which one are you? Understanding how you and your team fit into each of these categories is integral to understanding team dynamics, which in turn fuel workplace culture.
It isn’t easy to create a high-performance culture. In fact, “creating culture” seems a poor way to phrase the task at hand. You build culture through hard work, critical analysis, self-reflection, internal and external partnerships, mission and vision creation, an earnest desire to make that vision reality, and – of course – people.
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About The Author
Siobhan Climer, Science and Technology Writer for Mindsight, writes about technology trends in education, healthcare, and business. She previously taught STEM programs in elementary classrooms and museums, and writes extensively about cybersecurity, disaster recovery, cloud services, backups, data storage, network infrastructure, and the contact center. When she’s not writing tech, she’s writing fantasy, gardening, and exploring the world with her twin two-year old daughters. Find her on twitter @techtalksio.