Developing High Performance Culture and Training

Training is continuous and related to assignments. A high-performance spirit and raw confidence are cut from the same cloth. Confidence can be defined as the inner security that comes from knowing and knowing that you know.

The role of continuous training is to promote inner security by maintaining preparedness. With the business world changing so rapidly, the high-performance unit must be perpetually updated to remain current, responsive and effective. The training must be related to the task performed. This not only ensures cost effectiveness by being immediately applicable, it adds to the elite feeling by increasing the likelihood of unit success.

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To keep the unit current, team members would be the first to go through any new and relevant in-house training program, and some or all members of the unit might be allowed to sit in on board meetings and other senior-level meetings. Team members could also be required to train each other, and individuals could be given access to elite people: a half day with Peter Drucker, breakfast with Milton Friedman, cocktails with Ralph Nader.

Individuals are given special privileges and considerations unavailable to others. There is a measure of privilege just in the association with a high-performance unit. However, unit pride is also instilled by the recognition shown by people not in the unit.

While people do experience self-pride, pride also comes when we are or have something desired by others. For this to occur, what we are or have must be known by others. Special privileges and considerations communicate the recognition of uniqueness.

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Special privileges are clearly related to rewards a subject covered in the next principle. They are used here to deal more with how individuals are treated than how they are compensated.

To implement this principle, individuals would be required to fly first-class when flying commercially on business activities. Individual team members could be given priority status on the company plane. A special pool of new, high-priced cars with deluxe interiors might be available only for use by the members of the high-performance unit. The team members could wear a special pin or have a desk article recognizable by others.

Reward is directly tied to results, both individually and collectively. The results orientation of a high-performance group necessitates rewards being determined only by the superior accomplishment of the mission. When rewards are automatic or of insignificant criteria (such as seniority or popularity), not only do they lose their appeal as high-energy stimulators, they typically reward the wrong behavior.

In a high-performance unit, the rationale for reward would be clear, fair and impeccably appropriate. The quantity of personal return is commensurate with the quantity of personal investment.

Not only are individuals rewarded, but the team as a whole is compensated for excellence which has the effect of building the interdependence and harmony needed to produce high-level results. All team members would be on a low salary plus commission basis, with team incentive compensation to be used in any manner the team desired.

Automatic membership could be provided in some special club (country club, athletic club, city club, etc.). A clothing allowance, along with a clothing standard, would be utilized.

By Chip Bell. Training Magazine.

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