Assessing, altering and recognising people’s day-to-day performance levels is my number one priority, and this is doubtless the case for many other large companies. But exactly how does one build and maintain a high performance, inclusive, passionate, multi-generational team?
I believe the seeds of this motivation and passion depend on skillsets, mindsets and structures, three elements that have to combine effectively in order to produce true change.
Our clients are demanding a new way of working and so are our people. That means the services we provide internally and externally must be different. Accounting differently, selling differently and communicating differently require new mobile and digital tools.
Before new tools can be embraced and used, leaders must create a culture of learning. Building this culture needs deliberate attention, time and discipline. Some effective approaches include classroom sessions and e-learning, and structured or unstructured programmes. But learning must be constant, in order to create an understanding of how services need to change and encourage people with genuine curiosity to explore the options.
Through education comes a change in mindset. High performers are naturally drawn to organisations that constantly adapt and change. They embrace this sort of culture and typically don’t see it as a challenge.
Others are less open, but mindsets can be cultivated. Don’t wait for a client to demand change. Create a growth mindset that encourages all of your people to anticipate client needs and offer new ideas.
Creating and keeping a growth mindset is a very time-intensive task. It involves regular assessments and one-to-ones with managers and individuals. It means accreditation of every role to get under the skin of what that role requires. It is very demanding and there can be no excuses for underperformance. But no great achievement comes easily.
With the right attitudes in place, we then have to ask ourselves if our processes are enabling people to get the most out of the work day. This is a challenge. We need to shift systems and data at a remarkable pace to keep up with the demands placed upon us. Legacy IT systems of yesterday are not designed for this task.
The data we need in today’s business ventures is everywhere, in all sorts of formats, which can overwhelm people.
This is why we gather information and content into digital structures and combine them with the paper world. A scrawled brainstorm on a piece of paper must become a shareable document that can be annotated digitally by remote workers, for example. This approach ensures that the right information is accessible to employees.
The performance of your organisation boils down to your ability to keep these three elements – skillsets, mindsets and structure – in line. It’s a lot to do with reviewing ‘the way things have always been done’ and transforming them if necessary.
It’s a job that never ends. But in creating an environment that people want to perform in, it’s certainly worth the investment.
Darren Cassidy is managing director at Xerox UK