This  weekend is the London Marathon, and hearing about it in the news has made me think about a project I’m really enjoying working on with a global organisation who have been playing with the difference between a marathon and a sprint.  Having worked hard to deliver revenue and profitability, their strong desire to ensure that this level of high performance is sustainable in the long term has resulted in the development of a new Leadership Programme.  With a firm focus on how people can be at their best over the long term rather than burn out through short term priorities, demand for a place on the programme is high.

The programme was developed with a key assumption in mind:  everyone is an individual who needs to be heard, understood and motivated based on what is important to them.  Supporting leaders to develop the skills to master relationships with people and really get close to their teams will help to deliver an organisation of motivated and engaged employees, satisfied customers and long term organisational and individual health.

In creating the programme, we identified three critical drivers to help managers:

  • Create a clear line of sight between the purpose of the organisation, what motivates and inspires individuals and helps them to go the extra few miles.  Asking people to link their own values to that of the business creates a powerful connection.  We’ve had a lot of fun encouraging leaders to create motivational stories linking team tasks and objectives with the goals of the wider organisation.   When told with passion, these stories often helped to create that light-bulb moment for employees – when it all began to make sense!
  • Understand what makes individuals in your team tick, and learn to read the signs when things change for them.  This is about really listening to people, seeing them for who they are and responding to them.  We call this a core part of relationship mastery.
  • Provide straight talking feedback.  Let people know regularly when they are doing good work and what makes it good – also ensure that when they are not working well you give them that feedback again in a straight-forward way with clear line of sight to what good looks like.

I am sure you could all think of a long list of key drivers that would help organisations to create a sustainable high performance culture.  For me, I believe if we get these three things right – we are well on our way to achieving it.   I would be very interested to hear what your top 3 would be.