366 | Beyond the Performance Culture

Many leaders believe the nirvana of business is a performance culture. They focus on the need to create results and that is usually a focus on the measurement of profits, revenue, inventory, cash flow, etc. However, a performance culture puts pressure on employees to meet the performance over and over again. This is what happens in big corporations that are focused on performance more than the people. Today, I share with you what is beyond performance and why you want to create what I call a growth culture. Discover how to go beyond a performance culture to create a culture that is focused on employees more than the numbers.

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Beyond the Performance Culture: The Transcript

I want you to imagine for a moment here you’re in that same meeting you always have, the same people are in the room and it’s the same room, it’s the same energy level and you’re there to talk about the performance of the company. I’ve been in this room before many, many, many times and I’ve been the leader of the room, I’ve also been a team player inside these conversations where we sit down and talk about the performance of the company, we sit down and talk about the numbers. What are the most critical elements of this?

There’s always someone assigned to give us the numbers and we sit down and take that in and then we actually discuss how do we move this forward, how do we move the needle?

Now, those numbers are very important to your growth and many times that is really why you’re growing is ’cause you’re watching over the numbers. What measured gets grow, what gets measured gets grows, I know I messed that up but I don’t know who said it, it’s a very smart saying but here’s the problem, if you treat your business solely based on the numbers, the people in the business begin to feel like cogs in a wheel. I know you don’t want them to feel like cogs in a wheel or be commodities inside the workplace because if you really truly care about your company, then you’re gonna really truly care about the people in there and you care about how they feel about their work because I’ve said this many times before, it’s not about getting them to do the work, it’s about getting them to want to do the work. If you have the kind of business where people show up engaged in what they’re doing and looking for ways to go beyond the status quo and innovate and really think of new ways to do it because things are always changing, right, you know that and you feel that as a leader, things are always changing so if you had your people that were one step ahead of that change, how would that feel?

And before we dive into this, my name’s Gene Hammett, I work and study hypergrowth companies, the Inc. 5000 specifically and I help them understand how to navigate the chaos of hypergrowth but also how to channel it and really focus on what’s most important and a lot of people ask me this question is how do we get more performance out of our team? And I always smile because I know that when you focus on the performance only that people start to feel like they don’t matter as much as the numbers and they don’t feel like they measure up and that is not where you want to be, you want your people to feel like you care about them, about their own growth.

So one thing that I want you to think about here and if you’re familiar with a vendi diagram, I want you to think about in one of the circles of a three circles that are overlapping, with that center kind of triangle in the middle, it’s very triangle-esque but if you draw that out on a piece of paper and you labeled one of those circles performance and you said this is what we want to achieve, these are the key things we’re measuring in our company, that’s where you typically put most of your attention but you really want to also look at the other two circles which the first one outside of performance is team. So maybe right beside it you write down the word team and those people want something completely different out of the experience of working with you.

Now your job as a company is to find that overlap and the alignment and the overlap sum. Right, you’ve got that little overlap there but then you also have the leader. Leader’s the third piece of this so there are three circles, you’re gonna have performance, team and leader and the leader’s you. If you’re listening to this and you’re leading a team or you are the owner of the business and you have a small team or you have a big team, it doesn’t matter, you have to interact with the performance metrics and also the team. Now the problem is if you put too much emphasis on the performance, you won’t get the team to rise to the occasion like you want them to and so that’s a performance culture. It may sound like that’s a really good thing but what I want you to think about, what would a growth culture be inside your organization? Maybe you’ve heard me talk about it, maybe you’ve heard me write about it for Inc. Magazine.

You can get the latest articles at genehammett.com/inc and you can catch up on some of the things I’ve been writing about there but very specifically, I want you to think about this vendi diagram being kind of old, a little bit stale, it’s kind of status quo if you will so what do we want to do instead? Well you want the leader to pour into the team. You want to put employees first. If you missed last week’s hypergrowth tip then you’re gonna go back to that and see what I said about customer first and employee first but for now, imagine if you as a leader put more emphasis on the team growing, their skills growing, their confidence growing, their ability to take risk is growing and they’re feeling like owners inside the company, they own their work and the client experience.

That is the key to higher performance so the funny thing about getting more performance is it’s really not about focusing on the numbers, it’s about focusing on the people, growing the people so that the people will take care of your numbers for you. All right, if you want to know more about what I’m doing with this and you want to start with the culture or you want to get the latest innovation of the culture scorecard, did I say that right?

The growth culture scorecard, you want to go to genehammett.com/culture and you can download this short little one pager, allow you to give yourself a score, see where you stand and that will tell you where you want to work on to improve your culture and bring it more to growth like. All of this research comes from my conversations with Inc. 5000, the fastest growing companies out in the marketplace, privately held, and I love doing this work because I can report back to you what’s working, what I’m seeing and help you grow your business.

My name’s Gene Hammett, I help companies that want to be growth, want to make the Inc. 5000, continue to make it year after year to do it because they have put intention on their leadership and their culture. If you have any questions about that, make sure you reach out to me at [email protected] and as always, lead with courage and I’ll talk to you next time.



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