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Updated 16 Oct 2019


How to create a high performance culture

Start with the basics: Why, how, when and who.


Petra Laranjo, 16 July 2015  Share  0 comments  Print


All the answers to your unique business lifestage questions

“Powerful companies are built when ‘employees care deeply about delivering the best experience to others and represent your brand as it should be represented.As leaders, we should realise that our companies & reputations are only as good as the people we employ.”

 -Ekaterina Walter, Forbes Magazine

In a mass of similar products and service offerings, your people are what differentiate you from your competitors. So the question is: “Are your people aligned with your vision and out-performing your competitor’s work force?” So how do you ensure that you create and nurture a high performance culture?

Related: 5 Tips to create a company culture in a virtual business

Well, it could be as easy as answering these four questions:

1. Why?

What is your why – your purpose, your reason for existing? Being able to answer this is pivotal for business success. (Of course we’re referring to your business specifically now but you can interpret this into your personal life as well.)

This next point may seem obvious but I’ll risk mentioning it any way - get your staff behind your vision. Merely introducing the company’s vision, mission and values during an induction session or sharing it on the intranet will not suffice.

As important as product and system knowledge is, ensuring that your people grasp the bigger picture (your company’s purpose) and resonate with it to their core, is imperative.

Purpose does lend itself to a scope greater than just company profits and shares. If your organisation has a heartbeat versus only a spreadsheet, employees, clients and stakeholders will rally around you and help you grow.

Quick question:What would happen if your employees actually believe in what you do – in what you stand for? Would that change the way in which your company operates? Would it affect profits and growth?

2. How?

Do your staff truly understand the how i.e. how we aim to achieve our purpose - loosely interpreted as the company’s ‘mission statement’.

  • What do we do for our customers
  • What do we do for our employees
  • What do we do for our stakeholders
  • What do we do for the community
  • What do we do for our country / or the world 

Answering the points above gives your how, substance. It conveys the message that you, as a company, are authentic.

3. What?

These are the tools with which you will be able to achieve your goals and mandate. Surprisingly, some business leaders do not equip their staff with the tools needed to be able to offer first class service. This may be in the form of client relationship management training, correct and detailed system training, methodologies, required applications and so forth.

Ever heard the terms, ‘thrown in the deep end’ and ‘sink or swim?’ This perplexes me in the business environment. Why would I, as an employer, not provide the life boat or even a proverbial life jacket to new employees? Are we wanting them to fail? Or are we merely entrusting our organisation to complete strangers by expecting them to just figure things out?

4. When?

Setting timelines and clear deliverables offers focus and structure: Something that employees welcome as it lowers the stress levels caused by the fear of not appearing to be competent.

Goal setting may sound like a tired hack but it’s a fundamental core competency for success and ultimately, results. And isn’t that the point of starting any business – to achieve results personally and for the clients?

Related: 5 Ways to hire someone who’s a cultural fit

High IQ doesn’t necessarily translate into being able to effectively set and manage goals & timelines so don’t assume that staff are proficient in this skill. Invest in up-skilling employees with basic training in these life-skills – your return on investment will be evident shortly after.

And lastly,

Remember that your employees are the drivers of your organisation. Without them, you have no client relationships. Empower your people by answering these questions.

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About the author


Petra Laranjo

Petra Laranjo is a leading speaker and consultant in the personal branding, employee engagement and client relation management arenas. She has just completed her first book titled, ‘Living On Purpose: The Key to Change Your Life and Impact Others.’ Fourteen years of experience across corporate and entertainment industries have offered her a unique perspective in coaching the thousands of individuals in over 60 companies over the years. She has received various nominations including the FNB/ROCCI Business Woman of the Year.

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