Contrary to common belief, high performance organizations have discovered that less is indeed more! Let me go on to explain what I mean.
In the world of business, but perhaps not confined to the business world, there is the culture of getting more and more, going faster and faster, working longer hours, cramming as many meetings as possible in order to achieve better results. Technology, for all that it is wonderful, can contribute to this spiral – we get more information, quicker, are always available and can be contacted anywhere, anytime. This can lead to total overwhelm and exhaustion.
The common belief is that if you want to be one of the high performance organizations in your sector, then this is simply the way you have to work. I come across this so many times, either when carrying out one to one executive coaching or working with high performance teams.
High performance organizations have discovered that this is not the case. Let me explain.
You see what we have discovered is that there is a huge price for this “more and more, faster and faster” culture. There is less time to think and plan, you are always rushing to finish the task you are doing to get on to the next one, so the quality dips and you spend less time than you should developing the skills of those around you. On top of all of that, when you go home, you are exhausted, the quality of your family time is poor, your stress levels negatively impact on your sleep, and the result is that you go back to work the next day in pretty poor shape.
What a vicious cycle – and a very unproductive one. And, most definitely not conducive to creating high performance organizations. Of course, there are the stars that perform at a high level in these organizations, but there is a high price in terms of long term satisfaction and engagement for these people too. My experience as an Executive Coach confirms that many high performers know they cannot continue in this sort of environment. They know that the drive for more and more will lead to less and less, and eventual burnout for them.
The consultants, Tower Perrins, did some research – and it was before all the economic doom and gloom, so this was not an influencing factor – and they discovered some really interesting information that supports the view that less is more.
The research covered 90,000 employees in 18 different countries and the results are fascinating. Only 20% said they felt fully engaged, or in other words, would go above and beyond the call of duty because they were passionate about their work and the company they worked for. 40% said they were “enrolled” which was a nice way of saying “ I turn up but I am not committed”. 38% said they were disenchanted or disengaged.
“Interesting” I hear you say, but does that have an impact on the bottom line? You bet your life it does! And high performance organizations know it!
The same research went on to measure the impact on bottom line, and the results were astounding. Those with the most engaged staff enjoyed a 19% increase in their income, and a 28% increase in their share price. The companies with the lower levels of engagement suffered 32% decline in income, and their share price dropped more than 11%.
To further emphasize the point, Tower Perrins also found that 90% of engaged staff have no intention of leaving, while 50% of less engaged employees were seriously thinking about leaving. We all know that this also affects bottom line.
So, true high performance organizations are not the “more and more, faster and faster” brigades. They recognize that less is more in the long term. Also, remember that while all of this is true for organizations, it is also true at an individual level. So, if the cap fits, wear it!
So, do a rain check on your organization – what is your culture? You know you can change – we have worked with many who have and they have seen the benefits and have joined the high performance organizations version of the Champions League!