How to deliver High Performance through Engagement (HPtE)

Many organisations throughout the world have adopted a high performance through engagement approach of some kind. Each have customised it to make it their own. That is how it should be.

High performance through engagement comes with many names.  It is called High Performance through Engagement (HPtE), High Performance Engagement (HPE), High Performance High Engagement (HPHE), Workplace Productivity, SUCCESS Framework, Labour Management Partnership (LMP) and Deliberately Developmental Organisations (DDO), to name just a few. Many initiatives have no names at all.

In New Zealand organisations like Air New Zealand, Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, Department of Corrections, States Services Commission, Christchurch Engine Centre, Department of Conservation, NZ Post, KiwiRail, Auckland Council, District Health Boards and the Ministry of Health have explored or are implementing some form of High Performance through Engagement initiative.

Internationally, organisations like Thomas Cook Airlines, Utah Governors Office of Management and Budget, GE, Kaiser Permanente, Southwest Airlines, Pratt and Whitney and many others have explored or practice some form of high performance through engagement. It was even practiced back in 1939 at American Lead Pencil Company.

Regardless of what it is called and who is delivering it the hard bit is working out how to do it.

The HPtE Strategy™ Framework was researched and created to introduce, explain and help implement a High Performance through Engagement initiative. It is a framework to talk about High Performance through Engagement with CEO’s, Senior Leaders, HR Teams, Union Leaders, Consultants, Practitioners and, most importantly, the people that do the work.

The framework helps us to see the system of work and discover the hidden opportunities within our organisations. It helps us to identify and explore the fundamental principles, mantras and ideas that will make that system of work better for everyone.

Having spent over two decades helping my client’s add value to their employment relationships I want to share from my experience and teach others what I have learnt.

There is still much more left to discover. That is why the comments are there – so we can talk and share and debate and learn. Together we can achieve more.

The goal – to build better working relationships.

My name is Karl Perry. Thank you for the opportunity to be of service. Will you join us?

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P.s. Here is a link to the first post that begins to explain the framework: Sustainable high performance – It’s Not Luck (HPtE #1)

What to change to and how? (HPtE #12)

Wouldn’t it be great if we could get synergy between achieving financial outcomes, continuous improvement of value for consumers and a constructive culture?

An HPtE Strategy™ assists people to seek out improvement opportunities, strengthen peoples ability to solve problems when a conflict occurs, all the while helping to build positive relationships between people. This saves time and money.

It is a path to sustainable high performance.

But, an HPtE Strategy™ is a big commitment.

Many organisations have already recognised the need to find a synergy between the 3C’s and have developed their strategy around it.  This is certainly a great step in the right direction and those who have invested in it have reaped the rewards.  While the benefits are big, sustaining the effort and focus takes a great deal of effort.  The pressure to compete for time and money erodes the impact of the effort put in and the transformation will slow or stagnate.  Sometimes it will regress.

If you have ever seen an organisation whose leadership changes focus to just one or two of the C’s you will have witnessed the stagnation or regression.

An HPtE Strategy™ takes engagement and culture to a new level that is less influenced by a change in any one leader.

This is achieved through a mix of focus, structural, process, system and leadership style changes.

It would not be judicial to enter into such an approach without first testing it within your organisation.  Before committing to an HPtE Strategy™ a Proof of Concept Project is recommended.

But, before you even get to a proof of concept, organisational leadership must answer four important questions:

  1. Why Change? Is sustainable high performance really the goal or do we have a more short term focus?
  2. What to change? We have already described the endless cycle that erodes Commercial Responsibility, Consumer Value and Culture.
  3. What to change to? We have already described the reverse of the cycle.
  4. How to change? That is the focus of the #HPtE series from here on in.

As a starting point, an HPtE Strategy™ is an injection into the business system to address the competition and conflict caused by a localised focus on one of the necessary conditions (The 3C’s). It addresses the assumption that The 3C’s are mutually exclusive of each other.

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The impact of conflict in an organisation (HPtE #11)

In order to achieve sustainable high performance an organisation must achieve three necessary conditions:

  • Commercial Responsibility
  • Consumer Value
  • Constructive Culture

“Tell me how you measure me and I will tell you how I will behave. If you measure me in an illogical way … do not complain about illogical behaviour”.

Eliyahu Goldratt

In his paper about the “Balanced Scorecard and Theory of Constraints: A synergistic framework” Dr Mahesh Gupta provides a summary of the traditional metrics used to drive organisational performance.

Traditionally, Commercial Responsibility has been the sole interest of shareholders. More specifically there is an attempt to answer “How do shareholders view the organisation?” To deliver on Commercial Responsibility leadership focuses on cost-based strategies.  Key components of cost-based leadership strategies might include constructing efficient- scale facilities, emphasizing operating efficiency, and vigorously controlling and reducing costs and overhead.  The most common financial measures may include net profit, return-on-investment, and cash flows.

When performance drops in a cost based environment the pressure to compete for money goes up, the conflict increases and the behaviour becomes more defensive. This becomes a vicious cycle.

Traditionally, Consumer Value has been the interest of operations management and consumers.  More specifically there is an attempt to answer “How do consumers view the organisation?”  This usually involves retention related measures such as quality, flexibility, work in progress and on-time performance. The increasing Agile, Six Sigma and TOC based initiatives in the past few decades demonstrates an increasing realisation of the importance of consumer focus and customer satisfaction.  Poor performance from this perspective is seen as a leading indicator of future decline in profitability.

When performance drops in a consumer-focused environment the pressure to compete for time goes up, the conflict increases and the behaviour becomes more defensive.  This becomes a vicious cycle.

The conflict is compounded when a consumer focus is attempted in a cost-based environment because now we have increasing competition for both time and money.

Traditionally, Culture was ignored. In the main, this was because it was perceived to be difficult to measure. Human Synergistics International are global leaders in culture assessment. Their Circumplex model describes “Flight” based behaviours as Passive Defensive (green on the circumplex) and “Fight” based behaviours as Aggressive Defensive (red on the circumplex).

Left unchecked the impact of competing for time and money causes a Passive/Aggressive culture and reinforces the cycle of poor performance.

This is not an environment where sustainable high performance can exist.

Now that we understand the current reality and challenge of achieving high performance we can begin to explore what and how to change.

To deliver sustainable high performance we need “a whole of organisation strategy that deliberately creates a Culture of collaboration, innovation, confidence and achievement in order to improve Consumer Value while being Commercially Responsible.

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To read the whole series click here: HPtE Strategy™ Framework