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High Performance Habits: Better Business Starts with Workplace Culture

Chris Dyer, bestselling author and #1 ranked leadership speaker, walks us through building high performance habits through the trusted seven key pillars of better businesses.

In today’s fast-paced business landscape, where competition is fierce and change is constant, companies are driven to pursue high-performance cultures like never before. But it’s not as easy as it sounds. 

From startups to Fortune 500 companies, leaders struggle with how to instill values, behaviors, and norms that propel their teams towards peak performance. In this quest for excellence, companies often get it wrong. They work on building high performance work systems, but forget to address the root of the issue. 

You see, it all comes down to organizational culture. A business’ culture can either bolster or destroy their success. For many leaders, culture has always been viewed as an art and not a science. 

But culture is not some intangible, unreachable ideal. It is actually rooted in the infrastructure built by your business: the policies and programs.

After years of managing thousands as the CEO of a leading human capital business and working with organizations like Citibank, Johnson & Johnson, NASA, and Berkshire Hathaway, I have finally cracked the code. 

I’ve discovered there are seven proven ways to scale workplace culture and normalize behavior that builds high performance habits, leading to the high performance culture many companies seek. 

People over Profit

Companies trying to develop better high performance work systems are often after better results. But, high performance cultures are not results-driven. They must be built on more than just profit and performance. 

They need to be people-driven. 

The focus should be on building a positive workplace driven by your company’s core values. That may seem counterintuitive, but the research supports this method. It shows that people-driven organizational cultures lead to high performance habits. Companies with positive workplace culture have higher annual returns.[1] 

Although profit may be the end goal, you need to focus on a people over profit approach if you want a sustainable high performance culture that drives real results. 

Building a High Performance Culture

Business culture is not an art; it is a science. When leaders harness the science behind high-performing culture they feel empowered to create and lead through meaningful change. No longer will they believe culture is some abstract nefarious concept. 

Instead, every leader will know how to cultivate it, lead with it, and harness the power of company culture while increasing performance, productivity, and profits.

I have taken the seven proven ways to scale workplace culture and normalize behavior that builds high performance habits and developed the 7 Pillars of Amazing Company Culture:

Pillar 1: Transparency

When it comes to high performance culture, transparency is key. It is all about fostering open communication and visibility in decision-making processes. When employees can see how their work fits into the bigger picture, it sparks engagement and motivation like nothing else. 

It is up to your company to decide where to draw the line, but giving employees and stakeholders a clearer picture of the business and its success and failures, can be the foundation for a stronger company. 

Pillar 2: Listening

Transparency in the workplace leads to better communication across teams and departments. You can continue to foster that communication by listening. 

Actively seek feedback from employees at every level. When employees feel heard and valued, they’re more inclined to give it their all, leading to better results. 

This openness can often lead to greater transparency from the employees themselves, further cultivating pillar one. 

Pillar 3: Positivity

We’ve already established the effects a positive workplace culture can have on results. This pillar further clarifies the need to focus on people over profit. 

People spend nearly a third of their lives at work. They need to enjoy it or their mental health—and performance—will suffer. When businesses foster a positive culture, it not only increases productivity but reduces turnover rates.[2]

Research shows that companies with positive organizational cultures often yield higher than average returns.[3]

This isn’t some silly “happy employees, happy company” philosophy. It is a research-backed concept. Ultimately, the behaviors exhibited by employees are deeply influenced by the collective beliefs and values upheld within the organization. 

If you want to develop high performance work systems that naturally build high performance habits, then you need to focus on creating a positive work environment. 

Pillar 4: Uniqueness

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) policies can do more than attract top talent, they can improve company culture and yield better results. Inclusive teams are 35% more productive[4] and diverse teams make better decisions 85% of the time. 

Embracing your team’s uniqueness, recognizing and harnessing the diverse skills and perspectives within your organization, can only lead to “better.” Better outcomes, better workplace culture, better performance. 

By valuing and leveraging this diversity, you not only cultivate a more inclusive environment, you unlock innovative solutions and drive greater success. That is the very definition of high performance culture. 

Pillar 5: Measurement

You can build high performance work systems and develop a different organizational culture, but if you don’t measure your results, you can’t continue to grow. 

You need to implement metrics to gauge performance, culture, and progress within your organization. By focusing on what’s working well and reinforcing those practices, you pave the way for even greater results. 

This reflective process of measurement and improvement allows for continual growth and success. 

Pillar 6: Recognition

You may notice that while these pillars stand on their own, they also connect. Part of building a positive business culture is recognition and acknowledgement. 

Make it a point to acknowledge and appreciate the contributions and achievements of your employees. Remember, positivity breeds loyalty and productivity. When employees feel valued, they become more resilient, cooperative, and creative.[5] They perform better, collaborate more effectively, and are more likely to take direction from their leadership. 

Praise yields more results than discipline. And happy employees yield more results for your business. Making recognition an essential part of your organizational culture, you not only boost morale, you drive greater success across the board. 

Pillar 7: Mistake Handling

The final pillar builds off of the previous pillar by focusing on the opposite end of the spectrum. Mistakes are inevitable, and how your company and leadership handle them can set the tone for your employees. 

If you encourage a culture where learning from mistakes and fostering resilience are celebrated, then you’ll find a culture that naturally builds high performance habits. 

This approach also ties back to listening and transparency. By cultivating a positive environment that emphasizes growth rather than discipline, employees feel more comfortable sharing their mistakes and struggles. 

This openness allows for greater learning opportunities and better adaptability among your employees. 

High performance habits start with high performance work systems.

When we get the culture right, performance naturally improves in a healthy, sustainable way. The business landscape is highly competitive and high performance culture is the ultimate goal for many companies. 

But, if we make high performance the goal, we must make culture the priority.

[1] & [3] Culture Is A Company’s Single Most Powerful Advantage. Here’s Why

[2] Why Workplace Culture Matters

[4] Why Is Diversity and Inclusion?

[5] Do Your Employees Feel Respected?

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