August Roundup: Creating a Performance Culture: What Not To Do

Performance culture continues to be a popular topic.  Last month, ASQ Influential Voices blogger James Lawther asked the question, does culture drive behavior and performance?  He concluded it does, yet it doesn’t create a culture of high performance, it creates one of low performance and fear.

Throughout the month, ASQ bloggers reflected on ways to change company culture in a positive direction.  Tim McMahon offered seven practical actions to shape your organizational culture so that it supports Lean.

Daniel Zrymiak wrote if a business culture seeks and rewards legitimate quality and the identification and correction of root causes, that problems will be recognized, integrity will be championed, and whistle blowers will not fear for their jobs.

Nicole Radziwill brought up the question, rather than improving upon poor performance, why not seek out truly amazing performance and then just make more of it?  She lists three steps for creating an innovative performing culture.

Anshuman Tiwari wrote that when judging the impact of culture on performance, time is a very important factor.  A whip-by-the-minute culture can deliver superior performance in the short term but will not sustain.

Luciana Paulise suggests clearly defining what kind of culture you are looking for. Considering the most important things in a company are profits and people, the culture could be focused on making profit, taking care of your people, or both?  If you are brave enough to run for both, she offers her suggestions.

Dr. Suresh Gettala suggested that the first and foremost step of establishing a culture is to check whether or not the organization is ready for a cultural transformation. Manu Vora notes that creating a sense of urgency is key to jump-starting a change initiative.

Pam Schodt added that to keep company culture positive and relevant, employees should be involved in discussions about changing and maintaining that culture.  Company culture is fluid and subject to shift. Management must be vigilant to nurture and protect a positive culture and thereby drive good quality. On that note, John Hunter writes about why CEOs are often not aware of what’s going on in their organization.

César Díaz wrote that a successful culture begins with a common language that everyone use to first communicate positively with each other and then with customers to ensure their satisfaction.  He suggests that everyone end each day with this question, “What actions did I do this day to support the improvement of the culture of my organization? Prem Ranganath adds that quality is a set of collective experiences.

Dr. Lotto Lai shared his views on how to establish performance culture including an interesting workshop at his division, “Team Synergy and Creative Problem Solving.”

Sunil Kaushik articulated about the three types of intrinsic motivators (autonomy, purpose and mastery), and answered the question, what kind of work environment is the best fit for such a model?

Finally, Edwin Garro gives a real-world example of creating a performance culture in a small print shop in Costa Rica.

Comments regarding Creating a Performance Culture: What Not To Do

Suresh Lulla says:

August 10, 2015 at 9:01 pm

Building a culture is synonymous to building positive attitudes.  But do you know anyone who has been able to change attitudes?  HR professionals advocate ABC. First change Attitude; Behavior will then change; Commitment will be positive thereafter. Never works. But we continue this ‘mantra’ like a broken record.  Try the reverse CBA instead. Get Commitment (to chronic problems) first; define change in Behavior; and if you are lucky, Attitude may change over extended time.

P.A.Ipolito says:

August 19, 2015 at 9:08 am

I have been hearing about culture change for over 30 years. I have yet to see a shred of evidence it exists. I’m sure there are places where it may have worked under the reign of a cruel but fair leader but the gains never hold. In fact, ANY gain in quality is a sandcastle on a beach. How can a culture change take root when top management turns over every three to five years

Anna says:

August 19, 2015 at 2:26 pm

I agree where it says “poor performance plus excuses equals good performance.  Perception becomes reality.

Mike Harkins says:

August 19, 2015 at 2:40 pm

I’m glad this article quotes Deming at the end.  Improving performance of the individual does not necessarily improve the performance of the system.  It can only be done by management transformation, which was one of Deming’s most important teachings.

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