Over the last decade, substantial research has been published regarding optimal organizational performance and the link of such performance to both the attainment and sustainment of profitability. During this time, little has been offered by way of either a model or an assessment process that link research to the organizational factors that contribute to high performance.
The Integrated High Performance Model (IHPM) offers insight to six key factors that influence, if not determine, organizational performance and profitability. This sequential model both links and integrates these six significant factors, also called model segments, demonstrating how each contributes directly to sustainable organizational performance at the highest levels.
Additionally, the Integrated High Performance Model accounts for the three most salient elements within each segment, while demonstrating linkages to organization’s guiding principles, policies and procedures, and adopted operational processes.
When viewed in full scale, the Integrated High Performance Model offers appears simple and easy to understand, offering a visual link from an enterprise concept to full executive insight. When the model is applied to identify an organization’s strengths and gaps in attaining and sustaining high performance, insights become relevant and lead to actionable performance enhancements.
In addition to developing and field testing the Integrated High Performance Model concept, the professionals at Wiltzius Associates have designed and offer an organization performance assessment process, complete with an online questionnaire, follow up executive interviews, and executive team feedback.
Weave a tapestry of insights offered by Bossidy, Charran, Collins, Drucker, Joyce, Lencioni, Pink, Tichy et al, and in addition of having an alphabet of notable authors, you will find both common threads and colorful anecdotes within their creative tapestry of business success.
The seminal work of these gurus and others will note the operational significance of an organization’s defined mission and value proposition, strategic planning, leadership capability and alignment, strategy execution, talent deployment and development, innovation, motivation, and culture. All elements, woven on the business weaver’s loom, bring an organization to sustainable levels of success.
Buried within the tapestry is a thread…a central thread…and that while not often a visible part of the tapestry’s image, this thread defines the strength and durability of the weaving itself. It is the thread of social intimacy.
Similar to the form of customer intimacy known to successful sales and business development professionals, in business social intimacy always exists within leadership and functional teams. It also exists across an organization as a definable aspect of the culture.
Social intimacy is in large part, the degree of familiarity individuals have with one another. The more people know one another, the greater the chance of finding common ground, shared interests, similar values and experiences, common beliefs, mutual friends, nearly identical experiences…and the list goes on.
What behavioral scientists know, and business gurus seldom give sufficient credit to, is that shared and aligned goals, when build on common thread of social intimacy, are more readily attained and sustained.
Simply put, a business goal that is woven (in large part) around the central thread of social intimacy among leaders, team members, and entire teams, will find greater potential for attainment and sustainment.
We should not diminish the value of the threads that define the boundaries of business… the business’ mission, value proposition, vision, and strategic imperatives. Such threads define what must be done.
But attaining and sustaining the desired levels of success that can be accomplished will be determined by the social intimacy that defines how success will be accomplished. The degree of social intimacy senior leaders have with one another determines their commitment to operational alignment in their organization.
It is common to observe well-intended and capable leaders align conceptually around a business strategy, only to return to their functional areas to lead as they may have in the past…without commitment to peer leaders to the degree necessary to attain full business potential.
Social intimacy, optimized among peer leaders, throughout the teams they provide leadership to, and throughout a culture, lends strength to an organization and its collective ability to attain and sustain success.
As an executive coach for nearly three decades, insight has come with the privilege of serving senior leaders who are constantly seeking to enhance their effectiveness. If you ask a CEO, CFO or any key leader who has had a coach effectively serve them, they will tell you that a great executive coach challenges, supports, and informs them. Ask yourself, “Who was the best teacher I ever had?” and it won’t take you long to think of one or more who met the criteria of a great coach as well.
A great coach challenges a leader to look deeper into himself or herself…to examine the leader’s motives, style, assets, limitations, strengths and barriers. Since most executive leader success is measured as the aggregate of team effectiveness, leaders also may be challenged with looking into the similar attributes of others, mining for insights leading to enhanced engagement and performance.
A great coach supports a leader as a person and in their role, seeking the leader’s contributions to success, identifying barriers to growth, and confirming the value of commitment, integrity and perseverance. Such affirmation buoys a leader’s confidence, without being gratuitous or patronizing. A supportive coach probes the strengths of a leader for vulnerabilities, as each leader has a tendency that can be a derailer.
Finally, an effective coach also informs the leader. A coach can be the fresh eyes that a leader needs. An effective coach seeks and shares insights that are unfettered by organizational politics and supported by years of experience brought about through similar challenges and opportunities faced by others. While informing can be much like teaching, it often only requires topical or content familiarity rather than expertise, while most often requiring behavioral expertise.
While this message offers fundamental characteristics of an effective coaching relationship between coach and leader, it is also offered for purposes of soliciting commentary. Just as each of us can identify that great teacher we once had, we can also identify the poor one. Comments about great coaching characteristics are welcome here.
In future coaching blogs, I will comment on current challenges to the coaching process, coaching models, coach selection protocols, and coaching credentials.