The Ironies of High Performance

By Carol Morrison

For much of the past month, my workdays have focused on assessing the results of i4cp's 2011 High-Performance Organizations Survey. I think about performance while I'm jogging, cooking and watering flowerbeds. I even dream about it at night. I've had input from several of my colleagues about the survey and what they find interesting or compelling about it. Everyone has their own ideas. Here's mine: we're good at identifying what we do well and what we aspire to do well but we don't necessarily have the mechanisms in place to connect the two.

Most of our discussions revolve around the top findings across what i4cp has identified as the five domains of organizational performance: strategy, leadership, talent, culture and market focus. Our analysis of survey responses revealed the practices within each of those domains that tie directly to performance improvement. I think what is equally interesting are the things in each of those areas that companies aren't doing well - or at least not as well as they could ... even the high-performing organizations ... and how those practices contrast with the best efforts.


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