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High Performance Culture and Sport – Are They All That Different? Featured

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High Performance Culture and Sport – Are They All That Different?

Fostering a high performance culture requires planning and discipline, believes Mimecast South Africa Managing Director, Brandon Bekker.


High performance within the workplace is often misunderstood and yet highly prized. In today’s increasingly frantic and connected world output is the measurement used to determine the success or failure. The pressure of performance is one that is felt by every employee across the globe.

Enterprises face a similar challenge. Shareholders expect positive results. In a competitive business environment there is only one thing that truly matters – performance.


With this in mind, how can businesses equip their employees with the tools required for success? Much like preparing for a marathon or a major sporting event, encouraging an active culture requires planning and discipline.


Understanding the goal is the first step. High performance requires an enthusiasm for task execution, no matter how challenging.


In an organisation the careful management and tracking of business inputs is critically important. By encouraging delegation and avoiding micromanagement, it is possible to promote a spirit of responsibility.


Disciplined reporting compliments this approach. By consistently measuring employee output it is possible to gain a clear view of the business as a whole.


This could be compared to a coach closely monitoring a professional sportsman’s daily diet and fitness regime. Trainers cannot force athletes to adopt a healthy eating plan, but they can measure performance. In this way the likelihood of high performance is increased.


Motivation is another key factor. Employees who feel inspired to achieve often excel, subsequently encouraging others to do the same.


It is critical that organisations focus on enforcing the three Cs. The first is connectedness. Teams that are aligned to a common purpose find it easier to work towards a particular goal. Confidence earned through learning is another crucial element. Finally, teams that feel in control of their environment also experience a sense of empowerment.


Building a high performance culture relies heavily on these three elements. Every elite sporting team feels the presence and impact of connectedness, confidence and control. The same should be applied to the business world.


Celebrating marginal gains is the next step towards building a highly effective team. Leaders should focus on celebrating small overall improvements, not on incredible performances in a few focused areas.


The best sporting teams are those that work together to put points on the board. Although the scorer is often celebrated at the moment of victory, each player understands that teamwork is required in order to get over the line. Similarly, business success is a collaborative effort and small collective achievements should be met with the greatest praise.


Focus is the final step. Forcing teams to take on too many tasks stifles their attention to detail. Clarity also paves the way towards better measurement.


The simple truth is that high performance is not easily achievable. Businesses often place unnecessary pressure on employees to produce great results without providing them with a solid foundation.


In the sporting world short bursts of high performance are delayed by long periods of preparation. Similarly, organisations that focus on equipping knowledge workers with the right tools will enjoy success when the pressure is on.

Last modified on Monday, 11 August 2014 09:29

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