Where are the Performance Leaks in Your Organization?

Where are the Performance Leaks in Your Organization? 1024 768 C-Suite Network

by Emily Capito


As your organization grows, you acquire certain necessary luxuries like a Human Resources department, quality control specialists, new locations and layers of middle management. The very characteristics that delineate a mature organization from a fledgling startup are also ripe to be your weakest links.

This is why David can beat Goliath: David’s team is small, excited and wickedly efficient. Goliath might boast in-house attorneys and a 10-year strategic plan, but his organization is leaking productivity, energy and morale by the ton. In this increasingly startup-friendly environment, it’s critical to identify and repair the performance leaks in your organization.

Four prime spigots might be spurting next quarter’s profits down the drain:

  1. Inter-Departmental Territories
    The C-Suite comes together out of divisions. Each executive oversees his or her own department, which in turn may divide into several sub-teams. These divisions can become cracks in the façade of your organization, splitting apart as leaders head in different directions, fail to collaborate and demand autonomy.Seal the cracks early on by communicating a broad vision for success, sharing organization-wide rewards based on key performance indicators that require collaboration, and cross-training employees — especially across departments where the situation has become critical. Leigh Goessl underscores the benefits of cross-training on InsideBusiness: “When employees have a vested interest in the jobs of others, it helps increase understanding of business processes which will ultimately improve both productivity and encourages collaboration.”
  2. Leaders Who Disempower
    Unfortunately, most of us aren’t born with natural leadership ability, which translates into well-intentioned but disempowering compliance managers who undermine their team’s performance. As Dan Rockwell points out on his blog, Leadership Freak, “Any person or group that must seek and/or gain the approval of another is not empowered.”By mentoring unproven leaders and creating a culture where the C-Suite is actively engaged and often present from the bottom up, you will always know whose approach is failing and have the opportunity to course-correct before too much damage is done.
  3. Coming Up Average
    It’s impossible to disappear within a small startup team; not so in your mature organization. The distance between the C-Suite and dozens, hundreds or even thousands of employees allows a large percentage of the workforce to hide out. What high performer will continue to push the limit on the results they can achieve when their similarly compensated colleague (or worse: boss) comes in late and leaves early with little accomplished in between?The larger your organization, the greater the pressure to come up average, which is why the C-Suite needs to set a high standard and reward accordingly. Ensure your leaders are encouraging top performers and actively engaging with under-performers to close the gap.
  4. Talent Turnover
    If any of the above spigots are left to leak, prepare to accept the resignations of your top talent within a year or two of joining your team. Mike Myatt’s experience with corporate talent programs suggests that an average of 30 percent of your workforce believes it will be working somewhere else within the year.In his Forbes article, “10 Reasons Your Talent Will Leave You,” Myatt points out, “…employees who are challenged, engaged, valued and rewarded (emotionally, intellectually & financially) rarely leave, and more importantly, they perform at very high levels. However if you miss any of these critical areas, it’s only a matter of time until they head for the elevator.”

Instead of trying to alleviate the symptoms of the leaks in your organization, dig in until you find and repair the source. This allows your organization to operate at peak performance and adapt quickly to any stones thrown your way.

Emily CapitoEmily Capito is a capacity-building consultant working with young organizations to scale growth and successfully transition from startup to self-sustaining. Formerly the COO of a large nonprofit where she consistently pushed the limits to establish the organization as an industry innovator, Emily catalyzes transformational growth. You can find free resources here: emilycapito.com and her blog here: blog.impactignition.com.
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