Season 1, Episode 25: Creating a Culture of Performance Excellence

Business Excelleration Podcast

Host David Ketchin talks with Tom Kellaway, The Hackett Group Associate Principal and European Benchmark Practice Leader about creating a sustainable performance excellence culture via a combination of measurement, accountability, strategic thinking, and cross-functional collaboration. Tom shares brief case histories from several clients who are targeting world-class performance levels, including Vodafone, Sky, Tetra Pak, and BASF.

Show Notes: 

First, David provides a bit of context regarding the Hackett group’s observations from benchmarking companies across major stock exchanges worldwide. The best organizations, he says, are achieving top-level effectiveness, service and efficiency. As the conversation begins, Tom defines performance excellence culture as constant change and inspiring people to look for ways to improve their respective performance. Having a vision, aligning the organization around it and setting clear targets is critical. Additionally, creating a culture of accountability and responsibility is crucial for driving change and encouraging openness for improvement.

The culture for performance excellence is so important because of the age we live in, where if you’re not innovating, you will likely fail. Companies that have harnessed this culture have higher gross margins, net margins and total shareholder returns. Tom stresses the importance for companies to think cross-functionally and develop an effective service delivery model. Surely, he adds, technology opportunities and data should be addressed as well. Most importantly is developing a plan to execute and deliver these customer-centric services. Then, David clarifies the agile mindset required in navigating the ever-changing market.

Much of a company’s performance excellence is reliant on the functionality of their IT support, which ultimately supports the rest of the business. Tom gives a few examples of companies who have demonstrated superior performance excellence. In his experience, a common issue is for a company to get caught up in the idea of driving efficiency becoming and ends rather than the means of something. Listen as he explains how he was able to help a company overcome this mindset.

Then, David iterates that companies who regularly benchmark with the Hackett Group outperform their peers overall, an indication that the business has committed to performance excellence. The Hackett group simply provides an assessment for performance. In closing, Tom summarizes key tips and lessons for companies to bear in mind should they drive towards higher performance levels. First, remember that you can’t manage what isn’t measured. Next, maintain an agile, incremental mindset. Finally, understand that achieving world-class status will never happen overnight, but is a process which requires time, patience and investment.