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Overview of performance cultures

In order to successfully manage performance, organisations need the right organisational culture. BPM works best in a high-performance culture and at the same time the right BPM processes will help to foster a performance-driven culture.

In the end it is people and their behaviours that will determine whether the BPM system is effective or not. People in the organisation can chose to use the data effectively to make better decisions or likewise they can decide to ignore the data and insights.

Culture and BPM

Business performance management and culture go hand in hand it is hard to say which one comes first, it is a bit like chicken and egg. What we do know is that any BPM initiative is significantly more effective when we have the right organisational culture. At the same time, even if the culture is not quite right at the beginning of any BPM journey, putting in place processes and approaches to better manage and measure performance will affect culture and behaviours in any organisation.

Performance-driven culture

A performance-driven culture can mean many different things to different people but at its heart should be the notion that individuals in an organisation aim to continuously learn and improve. Key elements of a performance-driven culture are:

  • Common purpose and general buy-in into the strategic direction
  • Clear and accepted accountability for results across the company
  • Acceptance and honesty when it comes to performance assessments

Creating a performance-driven culture

Creating a performance-driven culture is about creating an environment in which performance is a priority and where elements such as trust, self-directed learning, mutual respect and support foster personal commitment to continuous performance improvement.

Building blocks of a performance-driven culture

There are many contributing factors to a performance-driven culture but there are some important big building blocks that organisations need to get right. These include:

  • Leadership
    Like with so many other things, if the leaders in an organisation don’t champion a performance-driven culture and don’t act and behave in line with such a culture then it will not work. Leaders need to show visible commitment to BPM and the performance-driven culture. It is their responsibility to actively get involved and support the process.
  • Recognition and rewards
    In order for BPM to be taken seriously, performance needs to have consequences. Both, excellent performance or underperformance must have an effect, otherwise people will ignore the BPM approach. Recognition and rewards can come in different shapes and forms such as linking pay and performance. By far the most important way to recognise people that are performing well is to say ‘thank you’, especially if it is done in person.
  • Reporting and communicating performance
    The way performance information and insights are reported and communicated will also affect the culture (see section on communicating and reporting performance)
  • Reviewing and discussing performance
    It is important that performance results and insights are discussed in management meetings and beyond. The way performance information is used to inform dialogues and decision-making in organisations is key. It has to contribute to collaborative decision-making, problem solving and learning.