Peter Drucker once said, “if you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.” The simplicity of Drucker’s dialogue seems always to cast a shadow over the depths of the words he said.
In the wake of past and ongoing hardships—the pandemic, labor shortages, supply-chain instability and inflation—businesses continue to adjust while looking for something new to keep up with quickly evolving market and consumer demands. Many organizations have begun to reconsider new working models and the implementation of cutting-edge tools as much as the outcomes of their work, productivity and employee satisfaction. While new articles are published daily preaching the effectiveness of hybrid working or giving us 10 reasons our business needs AI, these innovative practices and tools are only as effective as employees working with and within them.
That is why, to generate performance that matters, businesses must remember that an inside-out approach which focuses on employees and their work environment must be part of their broader business plans. And, by looking inwardly, employers can determine the support and resources their employees need to flourish as well as identify the pieces of their workplace environment and culture that must change. After all, if you want to find new ways to increase performance, you have to stop doing the same old things.
In anticipation of this year’s Global Peter Drucker Forum, the Emergn team developed an eBook to be released at the Forum, Creating Performance that Matters in the Workplace. In it, we discuss the five surefire ways to create performance that matters in the workplace:
1. Building trust
By implementing an employee-first environment, working models that promote employee performance and servant leadership that focuses on the enhancement and elimination of employees’ strengths and weaknesses, employers can build trust with employees through compassion, inclusion and earned autonomy. This two-way trust, in turn, increases employee job satisfaction, wellbeing and self-motivation while encouraging creative and innovative thinking.
2. Facilitating communication and team collaboration
Research estimates that poor workplace communication costs US businesses $1.2 trillion a year. Implementing popular modern methodologies, like Scrum or Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), to drive team collaboration without analyzing if the method is truly the best fit for specific teams and projects is one frequent culprit. Effective, performance-enhancing internal communications require employee engagement, effective leadership and the right technology. Through the alignment of all three, leaders ensure teams are working toward a shared goal, with the knowledge and tools to streamline communications and facilitate team collaboration.
3. Encouraging forward thinking and experimentation
Agile operations that thrive through rapid innovation and changing market and demand responsiveness are only successful alongside equally agile employees. Introducing a ‘discovery mindset’—a philosophy that pushes teams to take a more iterative approach to their thinking by encouraging experimentation, forward-thinking, and learning from failure—teaches employees to think freely, embrace change and learn through experimentation and their own mistakes. Teams working with a ‘discovery mindset’ do not get lost in routine. They are constantly searching for ways to improve customer and business outcomes and are willing to try new things even if they fail. Allowing employees to think and work openly and creatively will lead to more intuitive, context-sensitive, and personalized products and better overall performance.
4. Investing in employees’ growth
Emergn’s 2022 survey report, The Pursuit of Effective Workplace Training, found that having a strong workplace training program played a big role in an employee’s decision to stay with a company. However, many organizations still use generic learning and development (L&D) programs that are inaccessible or irrelevant to their employees. Developing strategic context-focused L&D that aligns training with business and customer goals is an easy way to feed employees’ appetite to grow and fuel motivation while improving productivity and outcomes.
5. Creating purpose and motivation
Now more than ever, employees are looking for purpose and fulfillment through their job, and it is up to business leaders to create that purpose and fulfillment in their contributions. Research has shown that effective short- and long-term goal setting positively affects employee engagement, motivation, and accountability. Further, setting achievable goals and celebrating the completion of those goals has been shown to increase both satisfaction and job retention. The setting of effective short- and long-term individual goals that align with larger strategic business objectives will help employees feel more connected to the company, increase accountability and generate improved performance and business outcomes.
Businesses looking for new ways to improve productivity in today’s fast-paced markets should think twice before trying to patch operations with the latest methodologies and innovative tools. Leaders who truly understand business, like Peter Drucker, know that if you want something new to work, you must change your old ways. Looking inward, focusing on empowering employees and improving the working environment through strategic and calculated change is one important lever to drive performance that matters.
About the author:
Alex Adamopoulos is Chairman and CEO of Emergn Ltd
Sign up to view the full eBook, Creating Performance that Matters in the Workplace, at emergn.com/drucker-performance