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The 4 prerequisites for a performance culture

Creating a performance culture requires targeted and systematic efforts from senior employees, middle managers, and employees.

Organisational culture governs daily choices, behaviours, efforts, and results that an organisation creates.

Many companies have hard goals, good strategies, and excellent plans, but still fail to achieve the desired results. Usually, it’s the implementation of the plans that fails.

The culture and climate for implementing changes, executing plans, or launching good ideas are not compatible with achieving what you truly desire.


Discipline is a prerequisite for creating a performance culture. Discipline is necessary to promote determination, set the bar for what constitutes good performance, and ensure that people are accountable for their efforts and results.

In a disciplined culture, there is no doubt about expectations for individuals, and goal achievement or lack of performance will have consequences.

Negative behavior is addressed immediately, and desired positive behavior is recognised, rewarded, and encouraged. A common denominator for such a disciplined culture is that everyone is involved in the company’s business.

1. Active management of discrepancies

Leaders in companies that perform, handle conflicts before they escalate. Poor results are uncovered and confronted so that both the company and the employees learn from mistakes.

Alternatives and opportunities are evaluated and judged without prejudice and without regard to politics. The alternative that delivers the best result is chosen, even if it may be uncomfortable for some – or require changes.

This creates an environment where people can speak their minds without fear of reprisal. Good performance trumps politics, positions, and egos.

2. Openness, trust, and courage

An evasive culture does not produce consistent and good results over time. There must be room to address what is uncomfortable. It should be okay to confront mediocrity, weak efforts, and lack of results. Excuses should not be accepted, and it is not okay to go on the defensive.

3. Focus on employees’ strengths

In a successful performance culture, efforts are made to connect employees’ strengths with the tasks to be performed. It is important to develop people.

But instead of fixing weaknesses, the focus is on uncovering underlying talents and developing them into strengths, and then matching them with the tasks to be performed.

A company where everyone primarily works on things they are good at will typically produce far better results than similar companies with less alignment between strengths and tasks to be performed.

4. Focus, simplicity, and targeting

Companies that perform are good at making things easy. Goals are clear, and it is communicated very clearly what needs to be done to achieve the goals.

Efforts are made continuously to reduce the complexity of the company’s activities. The goals are few, the effort to achieve them is in focus, and everyone is willing to do what it takes to reach the goals.

In a performance culture, you have fun and create well-being by achieving the goals.

The 4 prerequisites may seem paradoxical, but a disciplined performance culture is characterised by a flexible culture with a high degree of freedom. Thus, one is more concerned with goals, efforts, and professionalism than with detailed rule control.