The Five Factors For Organizational Performance

What makes organizations achieve excellence, be mired in mediocrity, or fail?

There are five factors:  leadership, mission, culture, team, and alignment (Abrashoff, 2002; Blanchard, 2011; Drucker, 2001; Kotter, 2012; Lencioni, 2012; Maxwell, 1998; Welch, 2005).

The leadership has to be authentic, trusted, consistent, selfless, and mission centered.  The leadership has to genuinely care about the success of the team.  The leadership has to accept responsibility when something goes wrong and give away credit when the team achieves it.  The leadership has to listen, admit mistakes, take responsibility, and make needed changes.  The leadership cannot be concerned with awards, applause, self-interest, credit, or unfair criticism.  Leaders push decisions away from them to the right people at the correct level, give credit away, and take the blame.  Leaders have to be coaches, communicators, and learners.  They focus on recruitment and retention.  They are open, honest, approachable, and accountable.  They are unafraid to make difficult decisions.

The mission has to be clearly defined, well chosen, and feasible.  It must be an excellent match between the organization and its environment.  It must be research-based understanding the organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.  It has to be constantly communicated.  Everyone in the organization must know, understand, believe in, and act on it.  Everything in the organization must be organized around the mission.

Culture consists of the defining values which drive the thinking and behavior of everyone in the organization.  It must be clear and consistent.  It must be rewarded, protected, and reinforced.  Like the mission, leaders have to recruit, hire, onboard, train, evaluate, and promote employees for culture.  Incentives and disincentives matter.  If individuals have personalities, organizations have culture.  The culture must be conducive to the mission.  In the right culture, the wrong act is not only unacceptable, but also unthinkable.

No organization will outperform its teamwork.  The team has to be mission focused.  Teamwork requires the right mindset and skillset.  Everyone has to share information, credit, risk, rewards, and resources, and listen to the needs and concerns of teammates. Teamwork depends on trust and a culture of collaboration.   Supporting the success of others is key.  The mission being attained is paramount.  Leaders recruit, hire, train, evaluate, and promote for teamwork.  Leaders have to recognize and reward it.  If people can learn, understand, and trust each other, they can partner and perform as a team.  Talented individuals who cannot work as a team will be outcompeted by a less gifted group who consistently works together as a team.

Alignment is organizing operations around objectives and outcomes.  Form must match function.  The design, structure, and activities of the organization must be an optimal match with its mission, goals, and objectives.

Focus on the five predictors of organizational performance and anything can be accomplished.