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  • Writer's pictureTerry Dockery


Maps are great. Think about it, if you don’t have a map you can spend a lot of time just wandering aimlessly from place to place trying to get where you want to go. To make things even worse, if you don’t have a clear destination then every place is just as important as the next; you have no way to prioritize them or pick one over the other. However, if you know where you’re headed and you know what places you need to pass through to get there, then your choices become easier and your confidence that you will reach your destination soars.

The following is a conceptual map for high performance in any organization. Once you know where you want to go as an organization (your future vision) you can pass through these important areas and get there quickly and efficiently. The two components of performance in any organization are 1) individual performance, and 2) team performance. The map looks like this:

· Individual performance (especially leaders)

o Hiring

o Retaining

o Training/development

· Team performance (especially leaders)

o Strategy

o Tactics/operations

o Continuous innovation

Individual performance

· Hiring: A team of “A” players will beat a team of “C” players every time, so find a way to recruit the best players to your team.

Example: “We will only add “A” or “B” players to our team unless there is some compelling reason to settle for “C” “worker bees.”

· Retaining: Find a way to keep these good players on your team. This includes fair compensation, recognition, empowerment, and challenge.

Example: “We will give our people as much autonomy to set their own priorities and schedule as possible.”

· Training/development: The best players know that to stay strong requires lifelong learning. Besides, it’s a lot more fun than stagnating.

Example: “Every person will have a plan and budget for training, coaching, and mentoring designed to take their performance to the next level.”

Team performance

· Strategy: Your organization needs a clear strategy and focus or you will be tempted to be “all things to all people” which is a sure formula for failure.

Example: “These are our customers, this is what we will provide to them, and this is our strategy to do so.”

· Tactics/operations: “The devil is in the details.”—Gustave Flaubert. Every strategy succeeds in the planning meeting but will fail without effective implementation.

Example: “We will have weekly staff meetings to evaluate and change our implementation as needed.”

· Continuous innovation: The world is constantly changing. Create an organizational culture that at least keeps pace with this change, or even better anticipates it and capitalizes on it.

Example: “We will have quarterly strategic planning meetings to evaluate and change our strategy as needed.”


Technique #1: Have a clear “conceptual map” that you follow to achieve high performance in your organization.

Technique #2: Have clear and well communicated priorities in your organization. “Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.”—Alex Hamilton.

Technique #3: For high performance, set the expectations bar high in your organization (not “perfection,” “excellence” will do just fine).

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