“We are in the middle of one of the most profound shifts in human history, where the primary work of mankind is moving from the Industrial Age of 'control' to the Knowledge Worker Age of 'release'."
- Stephen R Covey
For centuries people have organised themselves into collective groups intuitively knowing that together it is possible to achieve more security and satisfaction than we can alone as individuals.
But, somewhere in our pursuit of higher-performing organisations, this intuition got lost in favour of a focus on cost and efficiency. Multiple business and economic failures led to a new drive toward customer satisfaction. This has proven to be somewhat successful although many implementations of approaches like Six Sigma, TQM, Quality Circles, Lean, TOC and Agile have failed to deliver the expected results.
As we move out of the 'Industrial Age' and into the 'Knowledge Age' there is a slowly emerging understanding that in order to achieve sustainable performance in an organisation it is necessary to listen to our intuition and create environments where we can work together, learn from each other, bring our contribution to the table and achieve greater collective satisfaction.
High Performance is achieved by creating a synergy between increasing Consumer Value, providing a safe, secure and satisfying environment for employees, i.e. a constructive Culture and maintaining Commercial Responsibility.
Engagement is when the people closest to the consumer are directly and actively involved in solving problems that hinder the performance for that consumer.
High Performance through Engagement is achieved when those people who are closest to the consumer use, as a matter of habit, analytical problem solving tools and structured processes to identify the root cause of problems, the solutions to them and then implement quickly.
High Performance through Engagement is delivered by putting in place a work system that:
There are multiple ways to build this work system.
Your organisation is unique because the people in it are unique. A high-performance work system must be customised and designed for your organisation by the people in your organisation. In most cases, it can be funded within the existing resources of the organisation.
High Performance through Engagement is not for everyone. It requires "courageous leadership" (think Brené Brown - Dare to Lead) and a willingness to embrace a new way of operating.
The benefits of High Performance through Engagement, for those who have travelled the path, are increased customer loyalty, increased financial performance and a culture of innovation and growth. There are numerous case studies published by both the private and public sectors as well as multiple University studies of the impact of adopting a High Performance through Engagement approach. The evidence is overwhelming that the improvement in performance that comes from a culture of engagement substantially improves the overall operating performance of an organisation.
High Performance through Engagement is a path to sustainable high performance - it is worth exploring.
HPtE Strategy® and HPHE - What’s the difference?
Both HPtE and HPHE put people at the center of achieving high performance. The use of problem solving methodologies by the people closest to the consumer is core to both practices. Both practices leverage the power of collective intelligence and recognise the importance of employee representatives as a voice. HPtE and HPHE have many more things in common but they are different in their approach to industrial autocracy and industrial democracy.