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In my opinion there are three organisation wide people focused initiatives that I have found particularly helpful in creating high performance cultures:

  pedro  blog The result: A workforce with the right capabilities, willing to go the extra mile (engaged) and enabled to perform at their best. An organisation where strategic priorities and culture are aligned and working together to deliver an exceptional customer experience and, in turn, impact / profits and shareholder value.

Building Capabilities:

Capability building is central to organisational performance. There is a need to identify and focus development interventions on those competencies that add the most value to the organisation’s business performance i.e. those that enable the effective execution of the organisation’s strategy. A recent Economist study reported that “61% of respondents acknowledge that their firms often struggle to bridge the gap between strategy formulation and its day-to-day implementation". Moreover, in the last three years an average of just "56% of strategic initiatives has been successful.”1. Companies can improve on this track record by paying far greater attention to the capabilities they need to successfully implement their strategy. C.K. Prahalad and G Hamel, in their HBR article “The Core Competence of the Corporation” argue that “the real sources of advantage are to be found in management’s ability to consolidate corporate-wide technologies and production skills into competencies that empower individual businesses to adapt quickly to changing opportunities”. They go further to state that unlike products, technology and processes which can be easily copied and replicated, core competencies are difficult for competitors to imitate and therefore can become a unique source of long term competitive advantage.


A common mistake organisations make is to over-focus on today’s capability needs at the detriment of important longer-term capability needs that might end up not being addressed. This requires organisations to look into the external environment to identify future threats, challenges and opportunities and their impact on the capability requirements of the organisation going forward.


There is a growing body of evidence over the past decade that validates (1) that engaged employees outperform their non-engaged co-workers and (2) the quantifiable relationship between levels of organizational engagement and financial performance Engagement is an employee’s willingness to expend discretionary effort / to go the extra mile at work Towers Watson’s Global Workforce Study 2014 found that only 4 in 10 employees are highly engaged; that close to a quarter (24%) are disengaged, and another 36% can be described as either unsupported or detached. A full 60% of employees lack the elements required to be highly engaged. This engagement gap presents a great challenge but also a great opportunity to improve organisational performance Organisations need to make engagement an organisational priority led from the top, assess current employee engagement levels and, develop and implement engagement plans.

Supportive Work Environment

Capability building and staff engagement, however, can take a company only so far. Factors specifically related to the work environment also play a critical role. That is, organisations need to provide employees with the support they need to do their work efficiently and effectively. E.g. providing people with the tools, resources and support to do their job effectively, giving them meaningful work and creating an environment that promotes employees’ physical, social and emotional well-being. In these environments:
  • People are clear on the strategic direction of their organisation and what they are expected to deliver and the way in which to deliver it (Role Clarity)
  • People understand how their job contributes to the success of his/her department and organisation (Task Identity)
  • People understand the positive impact their work has on others within or outside the organization (Task significance)
  • People are trusted, empowered and given the right level of autonomy to perform their role (Autonomy)
  • People are given enough on the job learning and growth opportunities to improve themselves and achieve their potential (Mastery)
  • People receive on-going constructive feedback on performance from customers, colleagues and the manager for development
  While an organisation’s culture can become its main source of long term sustainable competitive advantage, proactively managing, improving or changing is one of the most difficult leadership challenges.

Can your organisation’s leadership opt out?

If so, do they run the risk of their organisation becoming less and less attractive to employees and shareholders? Becoming irrelevant?

What do you think? Would love to hear your views on this blog as well as your thoughts on things / initiatives that can enable the creation of a high performance culture.

  1“Why Good Strategies Fail: Lessons for the C-Suite,” Economist Intelligence Unit, 2013,  
Pedro Angulo is the new Programme Director of the IMI Diploma in Strategic HR Management and contributes on the IMI Diploma in Executive Coaching. Pedro is an Organisational Effectiveness Business Partner in AIB and Chairperson of the Irish EMCC (European Mentoring and Coaching Council). He is a motivational speaker and regular presenter at HR, coaching, change and business conferences / events. _____________________________________ [post_title] => And the result: A workforce with the right capabilities & willing to go the extra mile [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => result-workforce-right-capabilities-willing-go-extra-mile [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-11 20:33:50 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-11 20:33:50 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 9497 [post_author] => 44 [post_date] => 2015-04-20 11:53:04 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-04-20 11:53:04 [post_content] => Tony Bourke is a facilitator and consultant who specialises in management development training, executive coaching and workplace dispute mediation. He has worked  worldwide in senior management positions in multinational companies such as Conoco (UK), ICL, Wang and Unisys. Tony is IMI associate faculty at IMI and teaches on Front Line Management and Managing People programmes.

Some people are identified as good managers and others as bad managers. What makes the difference?

The role of a manager is to get the job done. Good managers get the job done because they devote a lot of time to planning it.  They plan:-
  • Projects
  • Holiday rotas
  • Staff recruitment (internal or external)
  • Meetings
  • Employee skills to be developed
  • Work to delegate to team members
  • Performance reviews…
[caption id="attachment_9503" align="alignnone" width="560"]Copyright Copyright[/caption]   Before good managers leave work every evening, they plan their work for the following day and note it down in a prioritised To-Do list.  They following day they stick selfishly and ruthlessly to their daily plan and they get lots of important work done.  They are respected for being so calm and so in control and achieving so much. Bad managers are too busy to plan.  They rush about in a panic.  They hassle their team. They put themselves under pressure.  They are late for meetings and can’t remember why they agreed to attend the meeting. They hold onto work while their team watch them with grim smiles. Everything seems so out of control. Without a plan, there is drift.  If a manager has no plan, s/he will drift from task to task.  Interruptions will be welcomed. As will invitations to meetings and presentations.  The manager will be constantly busy but busy doing what?  Bits and pieces of unimportant work is the answer.  Answering trivial emails.  Holding long and valueless telephone conversations.  Having chats with team members that serve no purpose.  Just drifting purposelessly through the working day. Look at managers that you respect and those for whom you have little regard.  Note the differences.  It always comes down to planning.  Planning gives purpose, control and achievement.  It is equally useful for helping managers to decide what work does not need to be done (this is the stuff that ties up the bad managers). So how can a bad manager change behaviour and become a successful manager?  The starting point is always to prepare a plan for the next working day and to stick to that plan.  The plan / list should be quite short – leave all trivial stuff off the list.  It should be a list of important things that you definitely can and will get done the next day.  Execution of that plan must be the top priority for every working day. The results are awesome.  You will do the work that needs to be done rather than the work that cries out to be done.  You will be less stressed and more respected.  Your team will be happier and more productive. You will be able to leave work earlier.  You will gain confidence and wake up one day to the realisation that you are a good manager.   [post_title] => Can you spot a good vs. bad manager? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => good-bad-managers [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-11 20:53:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-11 20:53:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 19182 [post_author] => 7 [post_date] => 2017-03-30 13:48:18 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-03-30 13:48:18 [post_content] => [post_title] => 5 Tips for Motivating Employees [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 5-tips-motivating-employees [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-18 07:59:34 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-18 07:59:34 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 12751 [post_author] => 7 [post_date] => 2016-03-01 12:05:26 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-03-01 12:05:26 [post_content] =>

Working with managers at different levels and in many industries, I consistently get asked various questions on how to manage better. One that surfaces most often, especially in large organisations is “ How can I trust my team to do the job in the way it needs to be done?”.



Of course the answer is always “it depends” after all there are many variables at play. To better answer the question, perhaps it is more valuable to understand what the question implies. This question assumes that there is a right way and a wrong way to do the job. The question also assumes that everyone in the team has the same level of skills and experience. If we dig deep, the question also assumes that everyone in the team has the same level of confidence in performing the job. When managers ask this question, they are in truth trying to look for someone to execute the task with the same competence and confidence they have in performing it.

Trust is fundamentally about dependability and predictability. Can I rely on my employee to do this job the way I would?

The consequences of this attitude causes managers to consistently rely on the same people to perform the critical tasks again and again and by doing so they find themselves subject to a number of by-products. trust


The usual suspect generally becomes overwhelmed and overworked but also becomes very capable and experienced and often finds the confidence to get promoted away from the team or leave to seek better employment conditions elsewhere. Those that are seldom trusted with critical tasks become disengaged, demotivated and even loose confidence to a point they might not even take the risk to look for a job elsewhere. Ultimately, these managers find themselves having to perform all the critical task themselves, don’t have time to develop new people and become frustrated with  having to deal with poor performers. The solution to this dilemma has been around for a long time and many experts have developed several models to explain how to manage people development effectively. The late Peter Drucker’s definition of the role of managing is “Achieving results through people”  this means that people are the critical resource to get things done. People are the most important tool a manager must use to execute a plan and deliver high performance results.

Of course for a tool to be effective, it is important to know what it does, how to use it and more importantly how to maintain it in good working order. So if we make this analogy to manage people effectively in the pursuit of high performance a manager has 3 critical jobs to perform:

1. The first job of an effective manager should be to get to know the people in their teams, their strengths and abilities, their passions and motivators, their attitude and preferences. This first step will help a manager understand who in the team is best suited to perform which task. 2. The second most important job of an effective manager should be to facilitate the people in the team to know each other and recognise the strengths and abilities each individual brings to the team. In this way everyone in the team knows who to rely on  for help and support to resolve problems and collaborate effectively. 3. The third most important job of an effective manager should be to formulate a plan that place the relevant talent and skills to work on the tasks and roles that will deliver the required outcomes. While doing so it is also important for a manager to set the appropriate level of expectations that stretch an individual's abilities without straining them. In doing so, a manager should also provide each individual with the opportunity to develop and grow at an appropriate pace.

Things don’t get done if people don’t do them. The best way to develop trust in the people you manage is to help them develop their strengths, confidence and motivation, along the way they will also grow to trust you.

Fabio Grassi is the Programme Director for the IMI Diploma in Executive Coaching which is starting on 20th April 2016. Fabio is a specialist in the development of team performance, collaboration and motivation.  _____________________________________ [post_title] => Are you enabling people to trust you? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => trust-people-manage-help-grow-trust [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-11 20:18:35 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-11 20:18:35 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )
Dymphna Ormond

Dymphna Ormond

25th Apr 2018

Dymphna Ormond is an IMI associate who teaches on Front Line Management and Essential Skills of Management programmes.

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And the result: A workforce with the right capabilities & willing to go the extra mile
Can you spot a good vs. bad manager?
5 Tips for Motivating Employees
Are you enabling people to trust you?

Great and Impactful Feedback

Great and impactful feedback is essential for everyone’s performance and development. However giving feedback that inspires and supports behaviour change is difficult. Creating action is not always easy.

Changing someone’s behaviour is one of the most difficult tasks to accomplish. It is even more difficult than changing our own behaviour – no matter how much feedback we might give ourselves. Behaviour change and sustaining that change is really hard.

Sometimes just the word “Feedback” can create resistance. Reframe feedback as guidance. Feedback looks back at what did or did not go well whereas guidance looks to the future and explores ideas on how to modify behaviour to achieve desired results.

Preparation is crucial.


• What is the real issue you need to discuss?
• What is your intention? To point our errors and faults or to create a trusting and safe open conversation?
• What outcome do you want? To win and prove the other person wrong or at fault? Or to agree on what can be done to aid performance and results in a certain area?
• Frame the feedback. It should be a learning opportunity, future focused, guidance and supportive.
• How can you involve the person and listen to their world, their views and experience and learn from them (this is feedback to you and may make some invisible things visible to you).
• How will you involve the person in creating an action plan and support structures that will enable them to move forward. Ask them what they need. Don’t tell.

Determine the real issue

How can managers give feedback that really effects future performance?
(Photo source)
  • Determine what the real issue is that you want to bring up.
  • Describe it.
  • What is the impact of the issue on (a) you (b) others (c) results (d) the relationship


What is your intention?

Your intention is what you really want to achieve from having the conversation. Stand back from the situation and look in. If your intention is not positive then a positive outcome will not be achieved. Suspend judgement.

What outcome do you want?

Think about the outcome that you want from the discussion and consider both tangible and in-tangible. For example:

  • An action plan that has been created and owned by the individual with necessary support structures to faciliate the implementation of the plan.
  • A relationship that is strong based on mutual respect.
  • A motivated and supported person who feels confident about the action plan and ability to implement it.

Consider the receiver

How will you frame the conversation and put the information in context for them? How can you create a safe and trusting environment? When will be the best time and the best place that will help to create safety and so that they person has the space to listen and discuss the situation with you? What examples will you use? How will you ensure the person feels respected and valued?

Involve them

Explore the area further with the person by using open, probing questions. Listen to their story, non-judgementally. Reflect back and/or paraphrase your understanding. Make sure that your tone of voice and body language match the message you want to give them (i.e. that you’re interested, want to learn more, want to encourage, support, help them etc.). Listen with your eyes and ears. Many times the team member is not saying what they really feel.

Encourage the person to explore changes in how they may do things to help them address any challenges or difficulties they have experienced. Offer suggestions. Constructively challenge ideas that you know are not feasible or practical. This provides further guidance and learning for the person.

Control your emotions

Our emotions don’t prepare us to converse effectively. Keep your focus on your positive intention and positive desired outcome.
Prepare for push back (change and bring below in to the other steps).
Push back is normal. Feedback can seem just “wrong”, “unfair”, “out of context”. This can be frustrating for the receiver, even hurtful or painful. You need to create the right safe environment and space that the person can receive the feedback. To receive the feedback well they need time to ask questions, understand it, share their perspective. If the person is not given the space and safety to do this the conversation will not open up and no new insights, understanding (for both parties) and guidance will come from the discussion.

The action plan

Support the person in coming up with their action plan. Ask, don’t tell. Offer suggestions. Ask them what they can do to implement the steps, how they will measure their progress, how you can support them in the implementation and learning. Offer encouragement and acknowledgement of steps and efforts the person is taking to move forward (even if they are not a 10/10 yet). If our efforts are not acknowledged it is very easy for a person to fall back to the old way.

Simple rules for giving feedback

  1. Be specific versus general
  2. Describe versus evaluate
  3. Focus on behaviour versus the person
  4. Maintain the relationship versus indulge in self-serving behaviour: The reason for the feedback is to help the other person get better
  5. Ask permission to give feedback or share an observation with the person
  6. Share your observation without judgement

Dymphna Ormond is an IMI associate who teaches on Front Line Management and Essential Skills of Management programmes.  Dymphna has over 14 years of experience designing and delivering training that engages, challenges and stimulates the thinking of participants. Her areas of expertise and interest are in employee engagement, leadership and management skills, presenting and communicating with impact.