Learming Hub
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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, http://www.pmi.org/~/media/PDF/Publications/WhyGoodStrategiesFail_Report_EIU_PMI.ashx  
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] => https://www.imi.ie/?p=12567 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 13041 [post_author] => 7 [post_date] => 2015-11-19 16:33:16 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-11-19 16:33:16 [post_content] =>

“There are two certainties in life, death and taxes” said Brad Pitt in the 1998 movie  “Meet Joe Black”. Actually I believe there is a third certainty, problems.

wrong solution car

Source: www.cliparthut.com

Problems are part of the journey of life, we cannot move forward without dealing with some sort of problem from the most primordial of finding food and shelter, to the most trivial of choosing the right colour tie for your next meeting. The fact is that problems are very deceiving, in so many ways they are also similar to illnesses in that we despise them deeply. Like illnesses we become aware of them only when they hurt, by which time it is probably already too late to stop them doing some damage. Once we become aware of a problem and feel its pain we tend to treat the symptoms rather than truly tackling the causes. And again, like illnesses if we leave serious problems untreated and only tend to their symptoms they generally turn into even bigger problems and sometimes far to advance to be able to fix them.

Are you feeling the pain yet?

If you are, don’t panic just quite yet. Most problems can be resolved quite easily by simply understanding them and exploring them from different angles. We often believe there is only one right solution to a problem, in reality the solution to every problem doesn't depend on its symptoms but on its desired outcome. Exploring a problem from different angles allows us to gain clarity on what is going on and provide us with the opportunity to formulate a number of options and alternatives to focus on achieving what is truly important.

Do you feel as healthy as a fish?

If you don't then perhaps you should question why? Problems become serious only if we ignore smaller issues that don’t seem to mean much when they surface. Because they are so trivial and don’t seem to have an impact on the overall big picture such small issues tend to go unchecked until they become big enough. Then this requires all hands on deck to resolve and will distract everyone from performing the way they could. It is important to question the potential impact of small issues. What can happen if you don’t tackle them? What are they the symptoms of? What critical values are they eroding in your organisation?

Have you had these symptoms before?

If you have then it doesn't mean what is happening right now is the same as what you have experienced before. It might be the same problem but almost certainly the conditions in which its presenting itself are very different and the solution that worked before might not work this time. Experience forms connections in our brain between situations and actions. This is very useful when we operate under pressure but most often it causes us to make rushed decision and bad choices. It is always important to understand: What is different this time? How different are the causes from my previous experience? Which new conditions are causing the problem this time?

dr google

Source: www.drlinda-md.com

Googling won’t make it better, it will almost certainly make you feel worse!

Today it’s easy to “Google” any problem and find ready made solutions very quickly. The internet is indeed a powerful resource to find interesting answers and ideas but remember your problem has very unique characteristics and to be able to solve it effectively it is important to involve the people around you that are connected with it.

Most of the time fresh eyes help finding new and innovative solutions but before throwing all your energy on any external solution it is important to be candid and open up with what is really going on internally.

  Fabio Grassi is the Programme Director for Innovative Problem Solving, a two day programme which runs on the 26th & 27th of November 2015. Fabio is a specialist in the development of team performance, collaboration and motivation.  [post_title] => Are you treating the right problem? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => bugging-treating-right-problem [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-11 20:28:03 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-11 20:28:03 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.imi.ie/?p=13041 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 4771 [post_author] => 7 [post_date] => 2013-07-12 11:16:59 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-07-12 11:16:59 [post_content] => The furore from the Lions tour regarding the selection of Wales' Jonathan Davies over Ireland's Brian O’Driscoll was sustained and vociferous; but it shouldn't have been over nationality, rather over what it revealed in terms of the squad's high performance culture and leadership. Dropping O’Driscoll begs the question: what is leadership Since the subsequent win I've heard a lot of famous former players apologising over their pre-game stance.  Many of the pundits and commentators who had criticised Gatland's team selection were labelled as having been myopic with regard to nationality, and rightly so, where it was genuinely only parochialism.  But regardless of the result no one should apologise for seeing the essence of the Lions experience being lost. In business they say culture eats strategy for breakfast.  In sport, I believe culture eats results for breakfast. Of course the result, and high margin of victory over Australia did somewhat vindicate Gatland.  But would the same team, with the same style, have beaten New Zealand or South Africa? The Lions rugby team is a unique concept which blends the best of the talents and styles of four nations.  Like many modern professional teams its strength is in a culture that merges complementary styles of play thus requiring leadership that takes account of that culture.  By selecting a centre partnership from his Welsh national set-up Gatland reached for a tried-and-tested (and admittedly successful) solution, but inadvertently revealed a lack of faith in the culture he’d managed to build up amongst the squad and for which he had responsibility for delivering. In the warm glow of the series victory Gatland has already pressed his claims to coach the Lions in his native New Zealand in 4-years time. I believe that would be the wrong choice, because only with a proper blend of the four nations, using the best of each of their styles and cultures will they be a success against the reigning World Champions. Gatland, via his selection, revealed he was unable to do that in Australia and this must be borne in mind when choosing the next management and coaching team. If culture eats results for breakfast then a Gatland-coached squad would be eaten alive in New Zealand. Alistair Tosh is Director of Executive Education at the Irish Management Institute and is a specialist in leadership development.    [post_title] => Culture eats results for breakfast: Warren Gatland - right or wrong? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => culture-eats-results-for-breakfast-warren-gatland-right-or-wrong-6 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-11 21:40:40 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-11 21:40:40 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.imi.ie/news-and-events/?p=1795 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )
David Sammon

David Sammon

10th Mar 2017

David Sammon is an IMI associate and Professor (Information Systems) at Cork University Business School (CUBS), University College Cork (UCC).

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And the result: A workforce with the right capabilities & willing to go the extra mile
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Culture eats results for breakfast: Warren Gatland - right or wrong?

Visualising a Person on a Page: Who am I?

One of the main things that has driven me in my life is the desire to be unique. In fact, throughout my professional career, I have focused on building capabilities to help maintain my uniqueness. For me one of these capabilities is visual thinking and simply trying to represent data in a visual form to better tell, or perhaps I should say, sell, my story.

One such visual I created in December 2015 is titled “Who Am I?”. The visual template is effectively a person on a page. See the figure below which is effectively me on a page! The motivation for creating this visual was down to the fact that I had a short presentation to deliver and didn’t have time to introduce myself in any great detail. So having this visual on screen for a minute or so, as I thanked the event organisers for inviting me to speak, seemed like a great opportunity to allow the audience to get to know who I really am without having to say a word about myself. A funny story from that event – this visual was on screen for around 60 seconds, and I asked the audience of just over 50 “what can you tell about me?”, to which, almost immediately, I received a reply from one member of the audience “you love sugar”! The outcome was a room full of laughter (including me J). This cost me some presentation time, and the irony of this is also not lost on me! However, once again I had witnessed first-hand the power and uniqueness of being visual.

Who am I? (Photo source)

Following this first use of the “Who Am I?” visual I then decided to share it on LinkedIn. The reaction was again somewhat comical as people shared their impressions of me through comments on the LinkedIn post. My favourite comment was “IMI is a change from changing nappies!”. Other comments on the visual template itself ranged from “very clear and interesting way to introduce yourself” to “very data geekish” and “really like this visual way to display layered data, seemingly unrelated”. In fact, after sharing the visual on LinkedIn, I also received several requests for the visual template from people saying they wanted to create their own person on a page! Following this, I also received some visual efforts, which were great to see. I am aware of one person who put their “person on a page” visual in a job application form (he got the job!).

Since its creation, I now also use this visual as part of my workshop facilitation toolkit. It’s a great icebreaker, and I offer €10 to the funniest observation that can be made about me before the end of the day. Some of the funniest observations have included: “perhaps an overuse of dax wax” and “a colourful past in black and white”. Furthermore, in 2016 I too used this visual in an application form. I can’t claim that it amounted to much, as part of my application, but perhaps it didn’t hurt my efforts to sell my story either (I got the job!).

So my advice is to always strive to be unique. If nothing else, its good fun as you build your visual thinking capability!

David is an IMI associate and Professor (Information Systems) at Cork University Business School (CUBS), University College Cork (UCC). David’s research interests focus on the areas of conceptual/logical data modelling, agility, master data design, theory and theory-building, and redesigning organisational routines through mindfulness. As part of the  IMI Diploma in Data Business participants are introduced to a range of discursive templates in an effort to promote a visual thinking mindset for the purposes of unlocking business value from business data.