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    What Is a High-Performance Organization?

    You’re either the best or part of the rest.

    By Terry McKenna, Convenience Store Coaches

    Some organizations spend too much time watching what their competitors do and not enough time on what they should be doing. Don’t get me wrong, I believe you should most definitely keep an eye on your competitors; just don’t become consumed with them.

    Since we’re taking about eyes, if you keep both eyes on your customer, taking care of their ever-changing needs and wants, you’ll be a success. Taking care of your customers starts by taking care of your business.

    High-performance organizations (HPOs) consistently outperform the competition and produce profitable growth year after year. HPOs are the best of the best. They are admired by their competitors and are the benchmark for their respective industries.

    HPOs attract the best people, develop them to their fullest, get the best performance out of them, and retain them. HPOs operate at optimal levels – operational efficiency, with employees fully engaged and performing on all cylinders.

    HPOs lead, they don’t follow. They are battletested and strategically flexible. They redefine success by challenging conventional wisdom, examining out-of-date beliefs, ridding themselves of complacency, redefining the status quo and changing the rules of engagement. They play by different rules: their rules.

    They are agile, highly adaptable and aggressive, have a capacity for continual renewal and learning, know what they don’t know, and use speed as a competitive weapon. They focus on causes, not symptoms. HPOs are characterized by their high, non-comprising standards, persistence and optimism. The only thing HPOs are afraid of is getting complacent.

    What distinguishes HPOs from the average-performing companies is not better human resources processes, but rather the fundamental belief in the importance of talent. It’s about leaders and managers at all levels embracing a talent mindset.

    HPOs are organizations where imagination and initiative flourish. They harvest the collective brilliance of everyone in the organization regardless of job title – a mindset of “All of us are smarter than any of us; many usually outperform the few.” Everyone’s voice is heard, which is different than merely having a vote.

    HPOs make work fulfilling and enriching. HPO leaders develop their employees with challenging assignments that stretch them. They think enough about their employees to push them beyond what they even think they’re capable of and, as a result, they succeed.

    HPOs have a laser-like focus on performance – employee performance and satisfying existing customers, rather than on winning over new customers. They are willing to ask: What new management challenge, if mastered, would give us a unique performance advantage?

    HPOs pursue revolutionary goals, but take evolutionary steps. They drive higher performance, productivity and profits. They have built a platform for sustainable, profitable growth.

    Personal Assessment

    So, do you have a HPO? If not, you’re certainly not alone. HPOs are the elite, the top-tier 2 percent within their respective industries.

    If you’re not an HPO, that doesn’t mean you should not pursue becoming one. It only requires one thing: commitment. Commitment to begin the journey, and commitment to see it through.

    The pursuit of transforming your organization, be it one store or a thousand stores, into a HPO will enable you to attract the best employees and get the best out of them, and develop a loyal following of customers.

    Look at it this way: How would you feel if you decided to pass on trying to become a HPO, but your competitors decided to undertake the challenge? How would that impact your business?

    If your end game is to attract a buyer for your stores and bank a sweet EBITDA multiple, or leave a thriving legacy business for your children, the pursuit of excellence and becoming the best will get you there.

    Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner.

    By Terry McKenna, Convenience Store Coaches
    • About Terry McKenna Terry McKenna is principal and co-founder of Convenience Store Coaches Inc. and Employee Performance Strategies Inc., where he helps convenience retailers achieve greater financial results by optimizing their workforce. McKenna can be reached at (910) 458-5227 or [email protected] He also maintains a blog at www.terrymckenna.typepad.com.

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