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Handbook of Corporate Performance Management by Mike Bourne, Pippa Bourne

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Chapter 18

Creating a Culture of High Performance

18.1 INTRODUCTION

Good corporate performance is achieved by knowing what you are aiming for, being as certain as you can that the actions you are taking are going to lead to where you want to be and ensuring those actions are carried out at the right level. While it is not easy, all these steps can be worked out analytically with an added element of good judgement. You can use the tools described in the earlier chapters to create a model performance measurement system but what you will not be able to do with the tools on their own is to create higher levels of performance over the longer term.

In Chapter 1 we referred to the work of James Collins and Jerry Porras. Theirs is not the only work conducted into corporate performance over sustained periods of time. Arie de Geus, Corporate Planning Director at Royal Dutch Shell, explored the idea in his book The Living Company: Habits for Survival in a Turbulent Business Environment, in which he shows that organisations which are successful in the long term regard themselves as ‘living work communities’ rather than purely economic machines. These ‘living’ companies were sensitive to the world around them, they had a sense of cohesion and corporate identity and, interestingly, they also had a management syle tolerant of some experimentation and eccentricity with decentralised structures and delegated authority.

Contrary to what many people believe, there are usually plenty of ideas for ...

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