Two Things the Best High Performance Organizations Will Do In 2022

By Nicole Bendaly

The pandemic took the world by storm in 2020, and organizations of all sizes were hit with a wave of changes that nobody could have predicted. As a result, the world of work has been changed forever – and it continues to change.

Organizations have had to find new ways to not just survive but to thrive in an uncertain world. Leaders have had to find new ways to engage and support their teams while continuing to drive results. And employees have had to find new ways to work and to balance the demands of work and home. It’s been a learning curve, but one that we’ve all been on together.

Working with some of Canada’s top organizations as part of the Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures awards program, Waterstone has identified the two things the best culture-focused organizations have done during the pandemic to ensure that they stayed on top and continue to thrive – and that they will continue to do in order to differentiate themselves from the rest.

  1. Attract, hire, and develop culturepreneurs

A culturepreneur is a leader who leads with the intention to put culture first, and who shows up in a way that will craft a high performance culture within the organization. Culturepreneurs know that culture is the key differentiator and an organization’s true competitive advantage

Why is it important to build an organization of culturepreneur? We know that leaders have the biggest influence on the culture of the organization, and so intentionally attracting, hiring and developing leaders who will put culture first is differentiator – now and forever more.

Top organizations know that they need to leverage culture to drive performance and culturepreneurs are a key part of how they’re going to achieve that. Those clients that we’ve worked with at Waterstone that have transitioned to a culturepreneurial, high performance culture have seen incredible results:

  • doubled their revenue;
  • quadrupled their EBITDA;
  • improved employee net promoter scores;
  • improved retention and recruitment; and
  • are able to attract the best of the best when it comes to talent.

A culture is created based on the behaviours and practices that people demonstrate every day, so organizations want to ensure that their leaders are aligned on culture, and that they know the behaviors and practices that are essential to driving performance with the organization. Too many organizations focus too much on strategy and forget about culture; culturepreneurs know that culture belongs at the centre of strategy.

Learn more about the five attributes of a culturepreneur and how you can assess the levels of each attribute within your team by downloading our free ebook.

  1. Intentionally craft a high performance culture.

Leaders and organizations have two choices: assume their culture is just fine, cross their fingers and hope for the best; or, choose to intentionally craft a culture that will attract the best talent and enable their people to drive the performance of the organization.

Those organizations that focus on intentionally crafting a high performance culture will succeed no matter what’s thrown at them. To do this, senior leadership teams need to operationalize company culture and embed it within the everyday operations of each and every function across the organization (not just HR or the office of the CEO).

In high performing organizations people know they are accountable for culture, and they feel accountable to the culture. They know that culture doesn’t happen to them, that they create it. Organizations need to be intentional about where they want to go culture-wise, and enable their people to share ideas and get engaged with the culture along the way. Because unless people know where the organization is going, and what their role is in achieving that vision, organizations won’t reach their goals.

So where to start?  First, build leadership team alignment around finding culturepreneurs who put culture at the centre of strategy, and around deliberately crafting a high performance culture. Then spend the time to understand the organization’s current culture, and ask questions and engage others across the organization to help define the ideal culture. When leaders are focused on attracting, hiring, and building culturepreneurs and intentionally crafting a high performance culture, the organization will be set up for success and will be among the best of the best in 2022.

Learn more about how Waterstone can help.