Your business is likely losing hundreds of thousands of $ every year because your people are coming to work with a 'go-to-work' mindset. We solve that problem!

Creating a High-Performance Organisation

If it was easy, everyone would be doing it!

Creating a High Performance business isn't easy

Creating a high-performance organisation isn't easy. If it were everyone would be doing it!

Only 2% of organisations are rated as high-performing! If you aren't in that 2% then, like most businesses, you probably have much unrealized potential.

Furthermore, you are likely feeling the mounting pressure to stay competitive. In fact, to thrive, not just survive ... you need to do more with less. And, do so in a way that increases value to six key stakeholders:


  • Customers
  • Team Members
  • Investors
  • Suppliers
  • Regulatory bodies and
  • Your community

The good news is that you can redesign your organisation to produce better products and services. For less money. With fewer people hassles. And, in a way that makes you proud of your impact.

The even better, and somewhat surprising news, is that the pressure you are feeling from your stakeholders is a good thing. That pressure means that you either adapt to a new level of performance or atrophy. And you aren't in the business of going out of business! So welcome the pressure.

Pressure from stakeholders is a good thing!

That pressure means that you either adapt to a new level of performance or atrophy. You aren't in the business of going out of business, so welcome that pressure, rather than railing against it

So, are we agreed?

You need to make the leap into doing things differently!

However, the scary thing is that without well-planned roadmap, you could end up spending a lot of time and money on implementing improvement initiatives, only to see them either not deliver on their promise or fail altogether.

We see that all the time.

The issue with many improvement initiatives is that they are applied in a piecemeal way.

Have you tinkered with:

  • Six Hat Thinking 
  • Six Sigma
  • Management by Walking Around
  • Management by Objectives
  • Learning Organisation
  • Balanced Scorecard
  • And so forth?

My guess is that you've had mixed success with these strategies.

And if you're like most you didn't get the sustainable changes you were hoping for.

Piecemeal application is the reason for that lack of sustainable success. 

High-performing organisations do things differently.

They use a systems approach to look across the entirety of the business. They make sure that all strategies and systems are singing together ...  in harmony. And, they do so, so that all stakeholders win. 

High-performers design into the DNA of the business, the elements that enable people to feel passionate about delivering awesome products and services. What's more, they deliver at a price point that sees everyone (investors, customers, employees, supply chain) rewarded.

This is incredibly important, so underscore this in your mind …

Most companies work to ensure they have the best equipment, technology, and systems ... which is incredibly important. Sadly, however, many companies neglect the most crucial element:  engaging the hearts and minds of their people. 

The simple fact is, people are what make organisation's tick.

Let me explain. If you were to place two businesses side-by-side, then outfit them with the same equipment, technology, and systems, one will outperform. 

Why? Because of the culture created by the people within the walls!

If you want to be the 'rockstars' of your industry you'd best make sure that your culture is perfectly aligned with your customers' needs!

Let's be very clear. Creating a high-performance organisation and culture isn't about helping people to feel good (but, it is a delightful side benefit!).

It is about designing the conditions that deliver results shareholders and customers want by unleashing the potential of your people and systems.

If you want to be a high-performer

deliberately design the conditions that deliver results shareholders and customers want by unleashing the potential of your people and systems

industrial buildings

Two businesses side-by-side. Same buildings. Same technology. One will outperform the other due to the culture created by the people within the walls.

What stops organisations from being high-performing?

The truth is, poor organisation design stops many companies from achieving high-performance. 

Of this, you can be sure ...

every day you, as a leader, are making organisational design choices. Unfortunately, problems emerge when you don't fully appreciate the impact of the choices you make.

As we mentioned earlier, in average-performing companies, the focus is upon the technical system (how you get the job done). And is primarily the responsibility of technical people (e.g. Engineers or Computer Technicians). With often limited input from H.R. 

Consequently, little to no time is spent upon understanding the social system and the needs of the people who will be working with 'the system'.

Poor design means people have to find 'workarounds' to deliver your product/service.


The unfortunate result is that people who work with the resulting design have to live with, and make the best of, what they have.

I can almost guarantee that you've got workarounds happening in your business. Workarounds occur because the system is making it harder than it needs to be for people to get the job done!

I'm pretty confident people in your team are doing the equivalent of driving around the boom gate to get stuff done. And, the even crazier thing is, in my experience, they do this so they can get the product or service to your customer better, cheaper, faster!

When they have to frequently find 'workarounds' they become disengaged. I bet you've got great people working with you, who are operating at sub-optimal levels because your design choices are hindering their performance. 

book gate work around

How often do your people 'drive around the boom gate' to get 'stuff' done more rapidly, effectively, productively?

Watch out!

When  leaders are using 'seat of their pants' decision-making ... you may find that the business performs, but at suboptimal levels

High-performance companies consider both the technical and the social system

In contrast, folks who are focused on creating high-performance, consider the needs of the technical system, along with the social system, AND in context of the results the business is trying to achieve. 

They design their systems, work processes and culture using the input of both Management, H.R, Technical specialists, AND the people who will be working within the system. 

In other words ... 

those who must live with the system are active participants in designing it.

Get that right, and you’ll find that the time-wasting, inefficient workarounds will disappear.


What is Organisation Design?

Organisation design is merely a process of systematically thinking about the way your systems, structures, processes, and people interact to deliver results the business wants. The key word is ... systematically.  

organisation design model

 A systematic Organisation Design Model

Along with a systematic approach, you must have a long-term commitment from the leadership team to follow through, even when it gets tough. 

Realize this: Whether you choose to use a structured design model or not, you are always making design choices (albeit often-times blindly). Those choices impact the culture and work systems and consequently the performance of your business.

Each choice you make impacts on other parts of the system.

Before you begin any redesign process, be mindful of this underpinning principle...

When redesigning an organisation if you make a change in one area it has an impact on other areas.

Simple analogy: if you put mag wheels on a car and do nothing to adjust the steering, braking, and suspension it will not perform to its optimum.

Therefore, the following three principles must be understood by anyone who is about to undertake any type of redesign.

Three principles of organisation design

1. The entire system influences each element within the system

2. Every element in the system influences the entire system and each other

3. No matter what you do, the 2 points above will always hold true

Let’s look at how this works.

Implementing Pay for Performance? Here's what you might need to change ...

Let's say you want to improve business results by moving a significant portion of employees' salaries from 'pay-by-the-hour' to a performance-based system.

What could be some of the systems that could be impacted by such a change? Which of these will you need to ensure doesn't hinder the success of this change? 

Well, there are likely four key systems you need to consider:

1. Information and Decision-Making System
2. People System
3. Organisation Structure
4. Work Processes

Let's take a look at each of these in more depth.

The Information & Decision-making System

The quantity of information given to team members may need to be increased. The speed at which they receive it and their ability to use that information to improve results may need to be enhanced.

You may need to implement a robust performance reporting system so people can see immediately how they are tracking. You may need to give them the authority to make whatever adjustments are necessary to improve performance.

The way decisions are made and the level at which they are made may need changing. Authority to decide might need to be shifted further down the organisation so that people can make decisions that enable them to influence/improve results more quickly.

The People System

You may need to implement new skills training for people to enable them to understand how to interpret information.

You may need to grow their capability in understanding the broader context of the decisions they make.

You may need to train and develop leaders to be more inclusive, more engaging. Unfortunately, many change programs suffer because leaders aren’t prepared to let the ‘control’ reins go. Leaders shifting their mindsets and giving team members the freedom they need is generally critical.

You may need to train your entire team to think like business owners and entrepreneurs, so they have more ownership over the results.

The Organisation Structure

Departments may need to be integrated, or roles significantly changed so that artificial/turf barriers don't get in the way of the program working.

Work Processes

Work flows, procedures and policies may need to be changed for the bonus system to achieve its objectives (which is to improve business performance).

This is critical: 

Not making adjustments in interdependent systems is sure to make any redesign/change process sub-par.

Unfortunately, I've witnessed people come and benchmark against companies I've worked with. They pick up on elements of the design and decide to implement those elements and then fail miserably. 


Good question! Well ...

They may have seen that a 'pay-for-performance’ strategy works. However, because they don't fully grasp the three principles of organisation design, they implement haphazardly. 

They may not give enough emphasis and consideration to how they need to change/enhance other interdependent systems to enable the program to succeed.

Successful high-performance design is founded upon an understanding of how each of the following elements impacts each other and impacts on the organisation's performance: 

  • External environment (competitors, government, customers)
  • Organisational goals
  • Organisational structure  
  • Policies/Rules
  • Beliefs
  • Work processes
  • Information and Decision-making systems
  • People systems
  •  Reward and Recognition systems 

To shift your culture, you need to adjust the design that glues it together ... and understand the impact of those design choices.

It is important to note that your organisation's design needs to be flexible and agile enough to shift with changing needs. It also needs to be resilient enough to stand the test of time.

When Is A Re-Design Needed?

The reason for engaging in major re-design activities is because your business needs to change, in a sweeping way in order to be competitive.

A quick and easy way to decide if you need to do more than tinker with an improvement initiative is to take a look at the satisfaction levels of your three key stakeholders.

If you have any one of the three in this triangle discontented, then that is your clue that you need a re-design of your work processes and systems.

contented stakeholders

Don't mistake continuous improvement for organisational design.


Continuous improvement is more about small, step-by-step changes. A re-design is about large-scale change that impacts many areas of your business.

Don't be mistaken ...

Creating a high-performance culture isn't about putting people in teams, providing quality of work life and balance.  

Nor is it about your leaders going to a course and learning how to be agreeable, inclusive and inspiring!

It's about delivering the results that your stakeholders want

Case Study - Creating high-performance in a facility that had lost 25% of available workdays due to strike action

Some years ago, I worked with a manufacturing team to help them redesign their organisation so they could deliver high-performance results. 

Their business was being hammered by industrial action (one year they lost 25% of available workdays due to strikes). Their culture was crummy. There was massive distrust between the front-line teams and management. The vast majority of team members had low skill levels, English as a second language and had been with the company for more than 15 years. 

Their new CEO had a clear vision and mission. He knew that for this facility to stay open things had to change and change in a sweeping way.

During the redesign process, there were hundreds and hundreds of changes made. Their most significant re-design choice was to change the way they had set up their organisational structure. 

Before the redesign, the manufacturing process had been broken up into several smaller teams. Unfortunately, this caused teams to be concerned about only 'their neck of the woods,' and there were substantial productivity losses, significant downtime, and a large morale/engagement issue.  

As the team went through their re-design process, they chose to combine all these small teams into one entire team - responsible for the production process as a whole (from start to finish).

Just to be clear, whilst that choice was right for this company, it may not be the right choice for any other business.

Without that major re-design of their work practices and workflow, the hundreds of other changes they made would have just been tinkering at the edges.


Minor changes would have not addressed the major element that was holding them back from being high-performing.  

Within 18 months that facility had transformed. It became one of the highest-producing plants within the entire company. It was a model for how you can shift a culture from adversarial and low-performing, into one of the ‘rockstar' factories of this large multi-national.


Much of the work outlined above, will be done regardless of whether you use a Design Model or not. 

However, to reiterate each part of the system impacts and interacts with all other parts of the system. You cannot design a single component of the system without considering its effect on the total system. 

By working to a co-ordinated design, you will give yourself the best possible chance at delivering exceptional results. 

If you are developing a greenfield site, this is the optimal time to use a deliberate design process. I highly recommend you have the Design Team come together as soon as possible - before construction begins if possible.   

Your Leadership Team is the critical component in the success of your business, both during start-up and in on-going operation. Make sure they receive a lot of development, coaching and mentoring to shift them to high-performance mindsets and behaviours. If you don't, even the best design in the world will fail.

If you haven't already done so, take the high-performance audit, and assess where your organisation rates and where you need to put your attention.

Take advantage of your free 30-minute strategy session

If you are looking for ways to dramatically improve your personal performance, your team's performance, your organisation's performance, then set up your 30-minute free strategy session with Shelley.  Use this link to use our online calendar to schedule


Regardless of whether you decide to continue to work with Shelley in the future, you'll walk away from that session with ideas, tips, tactics you'll be able to action straight away and shift into a new gear.