What makes an idea sticky? For me, a picture is extremely helpful. Not only can an image create a memory hook, the right picture can provide understanding and even insight. While thinking and writing about High Performance Organizations over the last several years, I’ve been searching for just such a picture.

Here’s what I’ve come up with to describe a High Performance Organization…

Imagine a tug-of-war with a leader on one end and his or her team on the other. In the beginning, the leader often finds himself or herself pulling against their team – trying to get them to follow procedures or use the systems, or even show up to work on time.

Then, at the point of frustration or exhaustion, many leaders recruit a few members of the team to join them on the leader’s side of the rope. Now, he or she is not pulling alone, the leader now has a leadership team and it does make the job easier. The fundamental problem with this approach: you are still pulling against the majority of your team.

In a High Performance Organization, the leader and his or her leadership team invite everyone to join them on the same side of the rope! Together, they pull against their competition and toward their goals. Rather than just relying on the strength of your leaders, this approach allows you to enjoy the strength of your entire workforce. Every leader is in a tug-of-war… the real question is who are you pulling against, your own people or the competition? 

If you think your organization may be missing an opportunity by not working better together; or you have a nagging sense of untapped potential in your workforce, you may want to check out my new book, Chess Not Checkers. It’s about the specific steps great organizations take to get everyone on the same side of the rope, pulling together to win![GLS_Shield]

How many of your employees are on your side of the rope?

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Author: Mark Miller

Mark is a business leader, author, communicator, photographer, husband, and father. He spends his time helping leaders grow.