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Revolutionizing the workplace: Achieving a performance-based culture

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How can organizations develop a supportive work environment that supports growth, empowers employees, and stimulates collaboration?

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To revolutionize the workplace in today’s dynamic and unpredictable business climate, organizations must have a strong performance-based culture. So, what exactly is this culture, and how can organizations develop a supportive work environment that supports growth, empowers employees, and stimulates collaboration?

Shifting the mindsets of employees and leaders inside an organization is the first step toward building a healthy performance-based culture. Shifting away from traditional command-and-control management practices and towards a more collaborative and inclusive approach may clearly be seen as waves of transformation and change at work.

The 5-Level Emergent Model Leadership (also known as The Management Shift framework), shown below, provides a framework for this approach, outlining five levels of leadership that define the culture inside any particular organization.

By using this Model as a guide, organizations can create a culture that fosters improvement in an inclusive way.

The Emergent Leadership Model below outlines specific thinking patterns, behavior, language, leadership style, and organizational outcomes for each level.

Level 1 is characterized by apathy or destructive behavior, while Level 2 is characterized by reluctant behavior where employees do a minimum that can get away with, just to be paid. Level 3 is bureaucratic and based on command and control. There is a significant shift to highly engaged and inventive performance at Level 4. Level 5 is where passionate individuals creatively and inspiringly make a difference in the world. Keywords at Level 4 include trust, transparency, purpose, collaboration, passion, giving back, and having fun at work.

Emergent Leadership Model

Here are some key steps that organizations can take to achieve a healthy performance-based (Level 4) culture:

Encourage a growth mindset

Encouraging a growth mindset is crucial to creating a healthy performance-based culture. A growth mindset is a belief that abilities can be developed through hard work and dedication. By promoting this mindset, organizations can inspire employees to embrace a learning culture where they continuously seek to improve.

Set Clear Expectations

Clear expectations are essential to creating a performance-based culture. Employees need to know what is expected of them in order to perform at their best. Clear expectations also help to create a sense of accountability, which is essential to driving performance. When employees know what is expected of them, they are more likely to take ownership of their work and strive to achieve their goals.

Provide regular feedback

Providing regular feedback is essential to fostering improvement. Employees need to know how they are doing in order to make meaningful progress. Feedback should be timely, specific, and actionable. It should also be delivered in a way that is supportive and encourages improvement, rather than being critical or punitive. When employees receive regular feedback, they are more likely to feel engaged and motivated to improve.

 Empower employees

Empowering employees means giving them the autonomy and resources they need to succeed. This can include providing access to training and development opportunities, giving employees the freedom to make decisions and take risks, and providing the necessary resources and support to achieve their goals. Empowering employees helps to create a sense of ownership and accountability, which is essential to driving performance.

Foster collaboration

Collaboration is essential to creating an inclusive performance-based Level 4 culture. When employees work together, they can share ideas, learn from one another, and work towards common goals. Collaboration can also help to create a sense of community and belonging, which is essential to creating a positive employee experience. By fostering collaboration, organizations can create a culture that values diversity and inclusivity.

Celebrate success

Celebrating success is essential to creating a culture that fosters improvement in an inclusive way. Recognizing and rewarding employees for their achievements can help to create a sense of pride and motivation. Celebrating success can take many forms, such as public recognition, bonuses, or promotions. It is important to celebrate success in a way that is meaningful and aligned with the organization’s values.

Avoid micromanagement

Micromanagement is a sure-fire way to damage the employee experience and undermine a healthy performance-based culture. Instead of micromanaging employees, organizations should focus on empowering them and providing them with the resources and support they need to succeed. When employees feel trusted and supported, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated.

To summarize, creating a performance-based culture goes beyond achieving corporate goals; it also involves providing an excellent employee experience. By adopting The Management Shift approach (the 5 Level Emergent Leadership Model), organizations can establish a culture that prioritizes growth, feedback, empowerment, collaboration, and employee success. Through this approach, organizations can drive performance inclusively, motivating workers to achieve their potential and make a positive impact on the world.


Vlatka Ariaana Hlupic is Professor of Leadership and Management at Hult International Business School (Ashridge) and founder and CEO of Management Shift Solutions Limited.

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