One of the first questions I receive from new clients is: “What is the difference between HPO and Good to Great from Jim Collins?”. A good and logical question from people who are new with my research into the success factors of High Performance Organizations. Good to Great is one of the 290 studies I conducted in the HPO study.
The difference in approach with researchers such as Peters and Waterman and Jim Collins (Good to Great) is big. These researchers, and many others, made a selection, based on financial analyses, of organizations that perform well or excellently in a certain sector and then compared them to competitors that did not perform as well. It is from this comparison that they then determined the distinguishing characteristics. The weak point of this approach is the first selection: if this is not made carefully, the validity of all other study results can be impugned. And there is always an element of coincidence: Was the correct information available, was the selection made based on the right criteria, were the good organizations compared to the bad ones correctly? In the study approach that the HPO Center used it was not organizations that were selected but potential HPO characteristics. In doing so, a very broad meta-analysis was conducted in which studies from as many scientific disciplines as possible were involved and the professional literature was thoroughly studied. This guarantees that a wide range of elements – such as structure, human, emotional, strategic and material aspects, resources and HRM – have been included in the study. No selection of respondents was made for the questionnaire either; they were randomly selected by participating in workshops that the HPO Center held all over the world. Due to this the study has the broadest basis of all HPO studies that have been conducted until now.
Great isn’t good enough
In the research approach applied by the HPO Center, not one selection of organizations was made in advance. The selection regards potential HPO characteristics that stem from a very broad meta-analysis, whereby studies from as many scientific disciplines as possible were involved and the professional literature was also thoroughly studied. Such comprehensive literature research was not conducted in any other study. This guarantees that in principle all sorts of elements – structure, human, emotional, strategic, material, resources, HRM, etc. – were included. No selection of respondents was made for the questionnaire either; they were randomly involved by showing up at a workshop that the Center held all over the world. Due to this the study conducted by the Center has resulted in the broadest basis of all HPO studies conducted until this point in time. The HPO Center also expressly looked at what does and does not work, something that remains neglected in many other studies. The Center also does research in all branches, not only in the for-profit sector, and in all countries, including in Asia and the developing countries. Openness is always observed: It is clearly documented how the study was conducted and how the data were analyzed and processes and regular presentations are given about this at scientific conferences. This is the scientific way, because research needs to be validated, something that was done for the Center by Cranfield University (Dr. Veronica Martinez).
In conclusion: Good to Great isn’t good enough. The HPO Center continues to do research in order to identify better behaviors that high performance organizations and their people exhibit. This combats the so-called halo effect because the (subjective) opinions of respondents are no longer being inquired about but rather behaviors that can be objectively observed in practice.
Biggest Differences with other HPO Study:
- Not always scientifically based
- Often the study objects are selected in advance
- Frequently limited to the Western world
- Often limited literature research as the basis
- Little (scientific) validation
- Frequent vagueness about how the study was carried out
For more information about the HPO Framework, HPO Diagnosis, our lecturers, HPO Experts, workshops and Master Classes, please contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org or T. +31 (0) 35 – 603 70 07).