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High Performance Organisation Definition

A High Performance Organisation is an organisation that achieves financial and non-financial results that are exceedingly better than those of its peer group over a period of time of five years or more, by focusing in a disciplined way on that which really matters to the organisation.”
High Performance Organisation Definition by André de Waal – HPO Center

This definition of a High Performance Organisation consists of several interesting parts worth discussing

High-Performance-Organisation-DefinitionFirstly, high performance is relative. In other words, performance can only be denoted as ‘high’ when it is compared to a peer group. This peer group comprises competitors, in the case of profit companies, or comparable organisations, in the case of non-profit organizations or governmental agencies.

Secondly, organisations which have done well for a period of one, two or three years are not considered to a High Performance Organisation. High performance is characterized by sustainable good results over a prolonged period of time. So a High Performance Organisation not just performs well because it was lucky but because it has been doing the right things right. The limit of five years was chosen because the assumption was that most organisations have a strategic plan, with an average time horizon of three years, aimed at increasing performance and beating the peer group. So five years was chosen because after that period it can be evaluated in retrospect whether the organisation has indeed achieved its aim of doing better than the peer group.

Thirdly, recent research shows that it is very difficult for organisations to achieve consistent growth, even at modest rates. The cases I studied reveal that a High Performance Organisation know what makes them successful for a prolonged time. They have the discipline not to be distracted by the newest management fad but stick to their knitting. This means that they continue to do what made them successful (processes, systems, behavior) and that their improvement efforts will always be aimed at making these continuously better. A High Performance Organisation know that deviating from this path may mean getting into trouble and declining performance, so management is keen on keeping the discipline.

The Definition of a High Performance Organisation by André de Waal MSc MBA PhD is a working definition. For more information about the HPO Research or our HPO Services visit the pages.

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