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The Evidence: Performance Effects of the HPO Framework

Since the introduction of the HPO framework in 2007, many organizations have undergone an HPO transformation. Often, an HPO diagnosis marked the beginning of the journey towards high performance. This allowed us to closely study the application and performance effects of the HPO framework in various organizations worldwide. Many of our findings have been published in diverse scientific publications and management literature. André de Waal’s latest book, ‘The 5 Principles of High Performance Leadership,’ describes some performance effects of the HPO framework. Frequently, there is a demand for evidence that working on the HPO characteristics is effective. This article provides several examples.

Since we collected all data from the HPO diagnoses in our HPO database (which currently contains data from over 56,000 respondents worldwide), we were able to confirm that the HPO framework is generally applicable in many different countries and sectors. This can be explained because the HPO characteristics are essentially evergreen general management characteristics. These characteristics are always important for building and maintaining a high-performing organization, regardless of the culture (country, industry, type) in which the organization operates. Managers must always pay attention to these characteristics when determining what actions they need to take to lead their organizations to excellent performance and superior results.

We have also found that some features of the HPO framework (such as agility, empowerment and employee engagement, and performance management) are very relevant in modern management. This is good news because it means that organizations are increasingly aware that they need to manage differently than before to improve their quality and performance and become more attractive to employees. Since 2007, we have mainly conducted longitudinal research: focusing on the long-term effects of applying the HPO framework in an organization.

The table below summarizes the performance effects of the HPO framework:

Organization Sector Effects
ARK Data Centres (UK) IT Doubling of revenue and profit
Atlas Consortium (UK) IT Increased trust between consortium partners, resulting in more error-free delivered products and higher customer satisfaction
ccpc (Zambia) Government Revenue growth of 144% and recognition by the World Bank as one of the best government organizations globally
European multinational Food Clear behavioral changes: more dialogue and information exchange within the organization, a more approachable CEO, and a clearly shared goal
Grohe (Netherlands) Manufacturing/Retail Negative effects of the economic crisis were strongly suppressed, making the organization the number one in the industry
Iringa University College (Tanzania) Education Achieved financial stability; ranked among the top 10 best East African universities; significant increase in the number of students and highly qualified teachers
LIMOR (Netherlands) Healthcare Negative effects of financial expenditure policy mitigated, allowing the organization to perform better than comparable healthcare organizations
Longfellow Benefits (USA) Private Finance Negative effects of economic downturn in the financial sector reduced, allowing the organization to achieve much higher revenue and hire more employees (and also received recognition for this) than comparable financial institutions that were struggling
Nabil Bank (Nepal) Banking Achieved top position in the industry (in terms of financial margins)
neh (Philippines) Food Revenue growth of 300%
Red Bull (Netherlands) Food The HPO framework prevented the organization from collapsing due to rapid growth, not only by guiding the organization’s growth in the right direction but also by helping the organization manage controlled rapid growth
Swagelok, 7 distributors (USA) Business to Business Various distributors experienced (significant) financial growth, while others were able to adequately manage the negative economic conditions in their local markets; also saw growth in the quality of employees and internal organization
Ziggo (Netherlands) Media Doubling of revenue and highest customer satisfaction scores in the industry

Below is a brief description of the performance effects of the HPO framework:

  • ARK, one of the largest suppliers of high-reliability data centers, used the HPO framework to ensure that the quality of the internal organization could keep up with the rapid growth the company was experiencing. Through a series of HPO diagnoses, during which the company continued to work on the HPO focal points, the company managed to control and even accelerate its growth rate. At the same time, ARK improved the quality of its services.
  • ATLAS, a British consortium of IT companies working for the UK Ministry of Defence, used the HPO diagnosis to improve the quality of collaboration and achieve the results agreed with the Ministry. To this end, the consortium conducted various HPO diagnoses over four years and worked on the HPO focal points in the interim periods. The consortium experienced several improvements: better relationships, greater trust and communication between collaborating organizations, increased employee engagement, more requests handled from users worldwide, and external recognition from British government committees as the consortium demonstrated that successful large-scale collaboration is possible.
  • In its quest to become a prosperous middle-income country by 2030, Zambia realized it needed to develop a strong economy to increase gross national product. One way the country’s government pursued this goal was by developing high-performance organizations. Applying the HPO framework at the Zambian Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) significantly improved financial and operational performance in two years while also enhancing internal and external communication. This also applied to employee morale, customer service, and CCPC’s reputation for efficiency and integrity.
  • In a sector where markets are becoming increasingly saturated and competition more intense, multinationals are diversifying their portfolios. They seek new work areas, standardization to benefit from economies of scale, and an overall improvement in the quality of their organization. To do this successfully, a European multinational decided to transform itself into an HPO. Within six months, the organization had significantly improved behavioral aspects, including improved communication and employee engagement, and was able to embark on a path of sustainable innovation.
  • The Dutch branch of Grohe, a large European manufacturer and supplier of kitchen and bathroom accessories, decided to conduct two HPO diagnoses. By working on the HPO focal points, Grohe’s management found that the organization had regained its energy and that the winning mentality had returned. The company particularly improved the HPO factor ‘Openness and Action Orientation,’ as departments now regularly meet to discuss and take action. Additionally, new products were successfully introduced, and a new successful market approach emerged. Sales and profits doubled, and market share increased in a tough, highly competitive market.
  • Iringa University College, a private university in Tanzania, aimed to improve the quality of its internal organization and conducted two HPO diagnoses, two years apart. In the interim period, the organization worked on the HPO focal points. During the second HPO diagnosis, the university reported the following performance improvements, attributed to the application of the HPO framework: the university was now among the top ten universities in East Africa, received national and international recognition and attention, recruited and retained more students, improved the quality of education, significantly expanded, achieved higher employee satisfaction, and became financially healthy.
  • LIMOR, a Dutch healthcare institution, used the HPO framework to counteract or mitigate the negative effects of external developments, such as changed funding methods by the Dutch government. These could have disastrous consequences not only for the financial position of healthcare institutions but also for their ability to provide care to their clients. The HPO framework helped LIMOR to develop a sense of urgency in the right places, allowing people to focus on the right things in the right way. This led to significantly better performance compared to similar healthcare institutions.
  • Longfellow Benefits, a Boston-based intermediary advising companies on their choice of health insurance, pension funds, and compensation systems, conducted an HPO diagnosis to find out if and how the already successful company could further improve. The first diagnosis identified several improvement points, which the company diligently worked on despite the severe financial and economic recession facing the industry. The second diagnosis showed that Longfellow had maintained its HPO status and even realized an increase in staff, customers, and revenue. The company was named the best employer in Boston for several consecutive years.
  • Nabil Bank Limited, the first foreign joint venture in Nepal’s banking sector, conducted two HPO diagnoses within two years. These diagnoses compared the bank’s performance with that of comparable Nepalese banks. The comparison showed that Nabil Bank scored the highest in return on total assets and non-performing loans.
  • NEH, a banana grower and exporter in the Philippines, addressed the focal points identified in the HPO diagnosis. This resulted in an HPO mindset throughout the company: dedication to one goal and one team, with engaging in conversation being one of the main activities. The company achieved an increase in net productive area from 50 hectares to 250 hectares per year, an improvement in banana quality from 50% to 90% Class A, and increased revenue.
  • Red Bull Netherlands was a young, rapidly growing company at significant risk of going under. The company struggled to manage the fast-rising sales. More and more mistakes were being made in the ordering, delivery, and payment processes, putting the ambitious goal ofThe Evidence: - Performance Effects of the HPO Framework doubling sales in the next three years at risk. The management team decided to use the HPO framework to strengthen the internal organization to manage current and future growth and allow the company to grow in a controlled manner. The HPO framework clarified which areas needed strengthening. By addressing these areas vigorously, Red Bull Netherlands managed not only to achieve the desired growth but even exceeded it without any quality issues.
  • A group of seven sales and service locations of Swagelok, a North American manufacturer of fluid system components, applied the HPO diagnosis twice in two years. In the interim period, the focal points identified for each location were worked on. During the second diagnosis, the effects of the HPO framework application were evaluated, revealing that results varied by location. Some locations experienced growth, while others used the HPO framework to manage deteriorating economic conditions. However, all locations agreed that the HPO framework had played a positively essential role in the further development of their organization and employees. In some locations, this had already led to better financial performance.
  • The management of the customer relations department at Ziggo, a Dutch provider of media and communication services, decided to apply the HPO framework when it became clear that processes around customer service needed improvement and financial goals needed to be met. The management developed a strategy to give employees more responsibility in achieving department goals and to stimulate teamwork. At the same time, results were measured and shared. Over five years, the department implemented sustainable improvements: employee satisfaction increased, profits nearly doubled, and the struggling department achieved an unprecedented customer satisfaction score of 7.5 (on a scale of 10).

The HPO Center is the sparring partner for organizations that truly want a breakthrough in improving performance. We never tell you what you want to hear but hold up an honest mirror. Based on the scientifically proven HPO Framework, complemented by robust dialogues with your managers and employees. Are you interested, have questions, or want to know more about our experiences in your sector? Please contact Marco Schreurs (or T. 035-6037007).