World thought leaders in High Performance


HPOs do perform better

Since the initial launch of the HPO Framework in 2007 many organizations have embarked on an HPO transformation, often using the HPO Diagnosis as the starting point of their voyage to high performance. This gave us the opportunity to study the application and performance effects of the HPO Framework in-depth at multiple organizations worldwide. Many of our findings we have shared in a multitude of academic and managerial articles.[i] As we collected all the data from the HPO Diagnoses in our HPO database (which currently contains data from more than 56.000 respondents worldwide) we were able to confirm that the HPO Framework is generic valid for many countries[ii] and sectors.[iii] This is because the HPO characteristics are what we call ‘evergreens of management’: they are characteristics that are always important for creating and maintaining an excellent organization no matter the cultures (country, industry, family) the organization operates in, and to which managers always have to pay attention when devising the actions they need to undertake to lead their organizations to excellence and superior results.[iv]

We also noticed that quite a few of the characteristics of the HPO Framework (such as agile, empowerment and employee involvement, and HPOs do perform betterperformance management) have become contemporary ideas on management. That is good news because it means that increasingly organizations are accepting that they need to manage in a different way than before in order to increase their quality and performance. Much of our research since 2007 was of a longitudinal nature: it focused on the long-term effects of the application of the HPO Framework in an organization.

HPO Framework: Below you find a summary of the these effects

Organization Sector Effects
ARK Data Centres (UK) IT Doubling of turnover and profit
ATLAS Consortium (UK) IT More trust between the partner companies in the Consortium, resulting in more delivered products with less mistakes, and higher client satisfaction.
CCPC (Zambia) Government 144%  revenue growth
European multinational Food Significant behavioral changes: more dialogue and information exchange within the organization, a more approachable CEO, and a clearer common goal to strive for.
Grohe (Netherlands) Production/ Retail Negative effects of the economic crisis were so much muted that the organization became no. 1 in the industry.
Iringa University College (Tanzania) Education Financial stability achieved; in Top 10 of best  East-African universities; large growth in students and high-quality teachers.
LIMOR (Netherlands) Healthcare Negative effects of financial costing policies muted so organization could survive better than similar healthcare organizations.
Longfellow Benefits  (USA) Personal finance Negative effects of economic downturn in the financial services industry mitigated in such a way that the organization grew both in revenue and employees (and received prizes for this) while similar financial organizations suffered.
Nabil Bank (Nepal) Banking Top position in the industry achieved (in respect to financial margins).
NEH (Philippines) Food 300% revenue growth
Red Bull (Netherlands) Food HPO Framework prevented the organization of ‘growing kaput’ by not only causing the growth of the organization to be managed in the right direction but also helping the organization to growth rapidly in a controlled manner.
Swagelok, 7 distributors (USA) Business to Business Several distributors experienced (strong) financial growth, while other distributors were able to deal adequately with the negative economic circumstances in their local markets. All distributors experienced a growth in quality of employees and internal organization.
Ziggo (Netherlands) Media Doubled revenues + achieved highest client satisfaction in the industry.


Exhibit: Listing of the effects of applying the HPO Framework

Effects of applying the HPO Framework in more detail

  • ARK, one of UK’s leading provider of high integrity data centers, used the HPO Framework to make sure the quality of its internal organization could keep pace with the rapid sales growth the company was experiencing. In a series of HPO Diagnoses, with in between the company working on the HPO attention points, the company was able to manage and even speed up its growth while improving the quality of service delivery.
  • ATLAS, a British consortium of IT companies working for the British Ministry of Defense, used the HPO diagnosis to increase the quality of its cooperation and to achieve the results that were agreed upon with the Ministry. To this end, the consortium conducted several HPO diagnoses over a period of four years and during the intermediate periods worked on the HPO attention points. The consortium noticed: better relations, more trust and more communication among partner organizations; increased engagement of employees; significantly more applications delivered to a larger number of users worldwide; and external recognition from British governmental committees as being an example of successful cooperation on a grand scale.[v]
  • In its quest to become a prosperous middle-income nation by 2030, Zambia realized the need to create a strong economy and increase its gross domestic product. One way to achieve that goal, which the Zambian government applied, was to create high-performance organizations. The application of the HPO Framework at the Zambian Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) significantly improve its financial and operational performance in two years, while enhancing two-way communications, employee morale, customer service, and its reputation for efficiency and integrity.[vi]
  • In an era of increasingly saturated markets and ever tightening competition, multinational firms are diversifying their product portfolios, exploring new areas of operation, standardizing to achieve economies of scale, and generally enhancing the quality of their organization. To be able to do this successfully, an European multinational embarked on an initiative to transform itself into an HPO. Within six months the organization realized significant behavioral improvements, including enhanced communications and employee engagement, and was able to set a course for sustainable renewal.[vii]
  • The Dutch unit of Grohe, a large European manufacturer and supplier of kitchen and bathroom fixtures, decided to conduct two HPO diagnoses. As a result of working on the HPO attention points, the management of the company stated that the organization had gained a renewed spirit and that the winner mentality had returned. Specifically: the company achieved an increase in openness and action orientation because departments now came together routinely to jointly discuss and take action; many new products had been introduced successfully, and there was a new successful market approach. Sales and profits doubled and market share was won in a difficult competitive market.[viii]
  • A private university in Tanzania, Iringa University College, wanted to increase the quality of its internal organization and, therefore, conducted two HPO diagnoses, two years apart. In the intermediate period, the organization worked on its HPO attention points. At the time of the second HPO diagnosis, the college reported the following increases in performance which it attributed to working with the HPO Framework: it now ranked among the top ten peer East African universities; it achieved national and international recognition and awareness; it recruited and retained more students; it raised the quality of education; it expanded its facilities considerably; it attained higher employee satisfaction; and it became financially stable.[ix]
  • LIMOR, a Dutch healthcare provider, used the HPO Framework to ward off and contain the negative effects of external turbulent developments, such as the changed financing method used by the Dutch government. This could have potential disastrous effects on not only the financial position of healthcare organizations but also on their ability to provide care to their clients. The HPO Framework helped LIMOR to create a sense of urgency in the right places so people focused on the right things in the right manner, resulting in the organization performing considerably better than comparable healthcare organizations.[x]
  • Longfellow Benefits, a broker (i.e. intermediary) that advised companies in choosing the best Health and Welfare Plans, Retirement plans and Executive Benefit programs for that company, applied the HPO Diagnosis in order to find out if and where an already successful company could improve. The first diagnosis yielded several improvement points on which the company diligently worked, even though the severe financial and economic recession that befell the industry. The second diagnosis showed Longfellow had maintained its HPO status and had even been able to grow in personnel, clients and revenue.
  • Nabil Bank Limited, the first foreign joint venture bank of Nepal, conducted two HPO diagnoses over a time span of two years. During these diagnoses, the performance of Nabil Bank was compared with its peer group of Nepalese banks. This comparison showed that both for return on assets and non-performing loans, Nabil Bank was the best bank in the peer group.[xi]
  • NEH, a banana grower and exporter in The Philippines, noticed that, after working on the HPO diagnosis attention points, an HPO mind-set had arisen throughout the organization: commitment to one goal and one team, with dialoguing a key activity; an increase in the net productive area from 50 hectares per year to 250 hectares; an improvement in the quality of the bananas from 50 to 90 per cent Grade “A”; and an improvement in revenue.[xii]
  • Red Bull the Netherlands was a young, fast growing company with a serious risk of ‘growing kaput.’ The company had problems managing the current sales in the right way – increasingly mistakes were made in the ordering, delivering and receiving payment for shipments – let alone achieve the ambitious growth objectives of doubled sales in the next three years. The management team decided to use the HPO Framework to strengthen the internal organization in such a manner that current and future growth could be managed in the right direction and the company could grow in a controlled manner. The HPO Framework indicated the areas where strengthening was needed and by addressing these areas in an expeditious way, Red Bull the Netherlands not only achieved the desired growth but even surpassed it without experiencing quality issues.[xiii]
  • A group of seven sales and service locations of Swagelok, a North American manufacturer of fluid system components, applied the HPO Diagnosis twice over a period of two years and in between worked on improvement opportunities identified per specific location. During the second diagnosis the effects of applying the HPO Framework were evaluated and it turned out that this application had different outcomes depending on local circumstances. Some locations experienced a growth while other locations used the HPO Framework to battle the consequences of adverse economic circumstances. All locations however agreed that the HPO Framework had been instrumental, in a positive way, to the development of their organization and its people, and for several locations this already resulted in increased financial performance.[xiv]
  • Realizing the need to improve its processes in order to better serve its customers and meet its financial goals, the management of the Customer Relations department at Ziggo, a Dutch provider of media and communications services, turned to the HPO framework. Management developed a strategy for empowering employees to attain departmental goals and cultivating teamwork, all while measuring and communicating results. In five years, the department has seen sustainable improvements: employee satisfaction is up, profits have almost doubled, and the once-struggling department has achieved an all-time high customer satisfaction score for its industry of 7.5 out of 10.[xv]

For more information about the HPO Framework, HPO Experts, workshops and our the HPO Diagnosis, please contact us ( or T. +31 (0) 35 – 603 70 07).


[i]     At the time of writing this book (Spring 2019) we have published 90 academic articles on the subject of high-performance and HPOs.

[ii]    That the HPO Framework is valid for many countries is shown implicitly through the case studies of successful HPO transformations in various countries such as Nepal, the Netherlands, Philippine, Tanzania, South-Africa, UK, USA and Zambia. Explicitly we have researched this for the following countries: China (de Waal and Wang, 2017), Ecuador (de Waal, 2012a), Egypt (de Waal, Habil and Goedegebuure 2016), Palestine (de Waal, 2012a; Sultan, de Waal and Goedegebuure, 2017), Peru (de Waal and Orcotoma Escalante, 2011), Portugal (Santos and de Waal, 2019), South-Africa (de Waal, 2012a), Surinam (de Waal, 2012a), Thailand (de Waal, Goedegebuure and Akaraborworn, 2014), UAE (de Waal, Mroueh and Schiavo, 2017; Mroueh and de Waal, 2017), Uganda (Bagorogoza, de Waal, van den Herik and van de Walle, 2013), Vietnam (de Waal, Duong and Ton, 2009), and Zambia (de Waal, Goedegebuure and Mulimbika, 2014; de Waal and Mulimbika, 2017).

[iii]   The validity of the HPO Framework has been shown explicitly for the following sectors: banking (de Waal, 2012a; Yusuph, 2010), diamond (de Waal, Orij, Rosman and Zevenbergen, 2014), food (de Waal and Hanna, 2016; de Waal and Schreurs, 2017), government (Linker and de Waal, 2019), healthcare (de Waal, 2017a), horticulture (de Waal and Meingast, 2017), insurance (Mroueh and de Waal, 2017; Mroueh and de Waal, 2018), manufacturing (Godfrey, 2010; de Waal, Mroueh and Schiavo, 2017), security (Hattingh, de Waal and Parsons, 2018), sports (de Waal and Linders, 2008; de Waal, van der Veer and Spek, 2012), supermarkets (de Waal, van Nierop and Sloot, 2017), and temping (de Waal and Meingast, 2011).

[iv]   The fact that the HPO characteristics can be considered to be ‘evergreens of management’ is discussed in de Waal (2013).

[v]    This case can be found in de Waal (2012a).

[vi]   This case is described in de Waal (2018a).

[vii]   This case originated from de Waal and Hanna (2016).

[viii] This case can be found in de Waal (2012a).

[ix]   This case is described in de Waal and Chachage (2011).

[x]     This case is described in de Waal (2017a).

[xi]   This case is described in de Waal and Frijns (2011).

[xii]   This case is described in two articles, which can be found in de Waal and de Haas (2013) and de Waal and de Haas (2018).

[xiii] This case is described in de Waal and Schreurs (2017).

[xiv] This case is described in de Waal (2017b).

[xv]   This case originated from de Waal, Mooijman and Ferment. (2015).

Marco Schreurs

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