When an organization is hard at work transforming into a High Performance Organization (HPO), sooner or later the time will come when the quality of the value chain in which the organization operates will become important. After all, if the suppliers and buyers are not HPOs, the quality of the organization will be offset in full or in part by the poorer quality of the other partners in the chain. The result is that the end buyers (consumers) can never be served as effectively as possible. That is why it is important that not only the organization, but also its value chain, operate integrally at a higher level. This means that it is not enough if the individual chains become HPOs, but that the links between the chains must also be HPOs. In other words, a High Performance Partnership (HPP) must be created.
An HPP framework was developed based on an extensive literature study, an analysis in which the HPO framework was translated into partnerships, and a practical study at ATLAS (a British partnership of five leading IT organizations – HP, Fujitsu, Logica, EADS and General Dynamics – who together upgrade the IT infrastructure of the British Ministry of Defence). The point of departure of the High Performance Partnership framework is that every party in the value chain strives to be an HPO. However, to ensure the excellence of the entire chain, the collaboration between the parties must also be ‘high performance’.
The following High Performance Partnership factors determine whether a collaboration is high performing:
- Control: supervising one another openly and honestly and confronting each other regarding performance.
- Trust: the expectation that the other will not behave opportunistically but will continuously consider mutual interest.
- Involvement: the interest and willingness to develop a long-term relationship.
- Coordination: tailoring one’s processes to those of the other in order to improve joint performance.
- Dependence: mutual dependency that occurs when both parties invest an equal amount of time and money in the relationship.
- Communication: continuous and effective communication to ensure that both parties are always informed.
- Conflict handling: quickly and adequately resolving conflicts that can and do occur in any type of relationship.
- Diversity: recognizing and appreciating the uniqueness of the other party.
To determine whether an High Performance Partnership is possible, the following activities are carried out:
- Every partner in the value chain carries out an HPO diagnosis. This is used to determine the extent to which the partner is an HPO, whether the partner’s HPO status is equivalent and where the greatest challenges are found.
- During the interviews held as part of every HPO diagnosis, specific HPP factors are emphasized. The answers from each partner are compared to determine the extent to which the partners view the partnership in the same way.
- During an HPP workshop, the partners are brought together (only those partners in the entire value chain or partners involved in every link) to discuss the results of both the HPO and HPP diagnoses. The factors that are successful are identified, as are those factors that require improvement. Joint improvement activities for the HPP factors are discussed by the partners and an explicit commitment is declared for creating an HPP.
For more information about the HPO Framework, HPO Experts, workshops and our do-it-yourself HPO Insight™ improvement tool, please contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org or T. +31 (0) 35 – 603 70 07).