Center for High Performance
CFHP Center for High Performance
Issue No. 13 October 26, 2011


A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to be the inaugural guest on Inside the Taleo Talent Studio, modeled after the popular television show, Inside the Actors Studio on Bravo. Taleo, a talent management solutions company, invited a studio audience to the conversation, which was hosted by Pamela Stroko, Taleo talent management expert and evangelist. It also was broadcast live on the Web.

The show allowed me to talk about my favorite topic - high performance. Pamela and I discussed how companies can achieve it, and what gets in the way, particularly in difficult economic times.

To learn more about how senior leaders can focus on the proven factors that accelerate high performance, I invite you to attend our upcoming course, "Leading Through Uncertainty." You'll find more about it below.

With kindest regards,

Inside the Talent Studio

Susan Lucia Annunzio and Pamela Stroko recently had a wide-ranging conversation about high-performance organizations. Below is an edited version of the highlights. To view the entire conversation, please click the Taleo image.

Pamela Stroko: Let's talk about the research that gave birth to your book (Contagious Success). Seventy-seven percent of the global knowledge workers in the study thought they were part of high-performing workgroups, but only 10 percent were able to prove it.

Susan Lucia Annunzio: Looking at it in another way, we had over 3,000 participants, the highest paid, best educated people from the top companies in the world and 90 percent were not part of groups that consistently made money and drove innovation for their company.

We believe productivity plus creativity equals high performance. If you want a return on your investment in human capital, you have to get a return on brainpower. Yet many companies have a sign up that says, "Check your brain at the door." People get punished for thinking, for challenging the status quo.

PS: One negative behavior you mention in your book is the "meeting after the meeting," which always seems more interesting than the meeting itself.

SLA: That's because at the meeting after the meeting, people tell the truth. People are afraid to speak the truth in the real meeting. I recommend starting meetings by speaking the unspeakables. By bringing the hallway conversation into the room, people can talk about the real problems and begin to tackle them."

PS: What do high-performing organizations have in common?

SLA: The number one differentiator of high performance around the world is that people feel valued. They say, "My boss tells me what to do, not how to do it." "My boss cares about what I think."

PS: If you have a negative culture, how do you begin to change it?

SLA: Companies spend so much time and money trying to bring talent into the organization, yet we spend very little time looking at the environment those people are going into. If you want a return on your investment, you have to foster an environment where people are allowed to think. The less able they are to think, the lower the likelihood that they're going to stay long term.

PS: What can our audience begin doing tomorrow to set them on the path to high performance?

SLA: My first piece of advice would be to start at the top. Whether you're part of the C-suite or part of a team that runs a functional group or business unit, your organization can't be higher performing than the team that runs it. It's important to ask, "Is our team high performing?" and "Is our behavior spreading health or disease throughout the organization?"


Leading Through Uncertainty

The global economy is just beginning to emerge from the longest and deepest recession since the Great Depression. Since 2008, the Center for High Performance has seen evidence that hard times are a fertile breeding ground for fear-based behavior. We have often seen leaders obsess about what they have to lose, rather than thinking rationally about what steps they need to take to win.

It is time for senior leaders to get past fear-based, emotionally driven behavior and focus on the proven factors that accelerate high performance, even in times of uncertainty: valuing people, optimizing critical thinking and seizing opportunities. It is time for executives to move beyond short-term thinking and concentrate on achieving long-term results.

Leading Through Uncertainty helps leaders confront harsh realities, adapt quickly to change and seize opportunities in the face of ambiguity.

Date: February 16, 2012

Location: Fortnightly Club, Chicago, IL

Early-bird Price: $825/attendee

Click here to visit our event page to obtain more information and register for the course.

CFHP Center for High Performance

440 West Superior • Chicago, Illinois 60654 • T 312.595.9104 • F 312.276.4256