Reflections on High Performing Organisations and Situational Leadership

Topics: Leadership, Management, Ken Blanchard Pages: 6 (1813 words) Published: May 9, 2012
REFLECTIONS ON SITUATIONAL LEADERSHIP AND HIGH PERFORMING ORGANISATIONS PART 1 1. HIGH PERFORMING ORGANISATIONS SCORE To excel in today’s competitive business environment, organisations must become an employer of choice, a provider of choice and an investment of choice. This triple bottom line can make the difference between mediocrity and greatness. Since 2007 this has been a continuing theme in RasGas’ Leadership and Management Development and continues to this day. With highly mobile, competent workers in demand despite the recession, we have to find ways to attract and keep the best people. Good pay is not the answer. Competent workers can and do go elsewhere for a higher salary. However, today’s employees want more. They seek opportunities where they feel that their contribution is valued and rewarded, where they are involved and empowered, where they can develop skills, where they see advancement opportunities, and where they believe they are making a difference. The challenge for organisations today is to provide such an environment. While many organisations rise quickly and then plateau or topple, some continue to thrive. We should not be lulled by the “too big to fail” syndrome. What makes great organisations? These are High Performing Organisations – and are defined as: Organisations that over time continue to produce outstanding results with highest levels of human satisfaction and commitment to the success of the organisation. There are some common elements that make up a model we can refer to as SCORE.


Shared power and open information where high involvement is the way of life and information is the lifeblood. Compelling vision that illuminates purpose and values and creates a strong culture and direction. Ongoing learning that builds organisational knowledge and capabilities and promotes individual learning. Relentless focus on results, from a customer-centric perspective. Energising systems and structures aligned with the organisation’s purpose, values and direction – which makes it easier to get the job done, not more difficult.


High Performing Organisations (HPO’s) demonstrate all of the elements. 2. SHARED POWER AND INFORMATION High performing Organisations distribute power and information throughout the company. Power and information are shared, not guarded at the top of a hierarchy. People feel valued and respected for their contributions when they are allowed to make decisions that impact their lives, and when they have access to information to make good decisions, then they can and will function as valuable contributors to the purpose and vision of the company. There then exists a sense of personal as well as collective power. 2.1 Shared power and high involvement

HPO’s use the best of what people have to offer in the general interest of the company. Centralised power and authority are balanced with participation and does not become an obstacle to responsiveness. When employees are clear about the goals and standards and have clear boundaries of autonomy, they act with commitment towards accomplishing results. Participative practices strongly impact financial results through productivity, retention, and employee satisfaction. Involvement practices such as time for team meetings and training are part of the job, not outside of the job. 2.2 Seek involvement in decision-making

In HPO’s day-to-day decision-making occurs closest to the action and on the front line by those directly involved with the customer. Being empowered and involved in decisions that affect one’s life reduces stress on the employee, thus creating a healthier, happier workforce. For example, Chaparral Steel does not use quality inspectors. The people in their plants are responsible for the products they produce and the quality of those products. Given the power and responsibility for decision-making, they act as they are expected to: as owners. HPO’s also involve employees at all levels and from multiple...

Links: where internal consultants move between groups, collecting information and stories from various H-P businesses and sharing them with others. Another programme is the ‘Work Innovation Network’ through which H-P businesses set up mini internal business conferences to investigate tough issues. When the issue is hot and the interest is high, the conference may evolve to become an ongoing community of practice. Open communication is the lifeblood of the organisation. Increasing the dialogue lessens the dangers of territoriality and silos and keeps the organisation healthy, agile and flexible. Commonly shared information includes future business plans and strategies, industry issues, competitors’ best practices, and measures of customer needs and satisfaction. In the next article, the writer will focus on Compelling Visions that enhance performance. Any comments on this article will be most welcome, both new ideas and examples from RasGas best practice or suggestions for implementation. In conclusion, I the writer would like to quote Ken Blanchard, co-founder of the Situational Leadership body of work:
I think people want to be magnificent. It is the job of the leader to bring out that magnificence in people and to create an environment where they feel safe and supported and ready to do the best job possible in accomplishing key goals. This responsibility is a sacred trust that should not be violated. The opportunity to guide others to their fullest potential is an honour and one that should not be taken lightly. As leaders, we hold the lives of others in our hands. These hands need to be gentle and caring and always available for support. -Ken Blanchard
If you would like to hear more about Situational Leadership training opportunities for supervisors, heads and managers in RasGas, please contact the writer. Lance Miller at or telephonically at 44531372 Employee Development Section Learning and Development Department RasGas Company Limited 22/5/2011
I would like to acknowledge the following Sources which were consulted: Ken Blanchard Companies. 2001. Situational Leadership II The Article Scholtes, Joiner and Streibel. 2003. The Team Handbook, Third Edition, Oriel Incorporated Steward, TA. 1997. Intellectual Capital: The New Wealth of Organisations. New York: Doubleday Stoner, Carew, Parisi-Carew and Kandarian. 2000. High Performing Organisations SCORE. Ken Blanchard Companies Trist, E. 1981. The Evolution of Socio-technical Systems. Toronto: Ontario Quality of Working Life Centre
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