A High-Performance Corporate Culture Design


  • Corporate culture can be a company differentiator and business growth accelerator.
  • A high-performance company culture design creates a sustainable competitive advantage that delivers improved labor productivity, customer engagement and revenue growth.
  • For most organizations, it is the single biggest untapped asset to boost virtually every performance measure. That's because it is a precursor and top contributing factor to anything and everything that requires employee effort.
Johnny Grow Revenue Growth Consulting

A high-performance corporate culture is the single biggest enabler of company strategy and business performance. In contrast, a low performance environment is the biggest obstacle to change and transformation. But most business leaders know this.

What most don't know is how to build a high-performance corporate culture, or what is often called a growth culture. It's a corporate ethos that motivates staff, increases labor productivity, improves employee loyalty, boosts company revenues and grows the business.

It's easy to recognize a high-performance team when you see it – in a business, a sports team or any group that competes. They consistently outperform and have fun doing it. What many don't know is why it works, how you can have fun doing it and how to build it. To answer these questions, we share our Culture Design framework.

It's a 6-step model to transition from an unmanaged corporate ethos to a high-performance growth culture.

Growth Culture Design Framework

See the 6 culture design steps to achieve a high-performance corporate ethos.

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Start with Ideology and Identity

A growth culture is defined by its ideology, which includes an identity, vision, purpose, values, and behaviors. Some companies may want to start with a blank slate and create these declarations from scratch. Others may want to understand if what they already have is working. An objective assessment can determine if there is a gap between the lofty vision or noble values displayed on the walls and how people act.

For the assessment to work it's critical that the assessors not support or defend the existing mission and other ideology statements. The goal is simply determine if staff understand, value, and use these declarations in their daily work routines.

Proclamations expressed in vague or hollow words don't mean much. Clarity and authenticity are required for growth cultures. The ideology must define and clarify the company's identity. Leadership must communicate the ideology and management must coach, measure, and reinforce the supporting actions, behaviors and norms that make it real.


Design the Employee Experience

This step is an exercise in human development. The employee experience is the employee's perception of his or her job and employer. It's based on the totality of experiences during their employment period. It's built on four factors.

  1. An emotional experience that is driven by intrinsic values such as assimilation, inclusion, fulfillment, and social interactions. Many companies integrate their social enterprise business plan to boost this goal.
  2. A physical experience that is impacted by personal space, shared space, office layout, environmental elements (such as light intensity, natural or halogen lights, ambient noise, temperature and color patterns) and proximity to others.
  3. The work effort, which includes the processes and technologies that determine how work gets done.
  4. The reasons for work, which vary by person but often include things like compensation, benefits, flexibility, recognition, career advancement, and work-life balance.

Customer experience management is tasked with delivering rewarding and memorable experiences that delight customers. Employee experience is no different and should follow the same principals.

"Customer experience has been a focus for years. Employee experience is now being recognized as the other half of the equation for success."

— Forrester Analyst David Johnson


Create the Manager Experience

Managers need training and coaching to perform three primary tasks.

  • Advance the culture ideology. Managers must communicate, coach, model, measure and reinforce the growth ideology. Employees follow the queues of their leaders. Only when leaders and managers model the desired behaviors will staff follow.
  • Advance the employee experience. Managers must assure employee assimilation, inclusion, and engagement. They will accelerate results if they identify and apply employee insights for relevant, personalized and contextual employee management. Sometimes managers need to take the lead on redefining how work gets done and what gets rewarded.
  • Adopt high-performance vanguards. Successful company cultures share techniques and best practices that inspire and motivate staff and thereby increase employee discretionary effort and work contribution. Management coaching in the areas of communication, collaboration, team building, goal setting, technology adoption and performance measurement will most contribute to a high-performance corporate ethos.
Company Culture

Now You Can Create the Customer Experience

Happy employees create happy customers.

The Customer Experience (CX) is the customer's perception of the brand based on the totality of their interactions. Including the CX in the design is a requirement to achieve a growth culture. Companies cannot grow without growing customers.

Customer facing staff are the primary liaisons to customers. Their behaviors and motivation will directly impact their actions and behaviors to elevate the customer experience and the company's business performance.

Staff decide whether to deliver customer experiences that are good enough or great. IBM research included in The Employee Experience Index report shared that 95% of staff that reported a positive employee experience said that they engage in activities which are not part of their job but beneficial to their customers. They are personally motivated to go the extra mile. That figure fell to 55% for staff reporting a poor experience with their employer.


Align Business Processes

This step aligns the ideology with business processes. It often fixes or discards processes that are misaligned. Process consistency and automation are needed to transcend ideology and transform values from words to actions.

Business Process Improvement

But you can't achieve transformation without incurring change. And for many companies, embracing change is not the norm and is a difficult journey. The effort to remove misaligned processes often takes longer and is more difficult than expected. It requires a willingness to let go of business as usual, old habits and the fear of change. People must stop defending the past and build for the future. Change management programs can help.


Apply Technology Automation

Software technology is needed for consistency, automation, reporting and scale. Technology aids learning and development, knowledge sharing, employee engagement, team collaboration and labor productivity. Most importantly, it aligns company ideology and directives with staff behaviors and actions.

Software apps and online tools are needed to connect staff, especially as they become more decentralized and work from home. Common tools to aid a company culture include enterprise feedback systems, enterprise social networks (i.e., Microsoft Teams or Salesforce Chatter), content management systems, performance management dashboards and knowledgebases.

Staff expect the same rewarding user experiences they realize from their personal apps with their systems at work. Software tools should support consumer technologies, including mobility, self-service, and social interactions.

The Johnny Grow Culture Design framework applies a proven and structured road map to what is an otherwise mysterious and unstructured challenge. We have used it for many years to help clients shift from an unmanaged corporate ethos to an intentional growth culture. The process consistently achieves significant and sustained improvements in labor productivity, customer engagement and business growth.