Creating an environment in which high performance is inevitable and sustainable
The last couple of weeks have provided plenty of variety and adventure. The week before last I was avoiding the seemingly millions of trees that line the ski trails of Vermont. As a relatively unskilled skier still mastering the art of turning at rapid speed (I don’t know how to slow down either!) this was no easy feat. I spent last week recovering from aches and pains in places I never knew existed.
I spent last Friday with an organization in Manhattan called Sabretooth Capital Partners. Sabretooth celebrated its first anniversary, and a very successful year, last week and I’ve been working with its founders, Erez Kalir and Craig Perry, for most of that time. Craig and Erez contacted me after reading my Harvard Business Review article, ‘How the Best of the Best Get Better and Better.’ Both are very high achievers who have set their sights on building a hedge fund organization that will set new standards in the market place. Their almost obsessive focus on openness and integrity is refreshing and I have been exhilarated by my work with them. We meet once a month, with my purpose being to advise them on creating an environment in which high performance is inevitable and sustainable.
Delivering high performance is not so difficult – until you’re required to deliver it time and time again! It’s the sustainability of high performance that all organizations crave and strive for, but so few achieve.
The first thing about creating a high performance environment is to have a clear and compelling vision. The problem is that many visions are meaningless beyond the Board room. Lane4 Principal Consultant, Tara Jones (who happens to also be my spouse), has just published a great article on how to avoid the common mistakes in creating visions. Erez and Craig have been careful to identify a crystal clear vision that has been inspiring their new recruits as they grow rapidly.
But as we all know, visions are only as good as the people delivering them. Craig and Erez have thought long and hard about the people they have brought in. Ability is always important, but they recognize that it is people’s attitudes and mindsets that will ensure high performance sustainability. Too often, organizations focus on ability and then find themselves employing organizations like Lane4 to help them with their employees’ mindsets and attitudes that directly impact engagement.
Of course, leadership is at the core of high performance environments. Leaders create conditions for their people to perform. They ensure they have people with the right capability and mindset – people who can do it and who care about doing it! The leader’s role is to enable these people to thrive and flourish, to clearly define and communicate what is expected of them, and to challenge and support them.
Above all, the leader must have the courage to let go; to accept that they can no longer do all the things that got them to where they are. This will be Craig’s and Erez’s greatest challenge as they continue to grow. But they are well-equipped to meet this challenge. They have the courage and openness to permit me to write about them in this detail. They are real leaders and Sabretooth is in safe hands.
Oops, I’ve got carried away and exceeded the recommended word count again. Sorry about that. Hopefully, I won’t have so many aches and pains when I write the next blog. Bye for now.