2Superior Performance Comes From Alignment

“Most things of value are the by-product of an effective process. Build enjoyment into that process and make the journey itself a success.”


In this chapter, we want to show how having the firm’s management, systems, and people aligned is the correct and, perhaps, only way to achieve superior performance over a long period of time. You may think that finding superior performance isn’t anything more than the search for the Holy Grail, but we don’t believe so. In each market and industry, certain firms outperform the competition.

Throughout the chapter, we explore how aligning management, organizational process, and individual goals can increase overall performance. We examine different performance variables and models and then look at individual goals to make sure they are aligned with firm goals.

We often hear from managing owners that performance is only about people. Traditionally, firms placed emphasis on the individual performer. Let’s “fix” employees, so they become better performers. Let’s hire more “A” players, so we get better results.

Although an individual’s will and skill are certainly important, they do not stand alone nor do they sustain most employees or owners in the long run. We must also think about systems. Geary Rummler and Alan Brache1 observed in Improving Performance: How to Manage the White Space in the Organization Chart, “If you pit a good performer against a bad system, the system will win almost every ...

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