Communicators Conference Recap: André de Waal

High Performance Organizations

By Phuoc “Francis” Nguyen

“The force that drives me is frustration,” Dr. André de Waal stated in his lunchtime keynote on the business world. After 10 years of scientific research, that is the primary force that keeps him going.

Over the last decade he has analyzed over 290 studies by conducting primary research in 50 countries, totaling around 1,470 organizations in that span.

Dr. de Waal has worked with over 200 global organizations on performance management and high performance issues. As an accomplished researcher, his work on high performance organizations (HPO) has revolutionized the way successful companies are being made.

He defines an HPO as “an organization that achieves financial and non-financial results that are exceedingly better than those of its peer group over a period of a time of at least five years.”

To evaluate the audience’s understanding of what makes an organization high performance, he asked if regular bonuses should be given, if non-performers should be fired immediately, should managers empower all employees as much as possible, and should communication be frequent with employees.

Those who answered incorrectly were asked to sit down and, to the surprise of the audience, there were only a few still standing when the last question was asked.

Dr. de Waal’s HPO framework started with 189 potential characteristics, and then narrowed all the way down to five factors that directly impact the long-term success of these companies.

“Doing nothing is not an option,” said Dr. de Waal when he stressed the importance of constantly trying to improve organization standards.

The five high performance factors that organizations must focus on are:

  • Management quality
  • Employee quality
  • Openness & action orientation
  • Continuous improvement & renewal
  • Long-term organization

Dr. de Waal’s HPO diagnosis process includes: HPO awareness workshop; HPO diagnosis with a questionnaire, analysis, interviews and unit-workshops; and the HPO coaches program. A year or two later a second HPO diagnosis is conducted by the HPO coaches. The results of this diagnosis process were increased productivity, turnover (meaning money taken in), profitability and market share—with no exceptions worldwide.

“If you use this you can have your best chance to succeed,” Dr. de Waal stated about HPO success. “The HPO framework will bring you to the top. That will be my promise to you.”

To learn more about Dr. de Waal’s high performance organization research, you can purchase his latest book, “What Makes a High Performance Organization, Five Validated Factors of Competitive Advantage That Apply Worldwide.”

Follow Dr. de Waal’s on Twitter @HPOcenter.