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28th January 2021


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Secret to long-term business success (as the economy recovers) revealed...

On Tuesday, the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development published the first year findings of one of its flagship research programmes, Shaping the Future, which offers practical insights into achieving sustainable, long term business prosperity.

The report follows six organisations undertaking change programmes, tracking their progress, examining the challenges and opportunities they encounter, and helping to stimulate debate among the 5,500 practitioners signed up to the dedicated Shaping the Future network.

The interim report, 'Sustainable organisation performance: what really makes the difference?' identifies the key areas that organisations need to consider on their journey to sustainable organisation performance. To successfully implement change and achieve sustainability, the report concludes that organisations need to focus on:

- - Distributed leadership: Senior leaders set a clear strategy, but also empower and motivate managers to innovate to deliver it
- - Alignment: All component parts of the organisation are focused on the same vision and values, objectives and end goal
- - Shared purpose: Core purpose is firmly set from the top, with leaders and managers at all levels contributing to ensuring employees have a strong, emotional connection to that purpose
- - Locus of engagement: Employees can be engaged on multiple levels - with the overall purpose of the organisation, the loyalty and bond they feel to their managers or team, or to the customer. For engagement to support sustainable performance, organisations need to ensure individual, team and organisational objectives are aligned.
- - Balancing the short- and long-term: Successful organisations are flexible enough to respond to short-term demands, but maintain sight of the long-term horizon. The decisions employees make need to reflect this balance.
- - Assessment and evaluation: It's not just about measuring the right things; it's also about taking the business context into account and how this data is fed back into the organisation. Data can be used not just to prove past performance but to improve for the future.

"Delivering sustainable performance is important at the best of times, but as the economy embarks on what looks set to be a long, slow climb out of recession it is more important than ever," warns Jill Miller, lead researcher, CIPD.

"The key finding of our work is the extent to which sustainable performance is delivered by shared endeavour at all levels. Clear vision, strong leadership, great managers and engaged employees are all important - but these all come together to deliver sustainable performance only where shared purpose exists and is supported by co-ordinated, empowered and innovative management at all levels.

"Working with our case studies, we are identifying the enablers and blockers of sustainable organisation performance within the context of their specific change programmes. Our aim is to provide insights from the data and practical guidance that practitioners can apply to create change in their own organisations and drive performance for the long-term.

"The next stage of our research will further explore insights we have developed, as well as revisiting the case study organisations to see what has changed and what they have learnt. In the meantime, our interim report makes clear what organisations need to do in order to perform well."

The case study organisations are: Standard Chartered, Big Lottery Fund (BIG), Birmingham City Council, Pfizer (Grange Castle), Xerox and NHS Dumfries and Galloway


5th February 2010

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