The HPO Center spoke with Frank Verleg, partner at Blomer Accountants and Advisors.
“The pillars of the HPO Center are not particularly exciting in and of themselves. They appear quite simple on the surface, but the real challenge lies in putting them into practice. After reading about the High Performance Organization or HPO concept in an article, it was that challenge that triggered me to pursue the idea.
The HPO scan showed that, as an organization, we are doing reasonably well. But there are areas that require improvement. We are a very informal organization. Since interaction between individuals is an important core value for us, there was little to no feedback culture. The HPO Center also made clear to us that we need to express our uniqueness more. We rank highly in terms of quality, but this is achieved in an informal setting. This is unusual for our sector. It also turns out that we are proficient at making plans, but those plans often tend to fizzle out before they get a chance to be fulfilled.
Five golf balls
During the first meeting with the managers after the scan, we had them visualize their thoughts regarding the outcome. At that point, they were not yet aware of the results. An employee took out five golf balls and placed them on the ground, each of which was to represent a pillar. The strength with which he then hit those balls reflected how high we scored on that pillar. It was the perfect demonstration. He tapped lightly, for instance, against the ‘continuous improvement’ pillar.
Since the HPO Diagnosis and follow-up meetings, the employees have come up with initiatives much more often and have actively pursued them as well. In terms of acquisition, good plans are now in place for drawing more attention to our uniqueness.
We also have a better approach now to poor performers, with more clear-cut boundaries. And one of our teams – without any prompting from me whatsoever – organized a session during which they came up with a team strategy for each of the pillars.
Naturally, when you really believe in something, you want others to share your enthusiasm, but a change process is complicated and can be excruciatingly slow. We have not yet reached our goal, but I’m extremely pleased with the progress we’ve already made thanks to the HPO Center.»
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