Master the Fundamentals: The 5 biggest barriers to performance improvements

Our research shows that there are 5 big, and common, barriers that stop organisations sustainably improving performance to anything like the levels they desire.

These barriers are inextricably linked to not being able to create the kind of dynamic and unstoppable culture that makes performance improvements inevitable.

In fact, just over 10% of employees believe their organisation is effective at driving their desired culture, and nearly two out of three feel there is no strong, unified, or positive culture (in fact many describe it as “dog eat dog”!)

Without the positive influences that a dynamic culture brings, negative influences can take hold that will destroy all the best intentions and initiatives that drive performance improvements.


  1. Poor communication

Leaders and managers at all levels fail to effectively communicate direction, vision, values, behavioural norms, strategies, goals etc … in a way that gets their employees to fully understand the performance improvement  process that is taking place.

When very little “bottom up” communication is taking place, employees feel their voices are not being heard and feel intimidated about speaking –  creating fear and resentment rather than passion and enthusiasm.

2. Toxic employees

Misery loves company  –  and toxic employees just love to share their anxieties with anyone who will listen. Any positive news is countered with “Yes, but … “ or “But what you don’t understand is …”. Bile, poison and “made up stuff” dominate their vocabulary.

  1. Not being able to overcome resistance to change

Leaders and managers need to have the skills to overcome the resistance that comes with any performance improvement initiatives. Most have never been shown how to … and can quickly become “battle weary” and fail to drive the much needed improvements.

  1. Focus on the bottom line

A focus on figures rather than the people in any performance improvement initiative is almost certain to fail. Sustainable performance improvements are more like a tide rather than a wave! A bottom line focus, or a short term win leads to unethical/unwanted behaviour in order to “pad” the numbers.

  1. Poor performance management

Most performance management processes/systems focus on stopping failure, not driving success.  Effective performance management is a daily doing  –  involving coaching  – it’s not an annual or quarterly formal “appraisal”.


Do these insights explain a few things in your organisation’s quest for performance improvements, and maybe why you’re struggling so much?

Just look at the results that can be produced when these barriers to performance improvements are removed …

  • An organisation in the transport industry had seen profits increase by 68% … in just one year
  • As a result of our work with an organisation in the automotive industry they had seen their sales increase … by the end of 2015 they were at a 9.1% increase –  year to date 2016 they are at 11.5%
  • Another organisation in the financial services industry had seen an increase in turnover of 58% – from £87M to £148M
  • What we do, works!

… call us on 01244 681 068 or email  … you’ve nothing to lose and everything to gain.

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