Performance improvement (PI) touches many aspects of an organization. When ISPI and i4cp began this collaborative research study on the direction and effectiveness of the PI practices that set apart high-performance organizations (HPOs) from low-performance organizations (LPOs), they also learned the intricacy of the connections that PI has within the organization: PI drives its strategy, it defines its leadership, it builds its talent, it creates its culture and it influences its market.

Key findings from organizations with more than 1,000 employees that took part in the survey (more than 300 overall) describe how HPOs approach PI, but a deeper look at results also uncovers missed opportunities for elevating practices to an even higher level. Following are selected findings the research revealed:

HPOs focus PI initiatives on both internal and external opportunities.
The focus on external factors such as customers has the highest correlation to market performance. HPOs exhibit the coherent enterprise strategy and multi-level effort that successful performance improvement requires. More than six in 10 HPOs pursue performance improvement to a high/very high extent from four angles: at the individual level, the process level, the organizational level and most importantly the societal level which includes customers.

HPOs are better at end-to-end PI and especially excel at developing PI solutions.
Nearly two-thirds of respondents from HPOs emphasize the development of solutions and say their organizations are highly/very highly effective at it. Yet even among HPOs, there exists opportunity to further improve by strengthening both front-end processes such as conducting needs or cause analyses and back-end processes such as evaluating results.

HPOs’ leaders champion PI initiatives more effectively.
Almost three times as many HPOs (87%) as LPOs (30%) feel strongly about their leaders’ ability to communicate goals and objectives. When asked about barriers to PI, though, conflicting goals and objectives headed the list, indicating that such goals may not survive translation through the ranks.

HPOs skew toward the positive when asked about the overall percentage of PI initiatives that have met or exceeded expectations over the past 12 months (53% say more than half of initiatives have done so. The data and analysis throughout the report provides insights into why the majority of PI efforts at HPOs are deemed successful as well as recommendations on how they can further extend that ability.

The full report is complimentary to members of ISPI. To access, log onto ISPI Collaborate (with the same log-on you use to log into the ISPI.org website:

  • Community.ispi.org (log in)
  • Click on “COMMUNITIES” (the third tab over on the top)
  • Scroll down to “PI for Members Only”
  • Select “Library”
  • Click on the “Research Reports” folder
  • Double Click on the document called:
    Performance Improvement in High-Performance Organizations – ISPI and i4cp

If you are a non-member, join today, or you can purchase the report for $249. For non-members click here to order.