Growth Culture vs Performance-Obsessed Culture: Which One Is Ideal?

Recently on our reading desk, we found an informative piece of work by the Harvard Business Review about growth culture vs performance-obsessed culture; proposing that it is essential to create a growth culture, not a performance-obsessed one – and we couldn’t agree more.

Growth Leadership Network describes growth culture as one where each interaction and every moment is seen as an opportunity for presence, learning, contribution and excellence.

Performance-obsessed culture focuses on high performance, business goals, ratings and results. It is all about the outcome and less attention to the process of how people get to perform.

However, a serious issue that continues to plague the workplace is the obsession with performance and this often subdues your growth culture. You need your employees to perform but what measures have you put in place to ensure that they grow as expected? Let us take a look at growth culture vs performance-obsessed to learn which may be ideal for your organisation.


Why Performance Culture May Not Be Ideal

Creating a performance-obsessed culture may not be the best option as it is neither healthy nor sustainable.

According to the Harvard Business Review, a true growth culture focuses on deeper issues connected to how people feel, and how they behave as a result. HBR further adds that such an environment allows people to build their capacity to see through blind spots; acknowledge insecurities and shortcomings rather than unconsciously acting them out; and spend less energy defending their personal value so they have more energy available to create external value.

For any culture to thrive, there ought to be underlying factors that enable it to materialize effectively. The same goes for growth culture. HBR identifies four components of growth culture and emphasizes that building a growth culture requires a blend of individual and organizational components such as:

  • An environment that feels safe,  where leaders take responsibility for their shortcomings.
  • Dedicated focus on continuous learning through inquiry, curiosity and transparency.
  • Time-limited manageable experiments with new behaviors.
  • Continuous feedback across the organization through shared commitment to helping each other grow and get better.

What Culture Should Your Organisation Focus On?

You should strive to have a growth-oriented culture as the foundation of your organisation.

A well developed growth culture fosters a conducive environment that allows every employee regardless of their job level to flourish, which in turn drives performance.  Growth and performance should not be mutually exclusive. They work simultaneously when well-balanced.

How is your organization managing growth culture?

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