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Achieving peak performance


 In last month's article, Culture: The soul of your company, I talked about the importance of developing and nurturing a strong corporate culture. In fact, a great corporate culture combined with operational excellence is the secret to helping employees achieve peak performance day in and day out.

Today's companies should strive for peak performance on multiple levels: for the individuals working at the company, the teams they comprise, and the company as a whole. Once a company has a plan in place for strengthening the company's culture, it's time to put those values into action to help your company thrive over the coming months and years.

To achieve peak performance, every employee at the company should be laser-focused on achieving individual goals and the company's strategic objectives. It's important for all employees to have a deep understanding of how they fit into the broader organization, and to be constantly evaluating how to better achieve personal goals while supporting their department and the company.

This type of focus needs to come from the top down, and is particularly important for managers and the executive leadership team. These key players within the organization must both understand their own role and personal goals, while also ensuring their teams - and the individuals that comprise those teams - understand how they fit into the bigger picture and have a precise set of goals they're trying to accomplish.

It is important to remember that every company operates as an interdependent community, and it is in everyone's best interest to help colleagues succeed. Although the HR and IT departments may not seem to have much in common, or Finance and Marketing don't appear to have the same goals, in fact everyone at the company should look beyond their specific role to advance the common purpose: the company's strategic objectives.

In order to help individuals, teams and the company achieve peak performance, it is imperative that there is a company-wide, intrinsic commitment to achieving results. Employees should be encouraged to evaluate their own actions and their consequences, and should be rewarded for being action-oriented, results-driven and passionate.

Accountability is a commonly overlooked component of corporate culture and getting the best performance out of employees. In top-performing companies, a deep obligation to excellence is part of the company's culture, and employees are expected to bring their "A game" to work everyday.

Integrity & Trust
As simple as it sounds, having a solid character is essential to long-term success, both personally and professionally. Sound moral and ethical principles should be part of the company's culture and should be traits hiring managers look for during the recruiting process.

Employees should be encouraged to - and recognized for - always acting in the best interest of the company and building strong, meaningful relationships with each other, partners, clients and others.

Once every employee understands and identifies with the company's core values and strategic priorities, those values can serve as guideposts to helping everyone - individuals, teams and the company - achieve peak performance.


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Paul Larkins

Paul A. Larkins is president and CEO of SquareTwo Financial (www.squaretwofinancial.com ), a leader in the $100 billion asset recovery and management industry. He has more than 25 years of experience in the financial services industry and was named a finalist in the 2011 ColoradoBiz CEO of the Year mid-sized company category. He can be reached at 303-296-3345.

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