Becoming a peak performance organization

Creating and maintaining a positive workplace culture takes effort, but the rewards are worth it. Our next IB Seminar speaker, Dr. Daniel Schroeder, explains how.

Culture is paramount to creating a high-performance workplace. It affects people and processes, influences the response to challenges and opportunities, and ultimately impacts performance and profitability.

It’s also really tough to get right because a good culture that lasts doesn’t just happen on its own. Creating and maintaining a positive workplace culture takes effort, but the rewards are worth it.

Dr. Daniel Schroeder, president and CEO of Organization Development Consultants Inc., makes a living on improving individual, team, and organizational effectiveness. Since he co-founded ODC with Dr. Nicholas Claditis in 1994, his company has served more than 1,000 organizations of all sizes and from all employment sectors.

“Culture, or what I like to call the ‘other bottom line,’ is a strategic issue every bit as complex — probably more so — as finding a recipe for financial success at the bottom line,” notes Schroeder. “The reason it is so challenging is that the kinds of things that bear upon culture (i.e., vision, mission, values, goals, processes, performance measures, corrective mechanisms, power/status, relationships, reward systems, etc.) are diffuse throughout the organization and need systematic and focused attention on an ongoing basis, along with committed resources and executive-level sponsorship on a regular and ongoing basis.

“Long story short, top leaders set the tone along these lines,” Schroeder adds. “‘What gets measured, gets done’ is a powerful truth, so if culture matters, it must be targeted, pursued, and measured.”

Typically, Schroeder explains, when working with a company on improving its culture, a needs analysis or discovery activity is undertaken to determine areas of strength and development areas. A targeted action plan is then constructed in which ODC works closely with the executive sponsors — typically top leaders — to encourage process improvements, emphasizing the critical role that leaders play in the change management process.

“In terms of structure, an ‘open systems’ configuration tends to do the best job of promoting growth and renewal,” Schroeder says. “Such cultures tend to be inclusive, open, and externally-focused; they recognize that change is inevitable and, as a result, they build change-friendly work environments that envision change by spurring employees at all levels to be creative, clever, and innovative. Such cultures are the opposite of the ‘hierarchical bureaucracy’ that tends to be slow, ponderous, and invested in perpetuating ‘what works.’”

At the next IB Seminar, Tuesday, Nov. 14 from 9–11 a.m. at The Alliant Energy Center, Schroeder will guide attendees through the process of analyzing their organizational culture and will offer strategies to position organizations toward measurable success.

Attendees will learn:

  • The pillars of organizational effectiveness;
  • Critical questions for peak performance organizations; and
  • A dynamic model for organizational structure.

“Frankly, organizations should ask these questions along the way, not just when things are starting to slow down or regress,” notes Schroeder. “A perpetual restlessness is the key to organizational effectiveness — a sense of pursuing organizational growth and renewal all of the time by challenging the status quo and making learning and innovation part of the fabric of the organization.”

For more information and to register visit

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