Performance Environment: The Key to Employee Engagement...or Disengagement


Organizational culture, and more importantly, the prevailing performance environment that defines that culture, is absolutely a key driver to employee engagement. It is that performance environment that each of us walks into and experiences each and every day that has a profound impact on our personal and team’s commitment, engagement, and results.

Every organization has a performance environment that defines the organization either by design or, often, by default. We have found in our client work that often history and legacy play a big part in the shaping of an organization's performance environment. Over the next three weeks we are going to explore the evolution going on in organizational performance and as you read this blog series you can begin to identify what historical or legacy influences might exist and how these influences are impacting your work environment and employee engagement throughout your organization.

The Evolution of Organizational Performance: Part One - “Do What I Say”: The Emergence of Command and Control

Have you ever experienced a top down, command and control, task focused, highly employee compliant work environment? This type of leadership style and performance environment can still be found today in many organizations or departments. This style has its roots back to the WWII and Industrial Age where decisions were made by a select few and the rest of the organization followed management directives which cultivated a performance environment of compliance (not very engaging, to say the least).

Fortunately, most organizations and leaders are evolving past this, finding that command and control, while highly effective in a past era, is becoming a barrier to sustained organizational performance and has a very negative impact on overall employee engagement. It limits productivity and often creates an environment of blame, justification, and “not my job” can be heard throughout.

This environment can be tough to change if the top of the organization doesn't see (or won't see) the detriment it causes. And year over year financial or bottom-line success in this environment can make it even tougher since past results tend to dictate future behaviors. However, with only 33% of employees actively engaged at work, this type of performance environment leaves much to be desired. So start today.

While not everyone can be at the top of an organization to make the change easier, we can all start right where we are. By actively working to engage those around you with questions like "How can I help?" and "Why don't you take the lead on this?", the old plan, direct, control, and manage model can be flipped to inspiring, enabling, facilitating, and developing. In doing so employees move from compliance to committed and engaged. It has been shown time and time again in our clients that, while the old model can still show bottom-line results, an engaged workforce exponentially grows that success!

This next week, we are going to continue exploring the evolution in organizational performance by looking at the impact the Scientific era of Management of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s has on employee engagement today and into the future.


For more information on how to more actively engage in your organization join our DESTINATION: SUCCESS page, or contact us!


Cornerstone Learning is a performance and leadership consulting organization that has worked with clients all over the world. Our focus is working with individuals and organizations to create performance solutions that deliver top-tier results by inspiring, enabling, and developing employee-led, leader supported, and organization enabled performance. We are able to successfully deliver this through multiple products and services such as employee surveysonline training, performance assessments, and performance coaching. The goal at Cornerstone Learning is to assist our clients in enabling success by developing a dynamic and customized pathway to deliver role model organizational and personal performance.