In last week's post, I explained what culture is, why it's critical to be mindful of and to shape, and consequences of not being intentional about shaping a peak performance culture. This week, I'll show you the characteristics of a peak performance culture, with the hope that you will compare and contrast this to your organization's culture--and take action to make these characteristics part of your daily experience.

A peak performance culture happens when people choose to adopt three specific ways of being and practice seven disciplines.

Ways of being are choices you and your peers make about how you live, behave, and how you show up to others. In a peak performance culture, everybody advocates for the following behaviors and are intolerant when any team member acts in a manner incongruent with these three behaviors.

They are:

1. Being intentional.

Getting what you want because you are clear about what you want. In a peak performance culture, everybody has the same answer when asked:

  1. What are we trying to do?
  2. What's making that hard?
  3. What are the fewest, most important next actions to ensure our success?
  4. Who is accountable for what, by when?

2. Being persistent.

Enduring and adjusting actions until the outcome is achieved. People in a peak performance culture expect things to not go as planned--and they adjust and drive on, but they never stop progressing until their goals are realized.

3. Being integrity.

Honoring your word at all times. The people of a peak performance culture say what they are going to do and do what they say. Thus, they become trustworthy.

Now that we've addressed the behaviors necessary for a peak performance culture, let's discuss the seven disciplines necessary for one:

1. Customer.

Master keeping the main thing as the main thing. Everyone in a peak performance culture has the same answer when asked:

  1. Who is our customer?
  2. What is our customer trying to do and where are they going?
  3. What do they really think of us?
  4. Where have we delighted or disappointed them--even in the smallest manner?

2. Feedback.

Master conversing for learning and growth. In a peak performance culture getting and receiving feedback is seen as an outward act of caring and is provided and received masterfully.

3. Interconnectedness and interdependency.

Master making "over there" disappear. In a peak performance culture there is no "over there." Everybody understands how their actions or inaction affects everyone else in the company.

4. Possibility.

Master giving up "something is wrong." The default reaction in a peak performance culture, when confronted with unexpected developments, is to ask, "What's now possible?"

5. Social contracting.

Master assignment of actions. People in a peak performance culture understand the difference between a statement, request, and command and they expertly use each masterfully. Passive language is eliminated.

6. Power.

Master alignment of key people regarding critical things. In a peak performance culture people are committed to doing everything about the fewest, most important things instead of doing a few things about everything. And everybody is aligned on the most important things.

7. Moral courage.

Master standing on principle, in danger, for as long as it takes. In a peak performance culture, everyone is expected to take difficult stands and have difficult conversations whenever they experience a core operating principle of the organization being violated regardless of the perceived danger that creates.

So, there you have it. The genetic code of a peak performance culture. When your people choose to live into the three ways of being and continually practice the seven disciplines, your organization will be able to change, adapt, thrive, and scale at will.