Performance cultures are driven by the desire to improve performance; Country Club cultures, not so much. Country clubs care about how you look, how you dress, making you feel good, and all kinda other political bullshit. Performance cultures are all about your performance, improving your performance, and doing it the right way. Performance cultures are focused on performance and oftentimes are perceived as hard and harsh. They are after something good, however. Performance cultures are real and raw on our way to getting better, even if it hurts. Perform in a performance culture and you’re gonna get hurt; oftentimes on purpose. During BTL practice today there was some acute pain as we learned the difference between being bullied, bullshit, and built. Performance cultures care enough to bring the pain. High performance cultures, remember, are rigorous not ruthless.
Be kind, leaders. What? What does kindness have to do with HP culture, you ask.
Kind is not nice and can be misconstrued as hard and harsh. Kind is love in action. Kind leaders are the only kind that build sustainable, high performance cultures. These cultures do not bully people into performing, nor do they bullshit people about their performance. HP cultures swim in truth. Performers seek truth about their performance and leaders love them enough to give them the unvarnished truth in LOVE. The aim is to build. Performance cultures build better performers which leads to better performance. This all sounds good. The reality is it hurts acutely to build and allow yourself to be built. Few seek the kinda feedback that can change them for the better. Few care enough about their teammate to hit ’em with the unvarnished truth and make a change in the lineup when the player doesn’t respond. The BTL leader turns ‘em up and turns ‘em out. Tough and tender, not hard and harsh. This team knows they’re being built and knows they’ve got to get better or someone/something better will replace them. Fact.
BTL practice builds high performance cultures. We don’t attempt to balance between culture and hard calls. We are not trying to play nice or have a heart. We build leaders who demand excellence and make hard calls on the road to a high performance culture. So, friend, if you’re gonna be a part of one, you better build some callouses – you’re going to need them. Performance cultures, you see, are TOUGH and tender. Sometimes the ratios feel wrong even though they’re right. You’re gonna get hurt. Sometimes on purpose. Sometimes not. Sometimes your pain is an unintended consequence of your leader pushing you to the brink of your panic zone. Sometimes your pain is the result of a less than virtuous leader with good intentions and less than spectacular execution. Sometimes your pain is simply Y.O.U. being a bit too sensitive.
The world is full of country club cultures. Country club cultures are not built to endure a crisis. The crucible only reveals, remember. What kind of culture is being revealed in your system, leader? Slow down and sit with this for awhile. Look in the mirror not out the window. Be hardest in your evaluation of self. Be rigorous. Hard on self without getting down on self. Building callouses without becoming calloused. Cultivating a strong core, aimed at an authentic opus, and the discipline to PoP it out in the valley or on the climb. BTL builds high performance cultures. These cultures are rigorous not ruthless. You are blessed if you’re being built in one of them. Good? Yeah, we’re good even when it’s hard.
Live hard. Love harder (Thanks, Teeks)…