Powerhouse Approach

A practical, validated approach for sustained performance transformation


Powerhouse research shows that sustained winning performance reflects sustained winning organizations – no more and no less. Powerhouse organizations share common attributes – the “whats” of high-performance – albeit these attributes are established in different ways each time. By understanding these Powerhouse Principles, ambitious leaders can quickly mobilize performance transformation in their organizations. 

Clear description of what winning performance means for the institution, that pushes the boundaries of the its capabilities and track-record
Articulation of why the institution wants to win, that captures the imagination and aligns the interests of all
Scorecard of metrics – lagging and leading – that link directly to winning consistently over time. Showing performance and also creation of capability and capacity
High standards institutionalized and lived as a value. Fast, visible and consequential acknowledgment and management of performance
Narrow performance “distance” between highest- and lowest-performing individuals and teams, driving and maintaining the pressure to perform
Established practice of taking decisions as close to the action as possible, driving quantity and quality of decision-making and conversion of decisions into impact
Standards for what it means to be a member of this team, that convert into real, live behavioural expectations and norms
Strong, ongoing connection across institutions, their leaders, their staff and their stakeholders – enabling performance through shared understanding and commitment
Institutional capacity to avoid and address negative “shocks” to the system – anticipating events before they happen and dealing with the aftermath when things go wrong
Enduring commitment to learning and development that draws in particular from experience – enabled by a culture that is objective, constructive and development-oriented
Delivering performance through teams that reflect both the participants and the tasks in hand. Recognizing that sustained institutional excellence is a collective endeavour
Institution-wide focus on pushing performance boundaries. Building the capacity to “improve the rate at which we improve”

The Powerhouse Model describes how leaders should approach performance transformation to deliver fast, sustained impact

Powerhouse organizations achieve short-term results while building medium-term performance capacity and capability in parallel. They extend their advantage by improving the rate at which they improve.

Powerhouse performance transformation requires working iteratively within and across four pillars as follows

  1. Plan – Achieving and sharing clarity of vision and strategy, all the time
  2. Priorities – Ensuring consistent focus on the few key enablers of breakthrough progress
  3. People – Establishing high-performance behavioural standards and cultures
  4. Process – Implementing efficient, effective ways of working that enable delivery today and improvement tomorrow