an interview with Damian Hughes

A high-performance culture – getting the best from what you already have

We all need a business culture that promotes high-performance work practices. Here The IN Group’s CEO, Nick Baxter, alongside Graeme Paxton, founder and CEO of Caraffi and Professor Damian Hughes, take a closer look.

A high-performance workplace is one that works. Employees are motivated and engaged, they understand the company values and goals and exceed expectations. It’s a place that we would all like to work in, but how do you create this ideal working environment?

The IN Group’s CEO, Nick Baxter, and the founder and CEO of Caraffi, Graeme Paxton, spoke to Professor Damian Hughes – an international speaker, best-selling author, and alongside Jake Humphrey, co-host of the much loved High-Performance Podcast. Here are his top tips on how organisations can create a high-performing culture.

This blog is a quick-read summary from our TIG Culture magazine article, ‘How to create a high-performing culture,’ which you are welcome to download here.

Defies Definition – high-performance work practices that work!

Damian explained that even after completing more than a hundred interviews for The High-Performance Podcast, he still hasn’t found a definitive definition of what high-performance means.

“There’s no right or wrong way when it comes to high-performance; only what’s best for you. It’s simply about knowing how to bring out the best in people.”

Damian Hughes

Making It Work

“I just think you’ve got to do the best you can, with what you’ve got, in the moment you’re in.”

Phil Neville

Damian admires football coach, Phil Neville’s unique perspective, as it acknowledges three important components of high performance:

  • We all start from different places.
  • We’ve all got different resources available.
  • We are all in a different time in our lives.

Damian said, “When I look at high-performance that way, it forces me to ask myself, right now, wherever I am and whatever I’m doing, am I doing the best that I can? If I answer yes to that then it stops me falling into the trap of comparing myself to others and telling myself that I’ve got to be number one. I’ve got to hit a certain figure. I’ve got to be in a certain position. That’s not helpful.”

It’s the journey not the destination

Success doesn’t just happen overnight, and achieving high-performance is far more than trophies and titles. It can take years of sacrifice, dedication, and discipline. Damian describes this as “the work in the shadows.”

The journey to success is usually viewed retrospectively. Damian grew up in Manchester city which at the time was the third poorest district in Europe. His father founded boxing gyms and he saw many athletes who went on to become Olympians, boxing champions and achieve success – despite their difficult backgrounds. But a significant moment that went on to shape Damien’s career began in university.

“When I was talking to a lecturer about possible research avenues. He told me that they didn’t actually do research there, they did something he called, “me-search”. “Me-search?”, I wondered. Yes, he explained because we only make sense of things that have happened in life when we look back on them. That’s why he preferred the term “me-search” to “research.” From that moment, I became fascinated in the fields of organisational psychology and culture.”

Damian Hughes

A Culture Problem

Damian finds the term “culture” problematic and encourages leaders not to use it. He suggests that it is more helpful to find a common language. Examining an organisation’s behaviours and traits that become its culture, can be far more beneficial. If you want to uncover more about how Baron and Hannan identified five types of organisational culture you can read our full article here.

Building a high-performance culture can feel overwhelming, but creating an environment with a shared sense of purpose is easier than you might think.

Discover what it means to be a higher performer and what type of culture you should create to achieve high-performance work practices. Read the full article here to find out how to power up your high-performance culture.

To find out more about Damian Hughes, visit Home – Damian Hughes – Liquid Thinker and to listen to his conversation with Nick and Graeme in full,

Unlocked: Culture

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