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Avoiding “burn out”

Is sustainable organisational performance achievable?

The current situation

According to recent economic figures the UK is “officially” out of recession and is now emerging uncertain from the worst operating conditions for decades.

The impact on organisations has been dramatic, and for many, the effects will continue to be felt. For example, which of the following has your organisation already had to do or will do in the near future: implemented redundancy programmes, undertaken restructures, reviewed the cost-benefit of support functions, reduced working hours, cut training budgets, frozen pay, frozen recruitment or reduced the value of employer provided benefits?

In response, many managers and employees now work longer hours as they take the up strain of work load that ex colleagues would have been responsible for.  Some respond to these pressures, others struggle and this can cause conflict in the work place. Stress, disengagement and sickness are often the visible effects.

Against this context a recent CIPD survey shows that 25% of employees are actively looking to change employers now and almost 3 in 4 want to change within the next year.

So, is sustainable organisational performance attainable?  Is high employee engagement achievable?

It is clear that maintaining organisational and individual performance is extremely challenging and there is no obvious “off the shelf” solution. Furthermore seeking enduring performance is a continuous process and not a one off fix.

Levers for enduring organisational performance

At Fresh Perspectives Consulting we have worked with organisations to help create conditions for enduring performance.  We believe that a combination of tactics, managed and delivered in an integrated way, and as part of business as usual, will drive sustained organisational performance.

Our experience suggests the following six levers are crucial for sustaining performance:

  • Clarity and ownership of organisational purpose
  • Proactive leadership
  • Confident and capable line managers
  • A flexible organisational design
  • Alignment between support and customer facing functions and
  • A culture that encourages learning

For each lever we suggest that sustaining performance will have the following characteristics:

Organisational Purpose

  • A description of the purpose for the organisation which is clear, credible and compelling
  • A vision for the organisation that any employee can explain in their own words, which they engage with and can see clearly how their role contributes to it
  • A purpose that aligns individual, team, functional and organisation wide efforts


  • Day to day role modelling of the behaviours, actions and attitudes that demonstrate the leadership believe in the purpose for the organisation and its future – action not rhetoric
  • In the way the senior team support each other and work together
  • In their day to day encouragement and engagement of their managers and employees to deliver the organisation’s objectives and targets

Managerial competence

  • Line managers whose objectives are clearly aligned to overall organisational objectives, values and performance measures
  • Line managers who are confident, competent and supported to communicate clearly with peers and their staff, who can build and maintain trusting relationships and who can encourage and enable their staff to deliver

Organisational design

  • Definition of roles and structures that encourage the sharing of information and knowledge across as well as up and down the organisational hierarchy
  • Roles designed with competencies to respond flexibly and work smarter in response  to changes in the environment in which the organisation operates
  • Clear career opportunities to encourage retention and development of talent

Aligned HR, Finance and employee communication processes and systems

  • HR processes such as performance management that support managers in setting objectives and rewarding performance that aligns with overall organisational goals
  • Financial processes that enable managers to capture, analyse and make informed decisions on measures that really count
  • Communication systems in which there is meaningful engagement and genuine trust in open, honest exchange between front line and senior management


  • A culture of openness in sharing performance data
  • A continuous desire to appreciate what works well, leverage improvements and innovations and not just a focus on what has not worked

Fresh Perspectives Consulting helps organisations, like yours, assess their fitness for purpose and facilitate solutions that deliver your business goals. We have a track record in assisting organisations in the areas described above. Our experience includes:

  • Creation, and engagement of employees with the organisation’s vision and strategy
  • Top team facilitation
  • Definition and alignment of individual and team objectives with organisation wide performance measures
  • Design of roles, competencies and development plans
  • Review of the fitness for purpose of support functions and
  • Review and evaluation of organisational learning from major change programmes

If you would value some help to assess your current capabilities in sustaining performance or would like to explore how you can enhance performance please contact or call 0208 944 6099.