Ambition is the key driver of sustained high performance

A recent article issued by HRM notes that many leaders have found themselves stuck on the back foot in ‘survival mode’, and one of the first casualties of recession is ambition.

Many organisations experiencing recession turn inwards and backwards, shrinking their organisations and cutting costs, investment and heads.

However, it is clear that the recession has brought with it significant opportunities. The organisations taking advantage of this are delivering greater outcomes for themselves and their stakeholders in the short-term and to establish platforms for sustained high performance over time.

Examples are Apple, Tesco and Ryanair, also the finalists in the E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year awards. We are also seeing a major trend in increased interest and participation in sports such as GAA and Rugby Union.

Ambition seems to be the one key attribute that separates winners from others.

Good ambitions are:

–           ‘unreasonable’ – they challenge the paradigm – pushing ambition to a virtually unreachable level

–          Captivating – they engage and energise the whole organisation

–          Connected – they reflect the organisation’s core purpose

–          Two-sided – they are constrained to reflect risk (they don’t ignore risk)

–          Non-directive – they capture the destination without prescribing the journey