Michael Bernard presents at the Australian Human Resources Institute 2013 Leadership Conferences

Highlights from Michael Bernard’s keynote presentation.

My presentation is about people management. It concerns the latest thinking about one crucial aspect of people’s capabilities that when developed have a major positive influence on individual and organisational workplace performance including people’s ability to do more with less. Specifically, I want to talk to you about what makes a high performing leader as distinct from describing high impact behaviours of effective leaders.


1. The extent to which people consistently and effectively demonstrate high impact leadership behaviour and display effective styles of leadership depends on the extent to which they possess a wide range of high performance capabilities, what I call, a high performance mindset.

2. It is now possible to describe a high performance capability framework.

3. A high performance mindset can be developed through learning and development, which positively impacts individual and organisational performance.


‘People management’ needs to support business strategy… every organisation has different needs, strategies that provide context and priorities for HR departments for determining how best to develop people’s capabilities.

1. Start ups/induction – attracting right people; upskilling of people to perform

2. Talent management – post-recruitment, need to retain and develop talent

Management training – People attracted to companies because of opportunities and brand, they leave because of bad managers; Managers may know what to do, not how to led

Leadership training – leaders in high performing organisations display ‘high impact leadership behaviour’

3. Downsizing, change, transformation, restructuring – people need resilience to cope with change; today, to do more with less

4. Competency framework – HR has responsibility for developing l and d programs that develop people capabilities as found in capability framework of organisation

What are you trying to achieve, address in your role, current priorities? What are your people management strategies?


I am talking with a start up company Australian company that retails a unique product licensed from USA that is needed. There is little competition. Head of HR involved in recruitment and induction including knowledge of product range and selling technique (e.g., closing a sale). Her company is in massive start up/ growth mode. Over the past year, sales have been slowly increasing; of the 30 in sales in last recruitment, only two are what HR manager considers high performers. Biggest issue for her right now is majority of her sales team members running away after setbacks including working with initially dismissive potential customers and mostly selling, lower-priced products rather than products with high price (tend to be smaller and less worth to the company).

What people management strategy would you call on? What aspects of job training would you support and lead to achieve higher performance: job skills (human), social skills (collegial; client service) or human capability, high performance skills (psychological)?

It’s clear that whatever you do needs to demonstrate clear benefits of investment on business strategy and performance targets. Especially when it comes to budget, a business case needs to be made for ROI.

If you think there is value in this approach, the story that needs to be told to convince decision makers about the need to invest in high performance capability development is that it directly impacts work behaviour and the bottom line.

November 27, 2013 10:39 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

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This post was written by Bernard Group

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