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Rolls Royce case study: High performance culture

High Performance Culture or HPC was originally introduced across our Aerospace Supply Chain organisation in order to embed a set of collective high performance behavioural change work habits in support of the sector’s dual aim to dramatically enhance Quality, Cost and Delivery execution and respond effectively to unprecedented load growth. HPC has subsequently been extended more broadly across Roll-Royce with 32,000 people having experienced and now utilising the HPC concepts.

The process for engagement has been via highly interactive learning events, complimented by various work-based methods of reinforcement.

What we did.

At its most fundamental level, the HPC process asks every individual to consider the question ‘How can I be at my best more often?’. HPC uses a series of themes, or concepts, to help people break this question down and look at it from the following perspectives:

  • My energy levels.
  • My mood states.
  • The role that mind set and attitude plays in getting things done.
  • Accountability as a fundamental way of working.
  • The importance of teamwork and collaboration.
  • The value of remaining curious and not being judgemental too quickly.
  • Minimising personal distractions to be more ‘in the moment’ for colleagues.
  • The value of effective feedback, in particular appreciation.
  • The personal shadow we cast and how others experience us.

The HPC process is highly interactive and experiential. It is insight-based to enable individuals to build self-awareness as a spring board for making personal choice.

Using a combination of practical exercises, as well as personal and group reflection, HPC provides people with the opportunity to gain insight into their own behaviour against the themes listed above. In doing so, it causes them to reflect on the impact this has on their ability to get results and on the results of colleagues. With this insight, people can then go on to make some informed choices about personal change.

HPC applies to everyone and not just leadership. That said, it is critical that senior leadership and people managers experience the HPC process first because their personal shadow is so important in effective long-term, sustainable change.

To optimise the impact of HPC, the process is typically delivered in intact teams, HPC is not a training programme. It is a process comprised of 3 critical stages:

  • Engage – intact teams experience the HPC themes through a highly experiential workshop. This allows a shared understanding of the themes to be put in place for the team, as well as a common language.
  • Sustain – post-workshop, teams are encouraged to apply the HPC themes to their daily working practices. Support is provided via additional training for each team leader on how to use the HPC themes to help solve business problems. Each team also assigns one of its members to be an HPC Champion to help hold the team accountable to applying the themes. Further reinforcement mechanisms are developed more locally as part of recognition schemes, communications and other key inputs.
  • Measure – progress is tracked via a simple survey tool which is completed 90 days after the Engage Workshop. This tests the extent to which individuals and the team are applying the HPC themes to their daily work. It also invites people to provide working examples of application. Work is also underway to link the Employee Opinion Survey to HPC. For further details on Measurement, please see Appendix 1.


As part of the overall HPC Programme, we have tracked the views of individuals and teams to monitor how, if at all, the culture in changing in the direction we want it to. Using a well-grounded snap shot survey methodology, we are able to see the progress being made.


In addition to the survey data, we also collect stories and anecdotes to bring to life the changes that we are aiming for. Here are a few examples:

  • “By listening to understand rather than listening to gain information, we understood the differences between different parties on the project and were able to resolve situation to everybody's satisfaction in a short timeframe. This gave significant benefits in terms of yield reducing both non-conformance and scrap by over 20%. Although the same result would have doubtless been achieved in the end, by listening to understand this saved significant wasted time for all involved.”
  • “Thinking drives behaviour: By accepting the full customer demand as the weekly output target rather than what we can do with our current capacity we changed the behaviour of the team to a more "can do" attitude with a 25% increase in output.”
  • “The Teamwork Concept is applied in our business much better. In the past, each site had been very isolated and did not ask for help because they feared someone would think they are incapable. The teams are now working together across sites to help each other and also ask for help when needed. This has helped to bring new product introduction projects forward much quicker and to solve problems.”
  • “My team started more taking the ownership of actions which are needed for achieving results rather than blaming others for not delivering. We achieved some great success in delivering parts even when it seemed not to be realistic in the first view.”
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