The Four Pillars of High Performance

How Robust Organizations Achieve Extraordinary Results

Paul C. Light
Release Date: January 1, 2005

In 1999, Paul C. Light embarked on an ambitious project which, if successful, would provide organizations of all kinds with a powerful new tool for navigating the turbulent sea of change that is today’s global business environment. A guide to achieving and maintaining superlative performance in a highly unpredictable world, this book is the fruit of that endeavor. In it you will learn proven methods for hardening your organization against the surprises and risks of an uncertain future, and how to maintain a competitive edge by being the first to identify and capitalize on the most promising growth opportunities.

In The Four Pillars of High Performance, Light paints a portrait of the “robust organization”—that rare organization which possesses both the agility to adjust to changes in the external environment at a moment’s notice, and the compass needed to maintain a steady fix on its strategic horizons. He takes us inside a number of these organizations across a range of business sectors, as well as in government, the military, and more. From the examples set by a variety of world-class performers, Light extracts the four key traits common to all robust organizations:

1. ALERTNESS: Spotting fluctuations as they emerge—not after their effects have already been felt

2. AGILITY: Empowering employees with the authority to make routine decisions, reducing barriers between units, encouraging participatory management, and fostering open communications

3. ADAPTABILITY: Changing with circumstances and taking advantage of new opportunities as they arise

4. ALIGNMENT: Saturating the organization with information and providing effective information technology

The Four Pillars of High Performance is an indispensable and unprecedented blueprint for transforming any company into a robust organization.