Culture and concepts

The performance triangle

How to be successful? This is the question every business or decision-maker asks himself, because it ensures success and sustainability. I suggest you think about the three axes that make up the performance: the organization, the employee and the client. There is also the Q.C.D. trio (Quality, Costs, Deadlines), but it is more limited and only applies to a product or service. The three axes that I propose to you in this article are more generic and apply as much to a product, a service, a project, a department as to an organization.

The three axes of the performance triangle

Each axis is used to define what the stakeholder is getting from the product, service or organization. What is the value proposition to the customer, what does it bring to the organization, how does the employee earn?

Let’s take two examples to better understand: a user support service, like Apple Care, then a company that sells shoes.

The simplest axis to complete is that of the client. Indeed, the goal or the mission of the organization are often focused on the client. In the first example, it is a question of supporting the customer to use his computer to its full potential or to solve his punctual problems. In the second example, the goal is to offer the customer a quality shoe, at a cost and in a style that suits him. We find in the offer of the product, the Q.C.D. characteristics

What does the organization win? Loyal and satisfied customers, profits and notoriety.

For the employee it is more difficult. The technical advisor can be proud to solve the problems of users, to explain the use of features. The sales consultant may get shoes for free, has a flexible work schedule.

There is no favorable wind for the one who does not know where he is going.

Seneca the Younger (c. 4 BC – AD 65), Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman and dramatist

A company must therefore know its objectives and ambitions in each of the three axes in order to make the right decisions and measure its performance.

A balanced triangle

Beyond the objectives for the organization, the customers and the employees, it is important to know how to distribute the efforts. We must make choices: the sum of the angles of a triangle cannot exceed 180 °. If you have very strong organizational goals, such as earning 10 points of market share, you will not have the energy to work the other two axes as hard. A triangle is fast to draw, so is your isosceles (same weight for the three axes) or another shape?

Three interrelated axes

In the end, each axis contributes to the other two. It is the corporate culture and management that will define the balance to give to the triangle. The performance is obtained when the three axes are well defined, respected and of a suitable weight, as in the two left triangles. In contrast, the triangle on the right will not bring as much performance as the other two. Indeed, its center of gravity (performance) is more difficult to determine and the fragile balance that results is not sustainable.

Customer focus

A satisfied customer is loyal, consumes more with the brand and generates self-promotion through word of mouth. The organization sells more products, employees are valued (by satisfied customers and long-term employment). The risk is then to be too customer-centric. You will lose money by offering too much to the customer. Or you will penalizee employees by asking them too much effort for the customer.

Organizational focus

Stable finances and excellent control over expenses and investments support good quality products and services at a good price. They generate satisfied customers and employees who find themselves there. The risk is not ensuring the quality of the product / service (to save for example), not rewarding employees at their fair value (low wages) or even making redundancies and asking more for those who remain.

Employee priority

Happiness at work is a shared responsibility with employees that makes them more productive. The organization is therefore competitive and offers products / services similar or superior to the market. Customers know it and buy it. The risk is to do too much for the employees and that the accountability model goes very far (Zappos case in 2015, with 14% of employees resigning). This is the model followed by “liberated” companies.

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What is the corporate vision? How do you wish to achieve this? What are your medium and long-term goals in the three areas? This is how your axes will be balanced around the center of gravity of the performance!

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