All Work and No Play (1): The Balance That Works

photo: courtesy of

I often wonder if a “result-driven workplace” is synonymous with a hostile work environment where people and relationships do not matter as much (if at all) as the achievement of corporate goals

I wonder, is it possible to have a pleasant work environment and at the same time, achieve/surpass corporate goals? Or are they mutually exclusive?

My musings have led me to do some research, and consequently, I have been able to categorize organizations into 4 main types using a performance and work environment matrix.

Optimum Performance and Work Environment Matrix

First, there are the organizations which have managed to master finding the right balance between optimum performance and a “trust work environment” (Q1). Then there are the Q2 organizations, where work relationships do not necessarily matter as much as the achievement of corporate goals (i.e. where relationships are deemed inconsequential, and are sacrificed for the attainment of corporate goals). We also have Q3 organizations that pursue good work relationships/friendships at the expense of performance. Lastly, the Q4 organizations are those failing on both counts that is, performance as well as the ability to build and sustain good work relationships (this might be an extreme case of course).

What I find is that most companies exist within Q2 – Q4, with only a fraction striking that perfect balance.

In researching Fortune 100’s great places to work and combining same with the Fortune 100 companies, I observed a common theme in some of the practices employed by these Q1 organizations.

I have put together some of these practices that serve to foster a healthy balance. These practices (which shall be discussed in the next post) are premised on the fact that a sense of shared responsibility, mutual respect and a trust environment foster engagement, which ultimately result in high performance.

While Q1 might be challenging to achieve, it is by no means impossible.

*Photo: courtesy of*