Culture Development

Growth Culture Vs. Performance Culture

Culture is critical in any business environment – the culture influences nearly everything, from the motivation of the employees to the work that gets done in a typical day. Two of the most common culture types in a company include growth and performance culture. What’s the difference between the two, and why does it matter?

If you’re interested in learning more about a growth culture vs. performance culture, you’re in the right place. Keep reading to learn more about the differences between a growth mindset culture and performance-obsessed cultures, determining which is best for your business, and how to handle a performance culture vs. a growth mindset.

How Critical is a Strong Culture?

Although some might dismiss company culture as something of minimal importance, a significant culture is a critical piece of your company – some might even refer to it as the cornerstone of your business. It will improve the overall atmosphere and structure in many ways.

A strong culture will do the following:

  • Keep employees engaged
  • Assist with hiring new workers
  • Ensure employee alignment to avoid isolation

Culture is critical to keep everyone on the same page.

Overall, you want a culture that focuses on your purpose and strategy for your business, motivating employees and beyond to create a company that is elevated in what it accomplishes. The better aligned your company is with your goals and purpose, the easier it will be to strive towards improved restyle in your business. A culture of growth is always a good thing.

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What is the Difference in Growth Culture Vs. Performance Culture?

A strong culture does matter. If you talk to any business owner about culture, you’ll probably hear about two different kinds – growth and performance culture. While they both sound exciting, they create very different environments for employees to work in. What is the official definition of each of these cultural styles in a professional place of work?

Growth Culture

According to Harvard Business Review, a growth culture creates a safe environment for everyone involved. It’s a structure that focuses on personal growth, hosting effective leaders who take responsibility when they mess up and are willing to display vulnerability to those who work under them.

There is also a focus here on continuous learning for everyone involved, focusing on traits like curiosity and transparency in an environment where nobody feels judged for what they say or ask. Also, there are gentle shifts occasionally, to address deeper issues and reveal that it’s okay to change things up occasionally.

Finally, a culture of growth requires continuous feedback. Everyone gives and receives feedback – employees, leaders, and beyond – to take the company to new heights. Overall, the goal is to grow the business and ensure everyone feels welcome. Everything is targeted around individual goals and taking risks in a safe space. You want to set up your company for success.

Performance Culture

When talking about a growth culture vs performance culture, we also need to focus on a culture of performance. In a performance culture, the point is less about the people involved and more about what is produced along the way. It’s a very different experience. 

For example, in a performance culture, the business goals are related to measurable results rather than personal improvement or learning. Employees are encouraged to continuous improvement, but the high-performance work culture is more focused on performance metrics.

In the long term, a performance culture focuses more on immediate results than a growth-oriented culture. There’s also much less room for failure, which can lead to anxiety among employees and even limit the potential for high-performing employees thanks to the pressure and the minimal room for failing to try something new. 

Significant Differences Between Growth and Performance Culture

We talked about the definitions of high-performance cultures versus a growth mindset in a business. However, there are some significant differences to point out that further set apart a true growth culture and a performance-based culture. Let’s dive into seven of the most significant items that set these two apart.

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Decision-Making Focus

One of the core items that sets apart performance and growth culture is the focus when making decisions. This emphasizes the core motivation when making decisions, focusing on employee potential or significant and instant employee growth.

In performance culture, the emphasis is on looking at who the person is who makes the final choices to rise to the ranks as quickly as possible. A performance-driven culture is far more competitive than a growth one, which means employee engagement might be more aggressive and could become toxic.

In a growth culture, the focus is on the decision itself and the factors to consider before making that final choice. It keeps the scientific method at hand and attempts to teach employees to test various results and try different approaches before making a final decision. It creates an excellent learning opportunity and enhances performance with learning.


Another significant difference lies in the communication of a performance-based culture versus sharing ideas in a growth culture. One is more focused on company growth, while the other keeps a target on goal achievement.

In a goal-oriented culture, the goal of any conversation is an open dialogue and the exchange of ideas. When individuals exchange ideas, the intent is to create a free flow of conversation and participate in learning through inquiry. Higher-ups and consumers can talk about everything from common goals to company coals.

In a performance-oriented culture, the emphasis is on “orders” – it’s a one-way system of communicating that focuses on the outcomes in employee performance. It’s made to provide a job to a person and ask them to accomplish it to achieve company goals, which doesn’t allow employee satisfaction in offering ideas for future success.

Leadership Style

Another item when considering growth culture vs. performance culture is the leadership style you will encounter. Leaders work very differently in a performance instead in a growth atmosphere.

In a performance-oriented culture, if there is an issue, leaders are more likely to react to it and minimize the trouble out of fear of what could happen to the company. They might miss out on development opportunities thanks to this speed of reaction.

In a growth mindset culture, leaders will identify the issues and face them at the correct level. They are far more likely to handle these troubles, rather than ignoring them like performance-obsessed cultures, which is much better in the long term.

Goals in Presentation

Believe it or not, the ways items are presented in a company presentation are impacted by the type of culture surrounding a business. The presentations will vary both in the way they are shown to the employees at the company and the customers they are pitching their product or service to on the market.

Performance-based structures might develop ideas very quickly, which promotes organizational goals right away, but it’s not a mindset that is always successful in our modern world. Their goal is to deliver whatever they need to deliver as fast as possible with the idea of profit, not focusing as much on the long-term value. High-performance cultures want to create without as much intent.

On the other hand, the individual growth mindset promoted in a growth culture offers critical opportunities to take a completely different approach to presenting a product or a service to employees or customers. They don’t react as fast to situations and ensure to keep quality, content, engagement, ongoing feedback, purpose, and more in their promotion.

Companies that use firms with a growth mindset also tend to want to use fewer resources to form more impressions on their content. The world is changing, and individual performance to create organizational growth is a mindset and strategy that will benefit the oncoming years with developmental opportunities and a valuable values-based culture.

Employee Metrics

Another significant difference is in the employee metrics – what is the heart of growth and performance culture? This area refers to how the success of a company is evaluated.

In a performance culture, employee metrics are valued based on performance and results. They tend to become very one-dimensional, looking at what a worker can produce and failing to see the potential they offer to individuals.

In a growth mindset, intentions are the focus. Looking at these can predict potential collaborative exchange in the future and look to potential in various employees. The culture is much healthier than what is at the heart of performance culture. 

Target Audience

The final difference we want to consider between high-performance cultures and performance-based organizational components is the target audience. One focuses on a person, while the other keeps an eye on the customer as an object to increase the status quo.

In a performance corporate culture, even the employees are regarded as customers for those who are in higher positions on the corporate ladder. Employees are assets to the company, and the customers that purchase from the employee are further assets to the business. Everyone is filed into a ranking system, and everyone is perceived as more of a number instead of a living, breathing person.

In a growth culture, everyone involved is seen as a person, unlike in the performance-based one. There is empathy in every step of the employee experience, which trickles down into how employees interact with various customers. In the long term, the treatment of the target audience will influence successful companies versus those who thrive on a culture of fear.


What is the Opposite of Performance Culture?

As mentioned above, the opposite of a performance culture is a growth culture. It’s a very different organizational culture that focuses on the production of products or success rather than the more values-based culture of a growth culture.

Is Growth and Performance Marketing the Same?

Growth and performance marketing are not the same thing. In a growth marketing strategy, the goal is to create customer relationships that lead to a long-term exchange and, therefore, more profit and extended connections, though it might take time to achieve them.

In performance marketing, things happen immediately. It’s very short-term, and the goal is to turn over as many customers as possible in a short period.

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