DS Performance Group - Dramatic and Sustainable Performance - Individuals, Teams, and Organizations
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Integrated Performance Strategies

Dramatic & Sustainable Performance Improvement

Our current approach to performance improvement fails to capture up to 90% of the available performance when addressing complex performance problems.

This is due to our over reliance on narrowly focused interventions that address only a single aspect of performance. For example, a training program designed to increase the ability of people to work on high performance teams is rendered useless because it is counter-culture and participants realize this is “just not the way we do things around here.” Because the training failed to address these cultural and attitudinal “roadblocks” there would be minimal transference of learning to the job and little improvement in team performance.

The root cause of our reliance on narrowly focused interventions is the high level of differentiation and specialization between HR, HRD, and OD. Anchored in the old Industrial Age Model of performance, each has their own specialized theories, language, principles, and even their own professional organizations and certification programs. And each has different bosses, with different priorities, who are measured on different things.

This high level of differentiation creates a very narrow focus that minimizes collaboration and leads to unhealthy competition for limited resources and management support, even when operating within the same business unit. As a result, attempts at performance improvement are often fractured, inefficient, and deliver minimal performance improvement. This is why they are often viewed as a waste of time and money by both management and participants!

The Formula for Dramatic and Sustainable Performance

Dramatic increases in performance can be achieved, and sustained over time, when people have the ability, willingness, and opportunity to achieve high performance.

Knowledge + Skills

Knowledge and skills combine to create the ability to perform. Knowledge without skills makes you a consultant or a commentator — I know, but I cannot do. Skills without knowledge make you a “natural.” But even the natural must acquire knowledge if they are to increase their performance beyond their natural capability. It is the individual who possesses high levels of both knowledge and skills that will consistently achieve the highest level of performance.

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Divided by Environmental Roadblocks

Environmental Roadblocks dramatically reduce the opportunity for individuals to use their existing abilities and/or develop new abilities. Think of ability as the accelerator on a car and environmental roadblocks as the brakes. It is hard to get performance out of your car when you have one foot on the accelerator and the other foot on the brake.

Multiplied by Attitudes

Attitudes are a multiplier on the equation. They determine how willing people are to use their ability and to overcome environmental roadblocks. Individuals with positive attitudes are willing to use their skills, willing to learn new skills, and willing to overcome environmental roadblocks to achieve high performance. Willing people learn faster, change quicker, and work longer and harder to maximize their performance and achieve success.

It should be noted that attitudes are also an outcome of the relationship between Ability and Opportunity. People who have the ability to perform, but are inhibited or punished for using their ability, are in a toxic situation - they can do good things and have bad things happen to them. This develops bad attitudes and a cynical work force. On the other hand, people who lack the ability to perform, but have an organization that provides both the opportunity to perform and the opportunity to develop the ability to perform, are in a supportive situation full of opportunity. This tends to create very positive attitudes and a motivated work force.

Ability, Willingness, and Opportunity

Knowledge plus skills creates the ability to perform. Removing environmental roadblocks creates the opportunity to perform. Developing positive attitudes creates the willingness to perform. When ability and willingness are met with opportunity, dramatic and sustainable performance can be achieved.

Consulting Services

Complex performance issues cannot be resolved by outside experts. But internal resources often lack objectivity and can be unduly influenced by internal politics and careers. Use our experience and expertise to lead and/or facilitate the development of Integrated Performance Strategies to address your most critical complex performance problems.

Integrated Performance Strategies

The Performance Equation allows us to develop Integrated Performance Strategies that deliver the ability, willingness and opportunity to perform.

When addressing a complex performance problem, an integrated performance strategy delivers five times greater increase in performance than just removing environmental roadblocks, and 19 times greater performance improvement than either a training or attitude interventions.

White Paper — Integrated Performance Strategies (PDF)

Integrated Performance Strategies tap this potential because they integrate HR, HRD, and OD activities into a single coordinated effort that develops the ability to perform, creates the willingness to perform, and the opportunity to perform.And, these increases can be sustained over time. By recognizing the relationships between the elements of performance, Integrated Performance Strategies assure that ability to perform is met with increased opportunity to perform - which creates positive attitudes and the willingness of people to apply their training and overcome any remaining environmental roadblocks. This upward spiral sustains and builds performance over time.

The really good news is these increases can be achieved with no additional costs. Organizations are already investing in HR, HRD, and OD, and there is little if any increased cost for combining these efforts into an Integrated Performance Strategy. No increase in cost, and a dramatic increase in performance, provides in a tremendous return on the organization's investment in performance improvement.

Integrated Performance Strategies also dramatically reduce the “scrap and rework” generated by competition between HR, HRD and OD. Excessive politics, unproductive competition for resources, cynicism, damaged careers, finger pointing, and blaming are often created when narrowly focused interventions compete for limited resources. Just as in quality, performance is free if you stop making scarp and rework.

Development of Integrated Performance Strategies creates an innovative and creative process very similar to new product development. It brings individual contributors from HR, HRD, OD and Management together to collaboration across organizational boundaries. They coordinate and integrate their efforts to maximize performance and control costs, quality, and cycle time.

Integrated Performance Strategies often require a high performance team to develop a project plan with a critical path. This maximizes the efficiency and effectiveness of the effort and assures it adjusts to learning and changing circumstances.

Integrated Performance Strategies provide several significant benefits:

  1. They reduce complex performance issues down to three variables that are straightforward and easily understood. Does the individual, team, or organization have the ability, willingness, and opportunity to perform? This allows for high level discussion, but remains focused on a very specific and limited set of variables.
  2. They provide a simple and straightforward way for engaging management on the level of investment required. Management can easily see, for example, that for a training effort to succeed, the organization may have to make changes in its infrastructure. The time and costs to make these changes can than be calculated.
  3. They help management to accurately assess the probability of an intervention succeeding. An Integrated Performance Strategy allows management to understand the complexity of a performance problem and the scope of the solution. This allows management to made decisions on information and analysis and not “best case” scenario.
  4. They increase collaboration between HR, HRD, and OD resulting in more innovative and creative solutions to complex performance problems.
  5. They maximize the return on the organization's investment in training, teambuilding and organizational development.