Step 3– Smoothly Segueing from Training to Performance

This Blog Posting addresses Step 3 in making a Smooth Segue from Training to Performance.

This is part 2 of 4 of a series of Blog Postings addressing “the segue” from training to performance…or…from learning to performance. And how to make that shift more smoothly and successfully! The first Blog Posting was on published July 21 on: Step 1, and Step 2 was published on October 22, 2007.

Segue: To move smoothly and unhesitatingly from one state to another (from: the American Heritage dictionary).

In my model, there are 3 steps in making a smooth segue from training to performance. Those three major steps or milestones are:

1st- Effective Instruction: being very effective in producing performance-oriented T&D in terms of reducing life cycle costs and increasing returns…Total ROI. If you don’t have credibility here yet, don’t move on to #2.

2nd- Aligned Instruction: being aligned with the enterprise leadership, and being used in the support of critical enterprise challenges, where there is significant return-on-investment, and value add, and/or for high-penalty risk issues are at stake. You need to do well in these highly visible arenas with communications and training & development. Here’s where being excellent at #1 pays off and enables you to take that final step to #3!

3rd– Beyond Instruction: being able to easily add to your analysis approach methods/tools to determine both “the requirements” and the “actuals/gaps” regarding all other process/human performance variables. Conduct your performance improvement consulting within instructional consulting efforts, all the while delivering excellence in response to instructional needs in critical high-stakes areas. Collaborate with other improvement speciality groups using a blended approach – yours and theirs combined. Leveraged.

Later, change the name of your department, to Performance Improvement or Performance Engineeringafter you’ve earned it. Not before – unless you are real sure you can deliver on 100% of your efforts.

Step 3– Beyond Instruction
Once you’ve achieved the first two steps, and you are doing great, performance-based communications, education, and T&D (aka: Learning/Knowledge Management, etc., etc.) and you are aligned and working successfully on the top priorities of the Enterprise, you are ready for even deeper water. Come on in!

The 3 key levers for achieving peak performance include:

1- the Process itself, and/or
2- the Human Assets, and/or
3- the Environmental Assets

You should have mastered looking at the process and the Knowledge/Skills in Step 1 of this Segue model…now you need to use that same group of Master Performers in your analysis meetings to determine the needs and gaps for the non-Knowledge/Skills variables. Let’s quickly look at each of the 3 sets of variables again.

The Process
We use Performance Models and perhaps Process Maps before that to document the requirements of ideal performance and capture info about the gaps and their probable causes. Those probable causes can be analyzed further then to determine if they are truly at the “root” of the issue or not. Again, this is the same as in Step 1.

Think of the process as “THE PLAY.”

The Human Assets
The humans, individually and as groups, are an asset. The asset variables that the humans bring (or don’t bring adequately) to the performance are:

  • Knowledge/Skills
  • Physical Attributes
  • Psychological Attributes
  • Intellectual Attributes
  • Personal Values

You can design the jobs a certain way to fit the round and square pegs of humans into round and square jobs and roles. You can bring people into the jobs where they have most of the right stuff, and minimize training/learning/KM costs and cycle time.

But if they don’t know “it” walking in the door, or “the “it‘ of performance requirements” changes on them, then you’ll need to address that need with instruction/information or job aids (a paper and/or electronic combination of the two: Instruction/Information).

Think of humans as “ACTORS” in the performance PLAY.

The Environmental Assets
The environment provides resources for the humans to use/manipulate to create the products demanded by the process requirements. These include:

  • Data/Information
  • Materials/Supplies
  • Tools/Equipment
  • Facilities/Grounds
  • Budget/Headcount
  • Culture/Consequences

Without the right non-people stuff, performance must suffer.

Think of the “STAGE and the PROPS” for the ACTORS to use in the PLAY.

Now What?
Analysis of the whole “performance/play” PROCESS is required – as well as it’s upstream processes and suppliers and it’s downstream processes and customers…and perhaps the customer’s customer’s customers as well.

And analysis of all other stakeholders and their requirements…stakeholders are “The AUDIENCE.” You’ve got to look at the big picture in order to make sense of the piece parts of performance. Or you might inadvertently optimize a piece and sub-optimize the whole. And that’s not good!

Once you’ve found the “gaps from ideal” you will have to address and fix one, two, or all three of the variable sets. Now let’s cover those.

1– Business Process Engineering/Reengineering
The Process must be designed to meet the metrics of it’s stakeholders. If it isn’t getting that job done, then the process can be streamlined using “lean” approaches to process reengineering, and then, where appropriate, can be put under tight statistical process control using SPC and Six Sigma approaches.

Or not such tight control, such as in the case of a comedy writing team, or the new marketing campaign strategists. Looser control is needed there, so as not to inhibit/stifle creativity. As always, it depends.

2- Human Asset Management Systems
Human assets are acquired, developed organized, managed and retained using the following HAMS…

Performance-based Organization & Job Design
The Organization & Job (Re-)Design Systems provide a set of job designs and an organization design conducive to the needs of the process, it’s volume, and configured for the likely abilities and capabilities of the human performers who will be selected into those jobs in the locations where the performers will perform.

The Organization & Job Design System takes the totality of enterprise process performance requirements for an organization, and determines all of the ideal human assets required, and then designs the jobs to be most conducive to those realities.

Once the jobs are designed and responsibilities defined, the organization is by definition designed. Just as “form should follow function” we believe that “organization design should follow process performance requirements.”

The job designs then roll up into the organization design. It is a “bottoms-up” approach driven by the visible top down “end goals” of the process performance requirements of the stakeholders.

Performance-based Staffing & Succession Systems
The Staffing & Succession Systems provide the strategies, plans and mechanisms for staffing plan development, and succession planning, including the strategies, plans and mechanisms necessary to populate the organization’s jobs with people in an efficient/effective manner, providing career and growth opportunities where possible/feasible.

Staffing & Succession Planning Systems takes the job designs, their process performance requirements, and the human enabler requirements, and determines who to recruit, how many, from where, and how.

Forecasting the needs and reporting that data and feeding it to the other HAM Systems allows for rational succession planning systems/processes that ensures the organization is optimally staffed and that tomorrows leaders and performers are being prepared today.

Performance-based Recruiting & Selection Systems
The Recruiting & Selection Systems provide the strategies, plans and mechanisms for first recruiting and then selecting the best candidates in the right quantities, consistent with the Staffing & Succession plans, and populating the organization’s jobs in an efficient/effective manner.

This system takes the human enablers that are deemed “required” in the new hire (or the new-to-the-job transferee) and creates recruiting guides/instruments to identify and select candidates. Some enablers will be showstoppers because T&D cannot bridge the K/S and attributes gap. Others will be less important. Some will be ignored. It is situationally dependant.

This system must bring humans into the enterprise that have as much of the human attributes needed as possible.

Performance-based Training & Development Systems
The Training & Development Systems provide the strategies, plans and mechanisms to train and develop the new hires and incumbents consistent with their performance requirements in the organization’s jobs, as they have been designed.

This system takes the process requirements to “perform tasks to produce outputs” and provides the individual with communications for awareness needs, education for knowledge needs, and training for skill needs. This system back-fills the individual with any missing key knowledge and skills not acquired during the recruiting and selection processes.

Sometimes the recruiting/selection system may not be able to hire to the ideal. Missing awareness, knowledge and skill might be reasonably addressed by this system. But some items will be too costly to let go with “Recruiting & Selection” and then expect “Training & Development” to pick it up and fix it.

Examples include an electrical engineer job or a programmer job, both of which require deep technical expertise. It would probably be best to hire an engineer or programmer with a solid base of technical expertise and then teach them new things specific to their job, on top of those knowledge/skills that they should have walking in the door.

There are some things that “Training & Development” should not be expected to resolve, at reasonable cost. Physical attributes, psychological attributes, intellectual attributes, and values are somewhat problematic. They might be able to be slightly adjusted/developed. But most likely at too great a cost and too great a cycle time. Better to go back to Recruiting/Selection and handle it there.

Performance-based Performance Appraisal & Management Systems
The Performance Appraisal & Management Systems provide the strategies, plans and mechanisms for appraising the job task performance and managing all issues (problems/opportunities) as appropriate, and consistent with applicable laws/regulations/codes and enterprise policies/procedures.

This system takes the process requirements to “perform tasks to produce outputs” and provides measurement and feedback to the individual performer and to their management.

Where performance is falling short of the requirements, performance management, including “development planning (back to the T&D System) as well as last resort efforts such as “progressive discipline” and possible “termination” may be required to resolve the issue and meet the process needs.

Performance-based Compensation & Benefits Systems
The Compensation & Benefits Systems provide the strategies, plans and mechanisms to ensure that the total pay and benefits attract and retain competent staff, appropriate for the various labor markets for the various locations of enterprise operations, and are consistent with laws/regulations/codes, any labor contracts (if applicable), and enterprise policies/procedures.

This system takes the process requirements to “perform tasks to produce outputs” as well as the “performance measurements results data” and adjusts compensation, in tune with local, or regional, market conditions and other compliance drivers.

Pay for performance, or knowledge, or skills, is fairly easy to structure, build and maintain when you understand clearly the process performance requirements and the human enablers. And it is ultimately more equitable.

Performance-based Rewards & Recognition Systems
The Reward & Recognition Systems provide the strategies, plans and mechanisms for providing non-monetary and small-monetary rewards and recognition to appeal to the ego needs of staff, and are consistent with laws/regulations/codes, any labor contracts (if applicable), and enterprise policies/procedures.

This system takes the process requirements to “perform tasks to produce outputs” as well as the “performance measurements results data” and provides non-monetary (or small monetary) rewards and recognition to motivate the performers.

Recognizing a job well done requires understanding what a well done job looks like.

Environmental Asset Management Systems
A quick overview here…

Performance-based Data & Information Systems
The Data/Information Systems provide all of the work orders and instructions, the policies/procedures, strategies and plans, and all data/information needed to enable job holders to perform at a level of mastery. Information Technology/”e” may be used to store and access this data, or it may use paper or verbal systems. The brake shop staff may use both paper job aids and electronic procedure manuals to guide their performance, after reading the work order that’s on paper or on screen.

Performance-based Materials & Supplies Systems
The Materials & Supplies Systems provide all of the materials and supplies needed to enable job holders to perform at a level of mastery. Most trainers use flip chart paper and pens in classroom/group settings. The performers relining your car brakes will use brake pads.

Performance-based Tools & Equipment Systems
The Tools & Equipment Systems provide the tools, equipment, machinery, and vehicles needed to enable job holders to perform at a level of mastery. The old brake repair garages used hydraulic lifts to get the performer under the car. Today many performers simply walk down into the “pit.”

Performance-based Facilities & Grounds Systems
The Facilities & Grounds Systems provide the buildings, grounds and facilities (communications/power/water/etc.) needed to enable jobholders to perform at a level of mastery. The brake shop needs a shelter to conduct the work within and a parking lot for employees and customers, and the “pit.”

Performance-based Financial Systems
The Financial Systems provide the capital and expense budgets, and the headcount budgets to management, needed to enable and support job holders in performing at a level of mastery. The brake shop management needs money to buy supplies, make change for the customers paying in cash, and to make payroll. They’ll need funds to pay the electrician too after a storm wipes out the breaker box.

Performance-based Culture & Consequence Systems
The Culture & Consequence Systems provide enterprise cultural norms, and all of the management reinforcements (and extinguishments) needed to encourage (or discourage) and enable job holders to perform at a level of mastery. The brake shop management needs to provide a shop culture and the balance of consequences (+/-) to ensure that the crew doesn’t show up late everyday, or sometimes not at all.

Planning and Organizing the Fixes
Does the process need to be streamlined first (lean-ed), and new Environmental Assets put in place and then the jobs redesigned and the Human performer’s selected differently…and then trained, but only as needed?

What needs to happen first, second, third and on – needs careful thought. What needs to wait on something else and where can things be done in parallel? Planning the fixes is critical from a P.E.R.T. perspective.

Going Beyond the Current State Ideal
If the Enterprise need is to improve beyond that of current level of Mastery, then all three of the 3 EPPI key variables will need to be looked at for potential “discontinuous improvement,” more of a radical change than an incremental change.

Addressing any of the process, human or environmental gaps from ideal in either a new build effort or in a repair effort could lead to sub-optimization unless one understands the impacts to downstream and upstream efforts. It’s a system, interconnected and dynamic.

Think again of the Play analogy…where all of the story lines of the 3 or more ACTS need to connect and flow – and be supported by the actors and the stage/props.

Part 4 of 4 will summarize this Blog Series.

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