Performance-based Management & Leadership Development – Should Address Their Real Work Expectations

I was lucky to fall in to a group/crowd early in my career – and to be able to learn from their wisdom and experience – in looking at the performance requirements before looking at what topics to present for management and leadership development.

But let’s not go into the differences between management and leadership as I’ve discovered in 25+ years that that is all about semantics.

In the Winter 1987 newsletter of my firm at the time, R. A. Svenson & Associates, we published a short article: “How to make Your Management Development Program Performance-based” (here – starting on page 1).

About 6-7  years later the three of the partners of what was to become SWI sat down and poured through the 20 sets of analysis data we had generated in the various Management Curriculum Architecture Design projects we had undertaken with F500 firms. We generated a starting point model of the commonalities we uncovered (and knew were there).

That model has morphed a bit since those days and is the focus of my book: Management Areas of Performance – a DIY book to define, using the starting point templates, the authentic performance requirements of managers at any level, and to define priority gaps/areas for growth, leading to a developmental plan.

That book is available as a free PDF here.

Not all good leaders are good managers and not all good managers are good leaders – or so the saying goes. Do you need one strength versus another in various organizational roles? Are leaders born not made – but then how does the military do it?

Should your management curricula and the pre & post curricula focus on topics in leadership – or tasks in leadership?

Is your effort guided by generic competencies? How can you turn those into actual behavioral and cognitive tasks producing outputs meeting stakeholder requirements? Or is addressing those generic competencies “filling the bill?”

Here are the Early Reviewer quotes for the book: Management Areas of Performance from board members and presidents of ASTD and ISPI, and from 2 former Baldrige Examiners:

Mark Graham Brown

Large government and corporate organizations continue to spend money on canned or custom-developed leadership programs that fail to produce effective managers. This book presents a proven methodology for determining the specific management competencies needed for success in your own organization. By using this approach, based on studies of your most effective managers, you will build the foundation of a program that will allow you to select and train a large cadre of effective managers and leaders.

John Coné

One of the great strengths of the book is that it is NOT about competencies.

You make an outstanding point that there is more to the job than just

possessing (or even exhibiting) competencies.

I really liked the book. Now, I have to be honest with you – it surprised

me that I did. I have never been a fan of “workbook” type books that

require me to do a lot of introspection and homework. Maybe that’s because

I’m lazy, or maybe because they require me to accept the models in the book

as I go along rather than deciding after I have read it all how well they

will apply to my world. Whatever the case, when I saw how your book was

organized, I figured I wouldn’t like the format and then I’d have to figure

out how to tell you that.

But it didn’t happen that way.

I think it is because of the way the book is organized, and perhaps also because you keep things relatively simple. You don’t ask me to buy into a complicated and unusual model; but one that is pretty straightforward and logical. I also think that using the technique of directing people to the chapters that apply to them the most (as you do in Chapters 4 and 18, for example) prevents us from having to slog through work that we are not sure goes to the heart of our concerns. That is a brilliant move, and I wish more authors used the approach.

Thanks for the chapter summaries. They keep the reader on track and tell us

what you as the author think are the key points of each chapter. The intros

also do a great job of keeping us oriented.

The book reads easily and is very clear and concise.


Judy Hale

I do like the way you have grouped the areas of performance. You have developed a useful tool and process to help identify, define, and evaluate managerial competencies.

Margo Murray

How I spent my holiday weekend ….Actually several enjoyable hours of it were spent reading your new book! Congratulations on completing this comprehensive treatment of an essential subject. Here are some general impressions:

►   It will be very useful as a handbook and desk reference for managers, especially newer ones

►   I like the flexibility to access and use the sections most relevant to a current role or responsibility

►   Some chapters will serve as excellent checklists, for example the troubleshooting ones

I found myself many times thinking, “I wish I had written this book when my management experiences were being tested and improved.”

Joe Sener

I like the model. It will help organizations on several levels:

►   Clarity of what should be the responsibility of each level of management

in the organization.

►   The recognition that different individuals will be better at some of

these AoP’s than at others — and that is not only OK but that diversity

adds strength to the organization.

►   A detailed description of the skills required of each role at the

individual contributor line as well as an assay of those skills at the

organizational level.

►   A recognition of the time required at the Management Support level which

is seldom, if ever budgeted for by the organization but is just assumed

that we will find the time for it. I believe that upwards of 40% of my

time is spent just managing Human Assets.


Darlene Van Tiem

Tremendous performance management tool! Competence is key to inspiring, challenging, and coaching employees. Every leader should require Management Areas of Performance as part of a performance assessment empowering their managers to develop competencies, thus improving competitiveness and organizational effectiveness.

Comprehensive, well organized, and motivational.

Actually, I think that it is a terrific succession planning, career development, and employee development piece. You have presented, in detail fashion, the full set of competencies. You have not glossed over issues and made it a simple book.


Frank Wydra 

I like where you are going with Management Areas of Performance and I believe it will prove a useful workbook for many who are trying to move beyond training and development and into the bright, glowing work of human performance technology. You can quote me on that, if you so choose.

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2 comments on “Performance-based Management & Leadership Development – Should Address Their Real Work Expectations

  1. Pingback: Management Areas of Performance – Meant To Cover Authentic Requirements | EPPIC – Pursuing Performance

  2. Pingback: EPPIC – Pursuing Performance

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