What’s It Take to Bring a Paper Process to Life?

The Short Answer: Enablers

Assuming the Process is designed right … in order to meet the needs of all of its Stakeholders …

What are the enablers required? The EPPI Fishbone helps you derive:


With my acknowledgment to the Ishikawa Diagram.

The Long Answer … and For Just Half of It

The enabler requirements are met by various assets … both human and non-human assets.

Human and Environmental Asset Requirements

The assets that are required for high performance of enterprise processes can be systematically derived and viewed via my “Targeting EPPI” models, methods, tools, and templates.


We’ll focus on just the human side of things in this post, and not with the environmental asset side.

But it – the environmental asset side – must be taken into account when dealing with the human asset side.


And vice versa.

The Human Asset Requirements

The following human assets, or key human variables, include both “individual” and “group/team/organization” items within each of the following categories:

  • Awareness, knowledge, skills
  • Physical attributes
  • Psychological attributes
  • Intellectual attributes
  • Values

The importance of getting a handle on what’s really needed from the human variable, and then what’s currently missing in an effort to improve process performance, is driving enterprise management and many of their suppliers to create and test concepts, models, and tools such as

  • Competency Management Systems
  • Enterprise Resource Planning Systems (ERP)
  • Knowledge Management Systems (KMS)
  • Performance Management Systems
  • Learning systems (“e” and otherwise)

These potential solutions need to be viewed within a larger contextual framework. IMO.


And …


The Environmental Asset Requirements

Processes must have a balance between having the right human assets and having the right environmental assets.

These two complementary sets of assets need to be in place in order to ensure value-adding processes. Human assets work with/manipulate the environmental assets in order to process an output.

One can’t effectively improve human assets without an understanding of the environmental factors within the processes in which humans perform.

The following are the categories for environmental assets:

  • Information/data
  • Tools/equipment
  • Materials/supplies
  • Facilities/grounds
  • Budget/headcount
  • Consequences (+/-)

Some processes don’t have to be in control; this might seem to imply that all need to be in tight control. Not true. They need to be in good enogh control given the risks and rewards at stake. IMO.

However … Control won’t make up for a bad business plan or reconcile with other goals within the enterprise.

But it is still a critical component to pulling off the business plan. The stakes are high or high-impact processes. High-stakes poker is played at a high-stakes table for a reason. Failure is usually not a viable option, for it can result in the death of the enterprise.

Again, our focus here is with the human asset side of process improvement and not with the environmental asset side. But they both must be taken into account when dealing with any one component.


They are both part of a system.

The Human Assets of Targeting EPPI

Humans bring several types of attributes/capabilities to the enterprise processes that they work in and to the environmental assets with which they work.

Again, these are

  • Awareness, knowledge, skills
  • Physical attributes
  • Psychological attributes
  • Intellectual attributes
  • Values

Awareness, knowledge, and skills come in many types and varieties. My methods use 17 knowledge/skill categories to systematically tease these out, once we know what the process performance requirements are. For each knowledge/skill “item,” one performer might need to be only aware of what other performers need to know much more about, while yet another group of performers may need to have an actual skill level.

Physical attributes can include “items” such as the five senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell; as well as height, weight, strength, endurance, etc.

Psychological attributes can include “items” such as positive attitude, aggressiveness, risk taking, cautiousness, detail orientation, big picture orientation, etc.

Intellectual attributes can include “items” such as conceptual thinking, concrete thinking, strategic thinking, process thinking, etc.

Values can include such “items” as customer satisfaction orientation, teamwork, diversity, fairness, honesty, work ethic, family, etc.

These human factors/enablers need to be present to some degree to meet the specific process needs. Meeting these needs helps manipulate the environmental factors/enablers, which in turn helps to produce the desired outputs. These outputs are inputs to some downstream process(es).

Gaps need to be addressed by those Enterprise systems in place.

The following is my starter systems model – until I can adapt it to the specific client’s specific organizations and roles/responsibilities.

Overview: Human Asset Management Systems

The Human Asset Management (HAM) Systems then provision humans into processes in concert with the processes’ needs.

The HAM Systems include the following:

  • Organization & Job Design Systems
  • Staffing & Succession Planning Systems
  • Recruiting & Selection Systems
  • Training & Development Systems
  • Performance Appraisal & Management Systems
  • Compensation & Benefits Systems
  • Rewards & Recognition Systems

Those HAM Systems … in a larger context …

The EPPI HAMS and EAMS Model

Note the portion of the above graphic at the top left.

Those are where the requirements to be met – come from: Process Performance Requirements … and assessment of the adequacy of the current state enablers.

And the ROI at stake for any/all gaps. Before addressing. And only addressing IF the ROI warrants. IMO.

It’s All About Performance Competence


I come at this all from a T&D/L&D perspective … and a desire to help my clients Improve Performance and avoid unnecessary Instruction/ Training/ Learning/ Performance Support.

Because it’s not all about Learning. It’s all about Performance.

More About My Analysis Efforts

Can be found in Chapter 11 of the 2006 Handbook of Human Performance Technology.

Slide28 (2)

Modeling Mastery Performance and Systematically Deriving the Enablers for Performance Improvement – by Guy W. Wallace, CPT – Chapter 11 of the Handbook of Human Performance Technology – 3rd Edition – 2006. PDF.

This methodology was first published in this 1984 article in ISPI’s (then NSPI’s) PIJ in November 1984. PDF.

HAMS – Human Asset Management Systems

Each of the seven HAM Systems is overviewed in the graphic below.

Note: examples of Solution Interventions are suggested in the graphic.


Once the analysis effort has targeted the process(es) and causes for any performance problems, one or more of the following HAM Systems may need to be addressed and changed. As always, it depends.

Organization & Job Design Systems

This system takes the totality of enterprise process performance requirements for an organization and determines all of the ideal human assets required, then designs the jobs most conducive to those realities. Once the jobs are designed and the 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 goal is to get all of the human performance requirements (to perform tasks to produce outputs) sorted. This is done by sorting the process performance tasks into role groupings and then groups those into job groupings. Depending on the volume of performance and, therefore, the volume of tasks, some tasks/roles may be combined with others into jobs.

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

Staffing & Succession Planning Systems

This system takes the job designs, their process performance requirements, and the enabler requirements, and determines who to recruit, how many, from where, and how.

Forecasting the needs, reporting that data, and feeding it to the other HAM Systems allows for rational succession planning systems/processes that ensure the organization is optimally staffed and that tomorrow’s leaders are being prepared today.

Recruiting & Selection Systems

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 attributes gap. Others will be less important. Some will be ignored. It is situationally dependent.

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

Training/Learning & Development Systems

This system takes the individual and backfills them with the missing key knowledge and skills not acquired during the recruiting and selection processes.

Sometimes the recruiting and 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 deep technical expertise, such as an electrical engineer or a programmer. It would probably be best to hire an engineer or programmer with a solid base of expertise and then teach them new things on top of their current levels of knowledge/skill.

But 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 adjusted/developed, but most likely at too great a cost and too great a cycle time.

Performance Appraisal & Management Systems

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.

Compensation & Benefits Systems

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, 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.

Rewards & Recognition Systems

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

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

Human Asset Management Systems Summary

The HAM Systems work in conjunction with each other and with the environmental assets in place (in the process), and as driven by the process performance requirements to ensure that the right humans are in the right place to get the process performance job done.

Again, our focus here was with the human asset side of process improvement and not with the environmental asset side. But both must be taken into account when dealing with any one component. Always. 

Systems Thinking demands such.

For More

See my book… here.

2011 f FTTPIC book cover

# # #


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.