Managing Cognitive Task Performance Producing Intangible Outputs

In my view of Process Performance – you might be calling it WorkFlow Performance or Workstream Performance – it takes both the overt, Behavioral Tasks and the covert, Cognitive Tasks to produce Outputs.

It takes those two kinds of Tasks to produce Outputs – and there are two kinds of Outputs. Outputs can be Tangible – physical, kickable, and they can be Intangible – amorphous, hard to grasp.

Intangible Outputs include General ideas/thoughts and Specific ideas/thoughts, such as
– Discrimination’s
– Determinations
– Decisions

Those 3 Ds, are BTW, from my 2021 book: The 3 Ds of ThoughtFlow Analysis.

Mirjam’s Foreword can be read – here.

I bring all of this up after spending some time in my own ThoughtFlow on the topic of Remote and Hybrid work and How Managers Need to (finally) switch over from the very old school approach to management – of business behaviors – to interim and final Outputs.

This BTW, is my contribution to “The Battle Against the Cult of Behaviors” – started (in my mind anyway) by the late Thomas F. Gilbert, in his 1978 book: Human Competence.

Just as T&D/L&D professionals have historically focused too often and too exclusively on “Behaviors sans Outputs” – Managers have historically focused too often and too exclusively on “Behaviors sans Outputs.”

Managing BSOs – Behaviors Sans Outputs

Tangible Outputs, anyway.

When their people are working remote all of the time, or in a hybrid approach part-of-the-time, managers can no longer pretend to manage by monitoring performance via overt Behaviors.

They’ll now have to look over Outputs – the products of Behaviors – both overt and covert.

Which brings me back to Cognitive Tasks and Intangible Outputs.

How can managers manage that kind of Performance? It’s invisible – both the Tasks and the Outputs.

Two ways come instantly to mind:

  • Ask about those Intangible Outputs via a quick dialogue/interview.
  • Ask to have the Intangible Outputs converted to Tangible Outputs – by having them written down.

Or do both – an Enterprise kind of Show and Tell.

Managers are going to need help in learning how to Plan Remote Work, Monitor Remote Work, and Troubleshoot Remate Work.

Performance Competence – is the ability to Perform Tasks to Produce Outputs to Stakeholder Requirements.

Whether “in the office” full-time – part-time – or never.


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