Not that it would improve my bottom of the barrel position, but…

I had the dubious honor of coming in 4th out of 4 in the vote at the recent ISPI Conference.

I had been asked by the presenters a month earlier for some graphics for their presentation – and as a long-time member of ISPI (since September 1979) I shared some.

They had a couple of older graphics and asked me if they were current. They were not, nor did they tell “the whole story.” So I sent them 5 updated graphics, a presentation, and a 25-page PDF of the chapter I wrote for the 3rd edition of the HPT Handbook (2006) that explained the methodology from end-to-end.

They decided not to use any of the newer 5 graphics that I sent – and I’m not sure exactly what was said/shared or exactly how it was otherwise presented – and it’s okay that I came in last – with ZERO votes – and the name of my models/methods was incorrect – but it really struck me that only 4 “performance models” were included, including one model from a co-presenter – if I have my story straight (as shared with me by some concerned attendees who know a little bit more about my work and methods).

My friend Carl Binder took the top spot – with 68% of the 25 voters. His “6 Boxes” is an update to Gilbert’s Behavior Engineering Model (BEM) – and besides Gilbert’s BEM and PEM Performance Models from his 1978 book, Human Competence – there are BEM versions from the late Donald Bullock and another from the late Roger Chevalier – that might have been considered.

As I’m in the process of writing a book on my models and methods for – “Performance Improvement Consulting” – I’ve recently reviewed others’ Performance Models after finishing my first rough draft, including:

  • Rummler & Brache
  • Fuller & Farrington
  • Jim and Dana Robinson
  • Roger Addison
  • Judy Hale
  • Danny & Kathleen Langdon
  • Harold Stolovitch and Erica Keeps
  • W. Edwards Deming
  • Joseph Juran
  • Phillip Crosby
  • The Baldrige Award
  • The Toyota Production System

The list could go on and on.

In fact, there are probably over 100 such models and methodology sets.

Not to suggest that I’d do any better in a re-vote when all of them were considered. ;)

But an important consideration for me when it comes to models and methods for Performance Improvement – is – do they look beyond Instruction (Performance Support & Learning Experiences) – or are they stuck in that rut?

Joe Harless said as much way back in the mid-1980s.

Two Big Influences for Me – Rummler & Deming

Both of these guys were Process-Oriented. This is me at Motorola with Geary Rummler in mid-1982 – right after I submitted a White Paper to my management suggesting that we combine the models and methods of Deming & Rummler & Rackham to help Motorola implement what Likert called a Systems 4 organization (participative). There’s more to that story – here.

At Motorola I met with engineer Bill Smith – that story is here – who is often credited with inventing Six Sigma.

But did you know that Motorola licensed Geary Rummler Intellectual Property when they created Six Sigma?

It was after my brother sent me this in 1992 that I realized that I was not only a Rummler-ite – but a Deming-ite. Seems I had gone on and on about Deming to him – and he lived half-way across the country (in Deming’s hometown in Wyoming) so I must have “almost” bored him with all of that long-distance from my home-base at the time in Chicago. That story is – here.

EPPI – Enterprise Process Performance Improvement

I created my own set of models and methods – a Frankenstein if you will – from many others.

I Adopted what I could and Adapted the rest. I needed a starting point, a standard process, for my staff consultants – and I wanted something that was more of an engineering approach versus an artist’s colony approach – as that could be extremely important to my clients – mostly (but not exclusively) technical and engineering firms. They were used to standard approaches that were adapted, situationally, each and every time they were used in their client’s/customer’s engagements.

And – my Enterprise Process Performance Improvement models and methods had to integrate with my ISD (LXD) models and methods – as that was/is the business I am in.

But I wanted to assure myself and my staff and my clients that we could/would avoid Instruction (Job Aids & Training) if the reason for the consulting effort was a Problem and/or an Opportunity that wasn’t centered on New Hires’ need to learn how to perform. And that we could “Pivot to Performance” as necessary and not have wasted time, effort, and money.

Here is a taste of what I’ll be covering in that new book – which I hope to have out by August-September of 2022…

What I’ve found lacking in most of the other models and methods for non-Instructional Performance Improvement is a lack of details in what many frame as the “Environmental” Factors/Variables – as well as the other (non-Knowledge/Skill) “Human” Factors/Variables. That’s the essence of the EPPI Fishbone Diagram – but it doesn’t begin or end there.

In fact that Fishbone is Tier 3 in my “views” and at Tier 4 (see the GIF above) there are additional layers that could be Tiers 4-6. And that’s AFTER an initial focus on the Process and its intended/required Outputs – and the Stakeholder Requirements. Then comes the EPPI Fishbone – as both a diagnostic and a design tool.

Here is a foreword by a former colleague – a former Baldrige Examiner – for my 2004 book (written back then but published later in 2007), Management Areas of Performance – which is one element (Tier 2) of my “EPPI Thinking” models and methods.

Management Areas of Performance – Foreword – by Joe Sener

Five years ago, if you asked most senior executives/senior managers what it took to do their jobs, or if you asked them to describe the base skills and core competencies you would get a blank stare. You would be told that the most valuable skill would be entrepreneurial. You might hear about business acumen or you might hear about leadership. You would likely be told that the most successful managers would show great creativity and organizational skills but that by-and-large, it was not possible to measure the core competencies of senior management.

In 1994 I remember meeting with the senior management of a Fortune 50 company and asking what core competencies were required of the top marketing and R&D leaders of the company. We were told that one really couldn’t measure those skills. When we asked for the names of the top three marketing and R&D leaders, they had no problem coming up with the names. It took only a short discussion for them to recognize that they did, in fact, measure these skills in people, they just did not have a structured approach to do it. There was no clear process for measuring these competencies or determining that they were properly aligned with the strategic needs of the company.

Here was a major corporation that prided themselves on a very detailed Strategic Planning process but had no way to determine if the primary asset responsible for the deployment of that strategy was competent to do so.

Since 1988 the Department of Commerce has been presenting the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award to the Best-of-the-Best American companies, schools, and now hospitals. These organizations all follow the same business model, a model built on demonstrated best practices from the most successful organizations in the country. The Baldrige model calls for a detailed understanding of the needs of your customers (Customer Relationship Management), translating them into the language of the organization (Strategic Planning and Management), building organization tactics for deploying the strategy (Operations Planning and Management), developing performance improvement tactics and measures (Results Measurement Planning and Management and Process Improvement Planning and Management).

If this sounds familiar to you, then maybe you have spent some time inside a Baldrige company or maybe you have already read the Table of Contents of Management Areas of Performance. This book clearly lays out an approach to describe the Areas of Performance required to deploy the leadership model and strategies of your organization. To those performance technology specialists in the crowd, you may have been trying to find more effective ways to contribute to the success of your company. Here is a roadmap that clearly ties with one of the most effective business models in use today. Guy Wallace has assembled a rock solid approach to analyze the core competencies of the leadership team to determine the gap between those skills necessary to deploy the strategies and the current state. From this position the organization can define clear strategies for closing those gaps and better aligning the leadership team and leadership system with the future of the company.

Clearly, the organization that does a better job of understanding the connection between these competencies and aligning its strategies and improvement goals will have a competitive advantage over the less clearly directed organization.

Joe Sener
V.P. Corporate Quality Systems and Business Excellence – Baxter International (2004)

Start with the Outputs/Deliverables of Performance

That’s one thing I learned from Rummler & Gilbert and others back in 1979. If you don’t – you need to do all sorts of Analytic Gymnastics to try and prove Transfer and Impact – and even your Reaction and Mastery numbers are suspect – to me, anyway.

That’s the important thing to measure – Output Metrics. Because if your Knowledge/Skill metrics are now great and your Task Performance numbers are now great – but the Output numbers are not – well, “Houston, we have a problem.”

My Books

All of my books (28 so far) can be seen on my Amazon Author’s Page – here.

The new one (in process/progress) on Performance Improvement Consulting should be out in the August-September timeframe.


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