Blog Archives

Effort: Get Focused! Resource List


My personal research from 1st & 2nd Samuel

28 Topics within the context of “Getting Focused,” along with Six Classes to support leadership development

Communication Skills

Leader Qualifications

Power/Influence

Obedience to God

Time Management

Character

Self-Discipline

Stress Management

2 week study of Integrity

Encouragement

Double-Loop Learning

Courage/Risk Taking

Humility

1 week study of Obedience to God

Priorities

1 week study of Stress Management

Team Building

1 week study of Healthy Alliances

Conflict Management

Decision Making

Justice

Dependence of God

Servant Leadership

Values

1 week study of Accountability

Interpersonal Relationships

Wisdom

1 week study on Team Building

 

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The 5th Step to Improving Performance: Evaluation


When called on to improve performance by a friend, family member, community or organization to help solve a problem or improve systems management, there are steps to be followed: (1) Analysis, (2) Design, (3) Connecting the Design to Development, and (4) Implementation. This is the fifth installment of a five part series for Improving Performance.  After a thorough review of gathered data we are able to move on to Evaluating the desired outcome of the performance improvement plan, to add positive value while meeting expectations or goals of the organization. This installment completes the steps I go through when called on as a consultant to improve performance. These steps are useful for Individuals, Families, Communities, and Organizations.

The 5th Step to Improving Performance

Evaluation begins from day one to assess the performer’s or organization’s current knowledge based on the standards that have been pre-determine; this helps determine where to focus to begin the process of learning.

Have you ever asked for directions and the person starts rattling off directions without knowing where you are?  What happens?  It leads to frustration and confusion for everyone involved.  After clearly understanding and identifying the current position we now can move on to the next step: Evaluation.

Listing activities will produce the learned and desired behavior—in our case—improved performance.  Evaluations are an ongoing process and not just for after the event is over or finished.  It begins and continues throughout all stages; from Analyzing, Designing, Developing, and Implementing.  The evaluation stage is also evaluated.  Evaluation is a multi-layered process to ensure the content used to improve performance is measured against the evaluations needed to produce the desired outcomes and behaviors.

Here is an example of performance meeting evaluation measures:

Objective

Evaluation Task

Behavior 

Perform CPR on unresponsive person

Perform CPR correctly on unresponsive person

From this example of an objective matching performance, we can clearly identify and understand that if taught incorrectly, performing CPR incorrectly can cause harm.  Have you heard the saying “Practice makes perfect”?  This is not true! It should be, “Perfect Practice makes perfect.” Please understand no one is perfect; having a clear understanding of the desired outcome and matching the evaluation to the performance will encourage and improve performance.  Perfectionism is an enemy to everyone and is not healthy to try to achieve.

In the implementation phase, I shared two of the four levels of evaluation, (1) reaction and (2) learning.  The next two levels of evaluation take place after the training is over.  They are (3) Behavior and (4) Results.

The level three evaluations ask the most important question, “Did the training stick or how much of the training will the performer keep to improve desired performance?”  About 11-12% of training is evaluated for behavioral change; this means one out of 10 performance improvement plans are evaluated for effectiveness.  After training is over, there are two ways to measure effectiveness of training surveys and observations, which lead to half of an effective evaluation.  The other half is to make up from certain measurements of performance, the starting line verses the finish line.  When evaluating a performance improvement plan, measuring behavior against pre-training behavior shows how effective the training has been.  This is done by evaluation and identifying the impact areas of improved performance.

Level four evaluation is about results—bottom line, up front.  We all want results, the quicker, better, and least painful the better.  This is the most challenging part because maximum results differ between each individual performer, family, community or organization.  The results have to be clearly defined and agreed upon up front.

My really good friend called and asked for some advice the other day, after listening to the challenge being shared, I was asked, “What should I do?”  I answered with a possible outcome based on information presented.  The response is, “Well, what I mean is – here is the real problem.” Again, I share a possible solution, followed by the same response, “Well, this is the real problem.”

Desired results are solid while at the same time also being fluid, like water.  Water seeks the level of the person’s understanding, and when wanted results are a moving target it becomes more challenging to hit the target.  Only about three percent of training is evaluated for results because the numbers often times become inflated and it is costly to determine the “true results.”  The clearer the desired outcome of performance the clearer the bottom line of results.  It can be achieved and stated with integrity and honesty.

Learning to improve performance is similar to living and improving life.  We are all learning along the way preparing for someone to evaluate our performance.  Hopefully it will be based on agreed upon standards of performance, which measure the impact of where one started, against how one applied what was learned and how they finished.  Clear priorities with action steps toward the desired performance, make growing and improving performance less painful because there is a clear expectation of our performance.

Developing a Performance Improvement Plan is essential to increase and improve the desired goals and improved performance of individuals, families, communities, and organizations.

Decide, Commit, Succeed!

The 4th Step to Improving Performance: Implementation


When called on to improve performance by a friend, family member, or community organization to help solve a problem or improve systems management, there are steps to be followed: (1) Analysis, (2) Design, and (3) Connecting the Design to Development. This is the fourth installment of a five part series for Improving Performance.  After a thorough review of gathered data we are able to move on to implementing the performance improvement plan, to add positive value while meeting expectations or goals of the organization. Tomorrow’s installment will complete the steps I go through when called on as a consultant to improve performance. These steps are useful for Individuals, Families, Communities, and Organizations.

The 4th Step to Improving Performance

Implementation is takes place when the performers and organization connect and begin the process of moving toward the agreed upon desired outcome.  This stage of improving performance is the most identifiable for performers and organization to the instruction of design—Improving Performance.  Once the basics are covered, testing and correcting any found mistakes, the project is about 90% complete. We next move into the most time consuming part of the process—meeting the objectives and evaluating the tasks to deliver maximum performance.  This is where the uniqueness of the individual performers and organized systems differ.  A person who is committed to improving performance from a level of five may see a large percentage of increase to a new level of eight.  Another performer coming in on a level of 8, committing to getting closer to ten, may increase to a new level of nine.  Both improved performance, however going from average to above average is more noticeable in the short term than going from above average to stellar.  During the implementation stage, educating how to evaluate and measure the performance is required and must be understood in order to minimize frustrations and limit the question, “Why are we doing this again, and how is this going to improve performance?”

While there are actually four levels of evaluation, most times we are involved with one to two at the maximum.  In today’s market place, often times we are only subjected to one level of evaluation.  The first level of evaluation is reaction.  After attending a training session we are given a survey asking basic questions: Was time well spent?  Would you recommend this to someone else?  What did you like best?  What did you like least? Were objectives met?  Did you like the way the material was presented?  This is similar to being invited over for dinner and being asked afterwards, “How was dinner?”  It’s a loaded question heavily favored in the host’s best interests.  After eating and drinking, most people usually say it was nice and say more complimentary things—most of us where taught to be hospitable.  Once you get home and spend a few hours in the bathroom the gratification (reaction) wears off.  And your initial reaction to the host’s question, “How was dinner?” may change after you have had a chance to digest and evaluate the meal. In training sessions this is level one, the reaction survey.  It is often times referred to a smile sheet—gauging likes and dislikes of the content, presenter, and room; and according to ASTD (American Society for Training & Development), represents between 72 and 89 percent of how organizations evaluate training—based on reactions.

The level two evaluation, is the actual “learning” part of the training.  It is tied directly to the objectives and desired outcomes—the score card relating to the decision to commit to improving performance in the first place.  According to ASTD statistics, organizations are only evaluating at this most important level 29 to 32 percent of the time.  This shows that less than a quarter of all training is evaluated based on the relationship to objectives and desired outcomes.

Here is an example of an objective:  After training, a basketball referee (person, performer, organization) should be able to present three reasons why self-doubt takes away from achieving the best decision based on facts.

With this objective in mind, I would design a classroom scenario to evaluate the task verses the objective:  The performer (basketball referee) has just encountered a situation that needs a split second decision based on presented facts.  The referee has to make a case for not allowing self-doubt to enter his mind and hinder his ability to make a quality decision based on the presented facts.  It is important that you present at least three reasons why self-doubt will decrease the chances for making the best decision.

This example matches elements of the performer’s behavior, condition, and degree to the objective and the evaluation of the agreed upon desired outcome.

During implementation there will always be room for improvement of design because evaluating is and will be an ongoing process—life—which will have to be fitted to the individual needs of the performer’s and organization’s needs.  Having open and honest communication allows the Performance Improvement Plan and performer to mature and achieve maximum results. The design plan will always be under scrutiny and there will always be the need for constant evaluation to make sure the reaction to the training meets the desired performance of agreed upon objectives for both the performer and desired outcomes.

Developing a Performance Improvement Plan is essential to increase and improve the desired goals and improved performance of individuals, families, communities, and organizations.

Stay tuned to tomorrow’s final installment topic on improving performance: Evaluation.

Decide, Commit, Succeed!

The 3rd Step to Improving Performance: Development


When called on to improve performance by a friend, family member, or community organization to help solve a problem or improve systems management, an initial analysis is conducted first followed by design. This is the third installment of a five part series for Improving Performance.  After a thorough review of gathered data and designing, we are able to move on to the next step of developing a performance improvement plan in order to add positive value to meet expectations or goals of the organization. Over the next few days, I will share with you the steps I go through when I am called on as a consultant to improve performance. These steps are useful for Individuals, Families, Communities, and Organizations.

The 3rd Step to Improving Performance

Development is the process in which the Design or “Blueprint” of the Performance Improvement Plan comes alive.  During the Design phase of improving performance, critical components must be in place to have an efficient and on-time development plan. First, I have to create a design that will keep attentive performers while giving specific direction, resulting in the ability to recall learned material and effectively apply what is learned.  The next critical component of design is the content—what is being learned; with three different levels of feedback so performers will move closer to the desired maximum performance. (This includes evaluations, to test performers for what was learned.)  The final part of this phase of Design, which will make the Development phase easier, is detailing how to transfer what is learned—I really want to make sure the performer will be able to identify and apply the learned material and use it appropriately at each needed opportunity.  These are the three components that will facilitate a successful transition onto the development phase.

The Development Phase, again, brings the “Blueprint” of design to the final stages.  The creation is gaining an identity and character, and becoming a tangible product in which others can see the vision of your creation coming to reality.  This is where the deliverables are seen; the manuals, videos, and/or web pages used to give the performer something to touch, see, and feel.  This is also where I am able to test and pilot before moving into the full implementation of the performance improvement plan.  With the current economics of today’s market place, I have to develop a performance improvement plan to meet my client’s most important goals—producing the desired outcome, while staying within the time and money budgets.  Before going into full production, I have to develop the deliverables as economically as possible, while still maintaining a high quality with less pain and more pleasure (time and resources).

You most likely have seen the testing of the development phase rolled out as a final product; most times in pilot groups or what is called “Train the Trainer Courses.”  For example, if you have ever watched a workout video, the participants you see working out behind the lead trainer are usually the test participants and performers. Consider this a real time, “Train the Trainer Course,” in which we are paying full price!  It is a really good investment that gives a huge return and lends to a high quality, credible product.  This testing will ensure we are ready to move into the next phase of implementation and catch and correct any bugs or oversights that may not have been considered.

Developing a Performance Improvement Plan is essential to increase and improve the desired goals and improved performance of individuals, families, communities, and organizations.

Stay tuned to tomorrow’s topic on improving performance: Implementation.

Decide, Commit, Succeed!

The 2nd Step to Improving Performance: Design


When called on to improve performance by a friend, family member, or community organization to help solve a problem or improve a situation, designing a unique plan is critical and vital for success. This is the second part of a five part series for Improving Performance.  After a thorough review of gathered data, we are able to move on to the next step of designing a performance improvement plan in order to add positive value. Over the next four days, I will share with you the steps I go through when I am called on as a consultant to improve performance. These steps are useful for Individuals, Families, Communities, and Organizations.

The 2nd Step to Improving Performance

Design is the second step to achieving improved performance.  After collecting research and analyzing information we have an idea of what the problem is and how to address it within the learning characteristics of the unique individual organization.  In order to set up a winning design for a successful performance improvement plan, I must explain two critical and vital components to the performers and organization: what is the desired outcome and how will this desired outcome be evaluated.   Without these two critical and vital components, false expectations can derail the best improvement performance design plans and lead to disaster.  In order for plans to be successful we have to create a plan and clearly communicate specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely goals with a combined effort of self-evaluation against desired goals along the way.

After gathering vital signs of the organization through questionnaires, interviews, focus groups and formal discussions and thorough analysis, I have insights to design a successful performance improvement plan.

Designing learning objectives and evaluation plans that satisfy specific needs will create and easily identify areas of quick wins in order to build momentum quickly and keep performers and organizations engaged.  A dull plan does not work well and too challenging of a program will disengage performers.  So understanding your learner characteristics and learning style is critical in moving closer to the desired maximum performance.

During design, I have to gently instruct and remind performers and participants this plan is to move their performance and their organization closer to their decided results.  Every person is valuable and is an asset.  I have to identify the unique and individual asset to learn how to use it properly by sharing it with the performer and organization.  As an example, if a person has a great personality and has a good sales history but is not a morning person, we have to put this information to use in the most practical winning way for the performer and organization to succeed.  Do not have this person on the morning shift greeting and selling to customers—they are not in their winning position to add positive value and are self defeating in the process.

I have to design with the performer’s ideal situation to perform and decided maximum performance in mind, along with the organization’s available resources.  I have to decide where to disrupt and stop a bad pattern to begin creating a new pattern of success.  Sometimes all it takes is a gentle reminder, a little better communicating the process of existing programs. Other times we may have to purchase a new performer or create a new design to satisfy the needs of the performers of the current organizational systems.

We can’t just get rid of people; I feel and believe it is a waste of resources—time and money.  Designing a successful performance improvement plan identifies ways to use existing assets and resources to move them to desired outcomes—to maximize investments.  The designing process can be smooth with willing participants wanting to make improvements. So, in the beginning the analysis is critical and vital to a successful design phase of an overall improvement plan. When designing, I often times simply have to re-boot and re-organize the information so the performer can identify the potential of the equipment and supplies required to meet the goals and evaluation of those goals to see the improved performance and maximum results.

Designing a performance improvement program is essential for improved organizational performance to increase and improve the desired goals and improved performance of individuals, families, communities, and organizations.

Stay tuned to tomorrow’s topic on improving performance: Development.

Decide, Commit, Succeed!

The 1st Step to Improving Performance: Analysis


When called on to improve performance by a friend, family member, or community organization to help solve a problem or improve a situation, before I can do anything I have to ask a number of questions to identify where I may be able to add positive value.  Sometimes it is just a listening ear with an open heart; other times it is a serious need or situation where, “all hands on deck,” and more resources are required.  Over the next five days, I will share with you the steps I go through when I am called on as a consultant to improve performance. These five steps are useful for Individuals, Families, Communities, and Organizations.

The 1st Step to Improving Performance

Analysis is the first step to achieving improved performance.  We first have to always seek knowledge and come to an understanding, before any steps can be made.  By asking a few questions: Where are you now? How did you get here? How do we get this place of poor performance? And, what is your determined outcome?  This is the beginning of the process of improving performance.

There is a body of systems in place that serves the needs for us to stay alive.  Our body’s business is to keep us alive and thriving in optimum health.  The system of a community or business organization serves the needs of the business to stay alive and be profitable to serve the community, employees and shareholders.  We expect the system of the organizations to run smoothly.  The individual body, like the organization, sometimes gets out of sync requiring us to have our vital signs checked to determine what is wrong.  What is keeping our system from operating and performing at maximum efficiency? When our body of systems are not feeling well there are vital signs that need to be checked through a thorough analysis in order to identify the problem areas.

Like our body, the concerned business organization is similar to a sick patient going to the doctor’s office for help and treatment. As a patient, you are asked a few questions to gain an understanding of why you want help and what is wrong.  In the medical field, the assumption is that you want the problem to go away as quickly as possible.  You are asked, “What are your symptoms or chief complaints and how long have you been having these ill feelings?”  Next, we take vital signs to gain an understanding of the systems of the body and organization, listening to what they are saying.  We assess the blood pressure, temperature, pulse and breathing respiration’s.

Obtaining this information lends to what the possible problem could be and it gives me or the doctor a starting point of discussion toward recovery.

How can we get to where we want to go until we know where we are and where we want to be?

In the work place, serving as a consultant, gaining the vital signs of the organization is obtained through questionnaires, interviews, focus groups and formal discussions. This initial assessment allows me to ask questions about the desired performance and find out what barriers are keeping them from attaining the desired performance from the parts of the organization.  I have to discover, and then implement, based on discovery.  I then have to measure implementation efforts, and afterwards, evaluate and ensure that improving performance activities will produce future value for the desired performance and outcome.  After this research I am able to have a better understanding of where the organization is and how we can move forward to the next step of improving performance.

Stay tuned to tomorrow’s topic of improving performance: Designing.

Decide, Commit, Succeed!