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:
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!
Can you believe that it is the end of January, already? This 24th day of January I am reflecting on how to make sure this New Year’s resolutions will be kept and conquered. I will show how the principles of Decide, Commit, Succeed can make sure you’re your resolutions will come true. Read the rest of this entry