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


Obedience to God

Time Management



Stress Management

2 week study of Integrity


Double-Loop Learning

Courage/Risk Taking


1 week study of Obedience to God


1 week study of Stress Management

Team Building

1 week study of Healthy Alliances

Conflict Management

Decision Making


Dependence of God

Servant Leadership


1 week study of Accountability

Interpersonal Relationships


1 week study on Team Building



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:


Evaluation Task


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 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!