In our last post, we discussed how to leverage outcomes as the focal point for designing and developing training programs. In this post, we will talk about another key way to use outcomes to drive both individual and organizational performance: equipping people to perform.
By equipping people, we mean providing them with the right tools, processes, and information they need to succeed. Many organizations claim their people are their most valuable asset. But there is often little evidence of this in the way they equip their people to do their jobs. In the leadership’s defense, deciding what tools to provide is a very difficult task. There is certainly no shortage of options from which to choose. Let’s look at the available technology choices as an example.
On one recent project, the front-line performers were required to use seventeen IT systems every day. Each of those systems had a different user interface and different controls. Almost half the training classes were directly related to learning how to use those various systems. Simply switching between the systems ate up a significant part of each person’s workday. But when we performed a TOPS analysis for that critical role, we found that the way top performers succeeded bore little resemblance to the design of the systems provided for them to use.
As a result of that TOPS analysis, the organization decided to replace most of those IT systems with a new system specifically designed to help consistently produce the outcomes that matter to success.
That’s the key factor to choosing and designing the right tools with which to equip people in critical roles: focus on the outcomes as identified by the TOPS analysis. In fact, for existing roles, top performers have often developed their own homegrown versions of the tools they need. The advantage of conducting observations as a central data gathering technique is you will see what tools, information, and job aids people use to produce the outcomes that matter.
On another project, eighteen of the top twenty performers in a critical role had each developed his or her own version of a particular tool. Of course, each variant was slightly different, but all performed the same basic functions. The rest of the performers, however, had not taken the time to develop such a tool. That tool, more fully developed and released officially, proved to be one of the key mechanisms that helped the rest of the population improve their performance.
Questions to ponder:
- How well equipped to succeed are your people? Have you mapped the tools, information, and job aids to the list of outcomes needed for success?