Heather Kuhns-HPI Project 1
Human Performance Improvement Project:
Alpha Steel Company
ED7673 Section 2: Summer 2008
121 Orkney Dr
Jacsonville, NC 28540
Heather Kuhns-HPI Project 2
Table of Contents
Cover Page 1
Table of Contents 2
List of Tables 3
Organization: Mission, Vision, Goals 4
Performance Challenges 4
SWOT Analysis 5
Action Plan 11
Impact Objectives 12
Data Collection, Pre-Implementation 12
Data Collection-Implementation 13
Data Collection- Evaluation 14
Isolation of Program Effects 14
Program Costs 15
Summary of Action Plan 19
Customizing Impact Plan 19
Change Readiness Characteristics 20
Change Readiness Assessment 21
Strategies to Implement Change 22
Sustainable Change 23
Motivation to Change 24
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List of Tables
Table 1-Performance Challenges 4
Table 2- SWOT 6
Table 3-Interventions 9
Table 4-Alloted Time on task, Historical Data 16
Table 5-ROI Action Plan 17
Heather Kuhns-HPI Project 4
Organization: Mission, Vision, Goals
The organization Alpha Steel Company (ASC) was chosen for analysis and is headed by Bruce S.,
President and CEO. This company was founded in 1989 and employs ten shop workers and five office staff
members. The company produces steel products contracted by developers and general contractors such as
framework for buildings, roofing structures and stairs, railings and light posts, etc. Work is contracted on a case by
case basis, with outside architectural drawings being utilized for production. ASC is a family owned company. The
mission statement as stated by Bruce S. (personal communication, July 12th, 2008) encompasses this structure:
ASC is a family owned company respecting the hard work and diligence of employees who are treated as
members of the family. The vision is to see future generations of our workers families continuing to carry
on the work and traditions of our current generation and keep things progressing at this level.
The strategic goals of ASC include developing a broad spectrum of major customers such as general contractors and
developers in construction to be able to react to current business climate with the capability of fulfilling the
immediate business needs of customers in steel products.
Performance challenges facing ASC
Table 1- Performance Challenges
absence of clear performance expectations for employees no Handbook or manual for the company
lack of in-house architectural staff drawings are inaccurate 50% of the time,
resulting in improperly quoting job costs
and causing a delay in fabrication
timing issues in the shipping/receiving area of the shop Inaccurate and inflexible production and
lack of marketing kit for expansion of clients Stagnating growth- ASC needs to increase
exposure and build clients
financial issues- rising costs of transporting products via
regulatory ASC follows Federal and state regulations
within construction industry
suppliers ASC relies on their chosen suppliers to
have adequate materials available for
There are several project topics that are interesting to choose from within ASC. The President of ASC is
this performance consultant’s father. The conversations and interviews that take place over the course of this project
should serve to bring attention to and provide solutions for areas of need within this company in order to increase
the value of ASC and make it more profitable, competitive and cost efficient.
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Analyzing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) of a business can aid in
understanding the internal and external factors influencing the growth and decline of said company. In conducting a
SWOT analysis of Alpha Steel Company (ASC) the performance consultant, with the assistance of the president of
ASC, Bruce S., determined through interviewing and brainstorming that the internal factors ideally situate the
company in a position designed to ride out economic woes. In fact, the strength of relationships and community
values within ASC are the very factors that have fostered growth and viability in the steel industry. ASC is a small,
family owned and operated steel fabrication company occupying a special niche in constructing framework and
ornamental design work such as stairs, lamp posts, awnings, and the like. Often projects will be read from
independent architectural drawings, fabricated in-shop, trucked to a job site, and erected as contracted.
In the future, Bruce would like to see more design-build applications conducted, where ASC would
function as a one stop steel production company of sorts. This would entail retaining their in-house architect for
drawing blueprints up to code, meeting the budgetary needs of each customer, fabricating the steel to specified
layouts within the shop, and erection of the job in a timely manner. With the reputation and years of experience
within ASC this is eminently feasible. The company of fifteen employees has been in business since 1989 and has
seen only one employee leave due to relocation within that time frame. The workers take immense pride in their
work, contributing to the company’s overall productivity and dependability. ASC has a reputation of being
customer-service oriented, with on-time delivery and high rates of customer satisfaction. Simply put, ASC offers
the “lowest price and the highest service” among their competitors (Bruce S., personal communication July 18,
However, Bruce S. recognizes the changing economy and realizes the internal factors that strengthen his
company need to be shored up in response to flagging economic development. Higher gas prices affect trucking
schedules, and rising steel prices cut into profits as well. Therefore, streamlining office-to-shop procedures such as
shipping and receiving as well as cutting costs in the office through automation and eliminating redundancy of tasks
is a necessary step in ensuring the viability of ASC. The following table illustrates the determined SWOT of ASC,
indicating there are many areas in which Alpha Steel Company can be considered resilient and marketable.
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Table 2- SWOT Analysis
Close proximity of office and shop No designated job descriptions
Small, close-knit “family” groups No designated receivers for shipments
Good relationship between shop manager interferes with timely scheduling
and office manager Management-worker relationship is friend-
Strong relationship with trucking friend more than employer-employee
companies Interrelationships within company are family
Resiliency and reputation (19 years in the based
business) No marketing kit for future development
President is well versed in all aspects of the Small market (within 75 miles)
business, willing to work with the shop Lack of trust in lower level management
workers Verbal task/job confirmation is unreliable
Personal relationships between Pres. of No streamlined method for job completion
ASC, general contractors, developers, (repetition or omission of tasks)
TEKLA Systems software program
Cognition of all employees Supplier dependency (inventory
Knowledge of/relationships with developers fluctuations)
Personal approach in marketing to Need broader supply base
developers Hauling/freight market is overland trucking
Advertising through reputation/word of (gas prices rising)
mouth Economy based business
Loyalty/dependability of suppliers Steel costs rising
Competitive pricing Competition from larger fabricators
Capitalize on repeat business Loss of knowledge/experience with future
In house architect retirement of president
Realistically, the knowledge and experience possessed by Bruce need to be disseminated to lower level
management in order to ensure future client relationships and continuation of customer service. This requires timely
communication in a structured format, as well as feedback, follow through and critical discussion among the
employees and management. Shop and office processes need to be streamlined in order to ensure continued timely
delivery and fabrication of steel products, scheduling and processing of orders, and stellar customer service and
satisfaction. This would require adopting new technology to move from informal verbal communication to tracking
sheets, accountability reports, and the like. Retaining a performance consultant is necessary to design and
implement training programs in order to educate all employees on all aspects of company processes. Creating job
descriptions and implementing active, on the job teaching (Pershing, 2006) will enable employees to internalize
what each person does in relation to the company as a whole.
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It is the view of this performance consultant that the potential problems facing ASC can be derailed with
the implementation of a consistent utilization of web-based applications to track orders from acquisition to
completion through a check-list program, as well as implementing the use of technology to automate tasks (such as
tracking received goods, scheduling, time keeping, attendance, memos) formerly conducted using paper, various
software applications or word-of-mouth. Additionally, the usage of Tekla Systems, which is an international
software modeling program being used to a limited extent within ASC, could be further employed to aid in other
areas of the business currently lacking in technological efficiency. Addressing these needs must be preceded by
training in the use of said programs as well as buy in by the stakeholders (company employees) on the value of
implementing such changes.
Overall, this performance consultant feels that the five primary components for ISPI’s HPI Model have
been met through employing the SWOT analysis (Pershing, 2006). The influences of both internal and external
environmental factors have been taken into consideration while establishing new interventions to replace the old in
order to make “As Is” into what results are desired. This SWOT analysis has provided a means of identifying the
interventions necessary to bring about the desired results (increased business and longevity) based on the perceived
strengths and opportunities ( personal relationship building, reputation, and experience) within Alpha Steel
Readings from Hale’s(2007) Fieldbook, Pershing’s (2006) Handbook and articles by Sam Adkins
concerning technology usage in businesses today allowed some tweaking of initiatives proposed for interventions in
Alpha Steel Company (ASC). The concept of Appreciate Inquiry (AI) was also eye-opening in that it addresses
performance issues in a positive manner, whereas Human Performance Improvement (HPI) seeks to determine
problems and then present solutions. As a performance consultant, focusing on the strengths within an organization
and then using those to build a better future by focusing on “positive ongoing change rather than fixing specific poor
performance issues” (Pershing, 2006) resonates with this consultant’s past experiences as an educator. AI becomes
eminently feasible as an approach to embrace, in conjunction with the 4D approach of Discovery, Dream, Design,
and Destiny as well as the concept of learning as a business process inherent in organizational functioning (Pershing,
Heather Kuhns-HPI Project 8
Using technology as a tool to promote learning and smooth organizational process functioning is a step
towards improving the future viability of ASC. Adkins makes a striking point in his article “Radical Learning
Technology Happening Now” when he states that:
1) Learning is a core business process in the enterprise; 2) like any other core business process, it should be
automated; and 3) like any other automated business process, it should be assimilated with existing
integrated enterprise application suites. Once integrated with the other business processes, learning
becomes just one of many key performance indicators used in continuous process improvement
The basic premise as stated by Adkins is that “productivity is the only metric that can be modified to increase
profits. Optimizing workflow is the only way to increase productivity.” The process of automation of mundane
tasks and assimilating learning into workflow through the use of communication tools such as email, intra-office
checklists on personal computers, and posted job aids would be beneficial to ASC. These innovations would enable
the company to grow into its future vision of a specialized niche within the steel industry, an increased customer
base, and more stability within the organization.
Using the Job Aids presented by Hale (2007) in her Fieldbook clarified potential interventions. The
following table organizes selected interventions and possible implementations.
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Define • Create job descriptions to help workers
determine job responsibilities,
expectations, and accountabilities
Inform • Communicate through regularly scheduled
meetings built in throughout a contracted
• Email weekly progress reports to project
• Employ team-wide pc desktop-accessible
checklist for job completion
Organize • Merge functions/tasks of workers through
• Rearrange reporting structure and team
relationships (not all report to/rely on
Capacity and Capability Focused
Develop • Expand skills and knowledge of problem-
solving through mentoring, coaching, OTJ
experience with Bruce
• Training in software usage to automate
tasks/ use pc job aids
• Mini clinics in sales/customer
service/problem solving (role play, Q&A,
In order to accomplish these interventions, complete and unanimous agreement on goals of the company
and direction for the future must be determined. Currently, the reporting system in place hides accountability and
creates an inefficient and inconsistent workplace environment. Involving everyone to create buy in and build on the
family atmosphere will facilitate the creation of new reporting structures, checklists of task completion to inform all
on the work team, and make workers knowledgeable of their specific job requirements and expectations, building in
accountability and responsibility as well.
The performance interventions and proposed strategies to close the gaps in ASC performance changed
minimally, however, they became more organized and purposeful through categorizing each into specific families.
This enabled viewing of groups of interventions, producing a unifying vision of implementation. After meeting with
the team of employees at ASC and determining a final goal for the company’s future growth, final decisions can be
reached on proper motivational factors as well as consequences for not meeting expectations. Some training will
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need to be implemented, from train-the-trainer programs to one-on-one mentoring and OTJ coaching. ASC, after
restructuring basic communication processes, relearning how to work together for a common goal, using efficient
and time saving methods, and understanding job expectations and responsibilities should unify and grow into their
emerging niche of Design-Build.
Roth (2002) emphasizes technological challenges:
Current trends indicate that information integration is a cross-industry challenge.
Industries from financial services to manufacturing have all been touched by the volumes and diversity of
data and continual demands introduced by an Internet-based business model…The challenge for today's
enterprise applications is to reach out across the company and across the Internet to integrate and transform
the volumes of available data as quickly as possible into information assets that bring new insights and new
ASC is a small company. They are positioned to grow with plant capacity and knowledge. However,
technology usage at other partner companies is not as advanced as that in use at ASC so two different technology
programs are implemented in order to satisfy both customers and business needs. This mode of operations is not
cost effective. Employees need to be trained in two different software applications, which curtail project efficiency
and completion. Industry-wide applications would be a benefit to growth and development, as well as curtailing
costs of training and implementation of programming. Maltzman (2003) believes that
To create synergy between strategic goals, objectives, and strategies….four essential elements are needed:
communication, alignment, accountability, and feedback…Financial managers should continually stay
active in their organizations' strategic planning activities and share ideas for improvements with others.
Greatest support should be directed toward objectives that are responsive to environmental changes;
coincide with organizational missions, values, and goals; and allow for objective analysis. By aiding
unified implementation and execution of strategy, financial managers will best position their organizations
for long-term success.
Maltzman (2003) also asserts that “The real key to accomplishing any of these goals is to make this process
a part of your company culture and daily routine. If you can accomplish that, process improvement will become a
continual part of your company culture.” He suggests employing the use of five steps for strategic goal planning in
every employee job description. These include:
• make it a group effort
• use the coaching method
• start with the end in mind
• establish mini-milestones
• follow through.
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ASC can conduct operations in this vein by employing several suggested interventions, among them train the trainer
programs, one on one coaching and debriefing sessions, employing a performance consultant to create formalized
job descriptions to ensure responsibility and efficiency among workers, and emphasizing the motivational aspects of
increasing productivity (profit sharing and bonuses). Ensuring complete buy in among employees is nearly
guaranteed when working with the mindset within the shop’s workers that money is the driving factor toward
working harder. Creating methods for completing jobs in a more time- and effort- efficient manner would enable
even greater participation in interventions designed towards the same.
Haig and Addison (2005) state in their Trendspotters article that:
Performance consulting departments will be established and endure, providing measurable and valued results to
processes and the organization [and will] see a significant drop in the prevalent search for the “quick fix” for
performance issues and a major increase in the delivery of sustainable, long-term, systemic solutions.
Haig mentions that performance consultants will need to act with more focus on business and work centered results
rather than focusing on individual performers within an organization. This works for ASC in that they are such a
small company and work maximum jobs with minimal workers. Singling out individuals wouldn’t serve to increase
overall performance as much as implementing overall changes within the structure and processes of ASC.
Streamlining tasks and automating mundane processes would contribute to greater efficiency within both office and
Enhancing the efficiency of organizational processes is the trend targeted for this action plan. Increasing
the availability of time while cutting costs of labor and management will provide ASC with financial assets needed
to create a marketing kit as the next phase of interventions. The long-term goal of ASC is to become a Design-Build
company specializing in full-service steel design and construction. This niche is available and will serve to secure
ASC’s future growth and viability within an unstable market.
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The objectives of the strategic plan are:
• to streamline completion of daily mundane tasks such as data entry
• enable cross referencing of customer needs and deliveries
• scheduling and tracking orders/job quotes/work reorders
• task completion check off
• shipping and receiving documentation and scheduling
• time keeping
• budgeting with spreadsheet usage
These processes are all necessary in running an organization in both marketing and production of steel products
such as Alpha Steel Company. Increasing the efficiency of processes will also meet the goals of the employees in
decreasing non-billable hours worked. Implementing Extranet DataTune will help ASC manage all processes within
a single application. This will allow for completion of billing in minutes rather than hours, streamlined customer
care and increased customer credibility with professional web pages and interfaces. Additional benefits include
providing clients with real-time access to contracted jobs, more accurate invoices, a link to QuickBooks to
streamline accounting, and quote audit trails to track electronic delivery of messages. All of these capabilities are
web-based, with no software to install and automatic upgrades/updates included in the service.
Data Collection: Pre- Implementation
Baseline data will be collected through communication with all stakeholders in brief meetings at the onset of the
action plan implementation to gather ideas on perceptions of business process completion and what would be
desired. Hale (2007) suggests using the nominal group technique ( NGT) format to give all involved an opportunity
to contribute ideas to what is important and needs to be considered in this action plan. Other baseline data collected
will be measurable goals of each employee in order to facilitate alignment with company goals and future objectives
of ASC (development into a Design-Build company).
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Employee goals consist of the following:
• eliminate double entry of data through utilizing one application vs. three software programs
(Expedition, QuickBooks, Microsoft Office/Spreadsheets)
• reduce data management hours in order to fulfill job detailing requirements
• reduce data management time-increase customer service concentration
• streamline processes to free up valuable coaching time/on the job problem-solving
• reduce operational redundancies in order to free up time to create a marketing kit design
• reduce wasted time (money) and rededicate resources to marketing
Gauging the reaction (Level 1 of Phillip’s Five Levels of Evaluation) of implementing such a system is the
first step in introducing a change in processing. Employees are willing to pursue the action plan as outlined in order
to reduce time spent on data entry and management. Developing an evaluation plan simultaneously will ensure that
each desired performance as it is defined will have a corresponding measurement assigned. For example, if
“eliminate double entry of data” is required, then a measure of success put into place would be “Customer’s
information was cross referenced into job listing, contractual fulfillment, payment information in QuickBooks, and
customer satisfaction survey response” with one entry.
Data collected during the implementation of the strategic plan will occur at weekly intervals and will
consist of tracking the adaptability of employees to Extranet DataTune, task completion, accuracy of record keeping,
and convenience of use as well as frequency of problems experienced in application and reduction of time spent on
each task. Determining through data collection such as observations, post-implementation questionnaires, and
regular individual meetings will assess if learning (Phillip’s Level 2) has occurred. Monitoring use and observing
attitudes about Extranet within the office climate as well as tracking time spent on automated tasks such as data
entry will enable management and the performance consultant to determine if Application (Phillip’s Level 3) has
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Data Collection: Evaluation
After successful completion of assimilation of Extranet DataTune into daily organizational processes has
been completed a survey of satisfaction will be conducted. One month post-implementation should provide enough
time and experience with the program for all employees to be well-versed in using the various components in their
daily task completion. The questions asked come from Phillip’s as well:
• How important is this information/training to me now?
• How relevant is this program to my job now?
• How do I intend to use this program/training now?
• Would I recommend this program to others?
A discussion with all involved would be scheduled after surveys were collected and classified, one month post-
intervention in order to determine the impact on the daily functioning of ASC after implementing Extranet into
organizational processes (Level 4 Phillip’s Levels of Evaluation).
Isolation of Program’s Effects
Isolating the effects of the program should prove readily accomplished as Extranet will completely replace
all previous diverse components utilized to track job performance and tasks within the company’s daily
management. A comparison of hours spent on each task before (see Table 4) and after implementation will be
compared and presented to stakeholders in order to prove validity of the use of Extranet within ASC.
Intangibles, such as increased job satisfaction, morale, less stressful work environment, more confidence in
abilities to complete tasks and view contracts more holistically, will be measured through observation and
conversation. Pershing (2006) indicates “When people are more competent, knowledgeable, and confident, they
contribute more to the bottom-line results of the organization”. Therefore, attention to these immeasurable but
important benefits is critical in accomplishing the goals of creating a more efficient, productive work environment.
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The hiring of a performance consultant will be the major cost of this action plan. It is estimated that a total
of 80 hours will be spent in the first phase of the intervention; collecting goals and baseline data, compiling
information about job performance, observing the organizational processes at work, and introducing ExtraNet
DataTune to the company employees. Bruce and the performance consultant (PC) determined a fair fee of $80/hour
for the consultant. A fee of $6400 (80 hours x $80/hour) will be charged at the conclusion of phase one of this
action plan. Further visits to ASC by the consultant include four weekly and three monthly assessments for
evaluation purposes and will be charged the same rate. Future fees are estimated at $1280 (8 visits x 2 hours each=
16 hours x $80/hour=$1280).
As there is no need for provision of a training room or office space for the PC facilities are not a cost. The
performance consultant will be working with each employee in their respective offices to provide one on one
coaching and hold question and answer sessions concerning goals, opinions of the new program, etc. Additionally, a
conference room within the ASC building will suffice for meetings, work space, and debriefing sessions. The CEO
is interested in keeping costs to a minimum in order to redistribute finances to a marketing kit in phase two of
interventions. This arrangement is suitable for both parties involved.
The cost of ExtraNet DataTune is $50/user/month. Therefore, four users from ASC will cost the company
$200/month x 12 months for a total of $2400 annually. This service fee includes online tutorials and a help desk to
facilitate training and development of skills related to program usage. This is an intuitive web based application,
allowing for users to advance in competency at their own pace. This reduces the cost of the action plan in that no
specialized training is called for; eliminating the need for retaining another trainer and avoiding associated costs.
This is a second factor underlying the benefits of this recommended intervention.
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Information used to calculate Program Benefit is complied from baseline averages in historical data: see Table 4.
Table 4~Alloted Time on Task
Managing organizational processes Hours/week Managing organization Hours/week
2 employees~ $20/hr. billable rate 2 employees~ $40/hr. billable rate
Managing sales 10 Managing sales 25
Managing vendors 10 Managing vendors 20
Managing quotes 10 Managing quotes 15
Creating invoices 10 Creating invoices 20
Performing knowledge management 5 Performing knowledge management 10
Tracking work orders/deliveries 10 Tracking trends/business health 5
Documenting work 10 Documenting work 10
Total non-billable hrs./wk 65 Total non-billable hrs./wk 105
Non-Billable hrs./month 520 Non-Billable hrs./month 840
Extranet saves (50% average reduction) 260 hours Extranet saves (50% average reduction) 420
Value of saved hours (65 x $20 x 2) $2600/mo. Value of saved hours (105 x $40 x2) $8400/mo.
Table 5~ROI Action Plan
Name of Organization: Alpha Steel Company, President: Bruce S.
Trends from TrendSpotters Menu to be Addressed: Implement new programming to Kuhns-HPI Project processes
Heather facilitate organizational 17
Improvement Measure: Time/Cost of Conducting Organizational Processes
Action Items to Facilitate Date Results ROI Impact Analysis
Demonstration of Potential ROI
Meet with management and Oct. 1 Completing management of information in a Value of saved hours
stakeholders to discuss the cost of single application using a high-speed $8400/ month* X 12 month =
manually completing reporting and automated system with capabilities to $100,800year
business management tasks in diverse interface with email, Blackberry and cell
applications vs. employing an phones is expected to save 50% of time.
automated, integrated system.
Meet with all employees to survey
time spent managing information, Oct. 3 Combining time tracking software, CRM
entering data, completing software, ERP software and billing software,
spreadsheets, tracking orders, etc. the Datatune Extranet integrates Value of saved hours
Replace the current multiple organizational processes into a single, web- $2600/month* x 12 month= $31,200 year
applications system which requires enabled interface while lowering costs and
that employees often have to double increasing efficiency.
enter data in various programs,
working with spreadsheets, databases,
etc. There is no communication
Employees of ASC and customers alike can
Review data from past software Oct. 4 access necessary data outside the office as Costs
applications as examples of previous well as create track audit quotes, integrate $200/month x 12 months=$2400
efforts intuitive web-based applications for (automatic upgrades)
management of contracts, and enable swift Performance Consultant fees $6400
job site problem solving, saving ASC hours ($80/hr x 20 hr/wk x4 wks.) initially
in redesign and rework. PC follow up fees $1280
($80/hr. x 16 hrs.over 8 visits)
Total Costs = $10,080
Oct. 10 Streamlined office procedures and TOTAL ANNUAL ROI POTENTIAL:
Provide an overview of DataTune organizational management will prepare $132,000
Extranet capabilities and ASC for future business growth and the
compare/contrast previous methods implementation of a marketing kit. ASC BCR= $132,000= $13.09
with proposed options will entice further customers into contracting $10,080
with a technologically diverse, one-stop steel
company. DataTune Extranet is customer- ROI= $121,920 x 100 = 1209.5%
friendly as well and can be accessed by $10,080
Intangible Benefits: More efficient work environment. Ease of use of new programming benefits in less stress. Increased job satisfaction.
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Summary of Action Plan
An action plan with ROI calculated is conducted for ASC using information gathered through previously
mentioned collection methods from stakeholders outlined above. Each participant in the planned interventions
proceeds with goals newly aligned with ASC future objectives. Each employee is motivated by monetary gain and
by intangible benefits such as easier task completion, efficiency within organizational processes, credibility with
customers, competency with new technologies, and readiness for future growth. Maintaining communication and
capitalizing on the family atmosphere within the work environment will facilitate both buy in and accomplishment
of objectives. Historical data collected determined averages for time spent on each allotted task as shown in the
table below. This is the baseline data. It will be compared with data collected at four weekly intervals after
complete assimilation of new programming (Data Tune) is complete and then monthly thereafter for a period of
three months. Complete familiarity with Data Tune Extranet should be accomplished at that point and employee
satisfaction surveys will be administered to judge the effectiveness of this non-training intervention as well as gauge
the meshing and meeting of personal and company goals. It is at this point that the second stage of interventions
(creation of a Design-Build marketing kit) should commence. Isolating the effects of the programming will be
simple as hours spent prior and post implementation can be compared. This action is concerned with time used
effectively. Outside motivational factors such as the need to finish work early or meet with a client should not
impact the overall timing of job completion when averaged over a week or month of work.
Customizing Impact Plan
Customizing an impact study to present to stakeholders demonstrating the effects of the implementation of
the strategic plan will occur through the dissemination of data compiled at the onset of the action plan detailing
hours spent on each task (see table 4 above). This will be shown in comparison to current time allotted to each task,
in conjunction with anecdotal evidence provided by participants in their questionnaires. ROI will be calculated
(Level 5 Analysis-see Table 5) and presented in conclusion as the action plan is positioned to evolve into the next
phase of interventions, creating a marketing kit to promote ASC as a Design-Build company. Use of new
technology and the enhanced professionalism of dealing with clients using Extranet DataTune will promote
confidence and credibility with potential clients for future business, as well as ensure return of faithful customers.
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Haig & Addison (2005) present evidence concerning functioning levels of performance consulting:
To operate effectively at the process and organizational levels, we require new skills and knowledge. Some of
these may include:
• Rigorously applying the CPT Standards to our work, and calling them out to our clients
• Discovering how businesses are structured, what makes them successful, and applying that knowledge to
our performance improvement projects
• Learning to specify the business need for every project we take on
• Structuring all projects for meaningful measures, including ROI
• Actively seeking alliances with senior managers to learn about the businesses we serve, and how
performance consulting can help them be successful
These methods would work with ASC in that this steel company is engaged in actively looking for ways to grow and
develop from a steel fabrication shop into a Design-Build entity that can occupy a specialized niche within the steel
industry. By virtue of its size, the commitment of its employees to maximize profit and ensure future growth and
viability, and the determination of Bruce, President, to facilitate future takeover by competently trained individuals,
ASC is ripe for performance interventions. Bruce has succinctly summarized the problems within the company, and
outlined potential solutions with the assistance of the performance consultant. Implementation is next, and strategies
to do so begin with discussion and cooperation of all employees/stakeholders, as well as determining an effective
and workable time frame (five years) and hiring both a marketing coordinator and a performance consultant
specialist. ASC is poised to overcome economic trials and with the Design-Build project firmly fixed in mind as the
outcome, will be successful.
The organization Alpha Steel Company (ASC) is currently operating on the teetering brink of change and
stagnation. McLagan states in her article The Change-Capable Organization (2003) that:
[Change] is an ongoing challenge and condition in organizational life. Yet, most organizations are designed
to support stability. We plan, organize, and control. We operate according to rigid organizational charts and
old-style decision and innovation processes... Increasingly, success depends on fluidity, openness, learning,
and a pervasive capacity to make evolutionary and even radical changes.
McLagan (2003) iterates that the characteristics of a change-ready organization include the ability to link present
and future, learning as a way of life, ensuring diverse teams, encouraging mavericks within the company, sheltering
breakthroughs and building a deeper trust from management down. Though these characteristics are not the sole
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emblems of worthiness to allow change to flourish in an organization, they certainly go a long way towards
encompassing the major areas of change readiness. Hale also presents the importance of sustaining change, and in
the role of performance consultant (PC) it is important to determine sponsorship of change in order to prevent loss of
accountability and “continued incorporation of a program’s principles into everyday practice” (2007). “Hale goes
on to say that: “Organizations are terrible at succession planning and rarely think of it in connection with programs”,
emphasizing again that part of the role of a PC is to include those plans in change process implementation.
ASC is ready for change. Bruce S. acknowledges the need to compete in today’s changing markets. A
fluctuating economy is a trend that can not be ignored in the steel market industry. Rising fuel costs and raw steel
prices impact the bottom line, decreasing profit margin and endangering the security of ASC. Additionally, ASC
currently functions as a supplier of fabricated steel purchased through contracts. Outside architects render the
buildings design in consultation with the client; ASC bids on the contract, and produces, erects, and details the
project. The rest of the building (interior and such) is left to someone else. ASC would like to develop into a more
specialized niche. Capturing prospective clients with an idea of a “turn-key” general contractor, a veritable one-stop
shop for all components of a contract from estimate and sketches to erection and detailing, ASC can offer everything
in one place to new, and repeat, customers. That is decision making now with the future in mind. ASC is ready to
assume the change process to make this goal a possibility. Strategies to become Design-Build include:
• completion of a marketing kit for advertisement purposes
• adoption of new technology to more efficiently conduct organizational processes
• increasing business enough to open a second shift
• creating a knowledge friendly culture
• opening communication within the office
Heather Kuhns-HPI Project 22
Strategies to Implement Change.
In order to compete, Bruce is setting the creation of a marketing kit as a business goal of major importance.
Exhibiting the characteristic of linking present and future, similar to Swatch’s new watch with communication
capabilities, (McLagan, 2003) ASC intends to innovatively transform itself into a Design-Build company in order to
occupy a specialized niche within the steel industry. Building on their core competencies of experience, strong
customer service, client-contractor relationships, in-house architect, and a highly motivated employee base, ASC is
looking at filling their business load with new clients, starting a second shift to best utilize space and equipment, and
broaden their operations-base.
ASC leadership is looking into new technology as the vehicle to drive evolution into Design-Build. This
performance consultant introduced a new web-based application to ASC that will streamline organizational
processes, reduce data management hours, and enable the company to focus on development of a marketing kit to
draw in new clientele. Using the new program, ExtraNet DataTune, will enable the company to present a more
professional and polished look to the market, as well as link customers and projects, track orders and job schedules,
manage quotes, cross reference records, and generally provide management of organizational processes in a more
integrated and efficient manner. This implementation will serve to mount the barrier to change that is the
technological competence of ASC at this juncture.
Additionally, creating a ”knowledge-friendly culture” (McLagan, 2003) can be achieved through job
shadowing, regular coaching in the field, and modeling by senior management the continuous search for more
efficient and productive methods of conducting business. The president exhibits a willingness to explore new
options that may not be industry standard or “the way we’ve always done things” in order to increase profit and
productivity. A by-product of testing new ideas can potentially include streamlining operations and minimizing
More open communication within ASC will enable the company employees to understand each other’s
roles and responsibilities as well as share knowledge and strategies to problem solve. Scheduling weekly business
meetings, debriefing after contract fulfillment, engaging in regular problem-solving skill builders, and on-the-job
coaching will promote more open and consistent communication and knowledge sharing among employees and
management. This benefit will need to be stressed and utilized by Bruce, as he strives to transfer knowledge of best
Heather Kuhns-HPI Project 23
practices, problem solving skills, and customer service skills on to employees with a view of retiring within the next
Pershing (2002) indicates that mentoring has organizational benefits as well. Among these are:
• increased productivity: skills strengthened through partnerships increase efficiency and effective
• cost-effective development of skills: mentoring/coaching is done outside of company time,
mitigating costs and speeding competencies through “just in time” training.
• Cost avoidance: savings through avoidance of expensive training if the job/trainees do not fit
• Recruitment efforts: facilitation of growth and development are desirable. This will be important
to ASC as they seek to grow and diversify, necessitating future hires in sales and marketing.
• increased retention: “The best and brightest stay with a company that cares about their
development” (Pershing, 2006). This is evident in ASC’s current rate of retention (nearly 100%)
but again, could impact future growth.
• enhanced image of the company: public recognition that mentoring equates to caring
• achievement of strategic goals: “organization results are better when everyone knows the
target…creating a more competitive edge” (Pershing, 2006).
Mentoring benefits not only the organization, but the protégé and supervisor as well. It is important to conduct
training in mentorship, as well as stress the goals and expected outcomes, monitor partnerships, and provide
opportunities for feedback to all involved in the process. Mentoring as an added intervention at the completion of
phase two of the action plan as new hires are adopted into the company can be a successful way to integrate the new
and the experienced seamlessly.
Selection of a sponsor for the change process, as explained by Hale (2007) is critical in both planning for
the change process and ensuring sustainable growth. Bruce has selected his Vice President to be responsible for
continuing to implement changes needed in order to remain at the forefront of the steel market. The assessment at
this time indicates that maximum return on investment is possible with strong sponsorship in place, combined with
Heather Kuhns-HPI Project 24
determination to develop a marketing kit and grow into a Design-Build niche. The VP is involved as a major
stakeholder in all developments, training, decision making, and organizational problem solving enabling him to be
well-versed in all aspects of ASC in preparation to assume responsibility in the future.
Motivation to Change
Employees are motivated to change through a variety of factors. Monetary gain is a major external
motivator for employees as increased profits lead to larger bonuses in the company’s profit sharing program. 25%
of net profits are distributed based on performance evaluations among all employees in the form of cash bonuses and
IRA contributions. Employees are also somewhat “locked in” to their job situation. According to Bruce S. (personal
communication, August 21, 2008), employees have been with ASC from the beginning, nearly two decades ago.
Their skills have developed into such specialization, and the employees work together as a unit, functioning
inexplicably as a chaotic whole, getting the job done but in a highly unusual way. It would be difficult to begin
anew in a more organized company, so determination to stay is a highly motivating internal factor.
Nelson (2000) makes the point that performance consultants and management need to be willing and
involved in making connections with employees, to determine their motivation and use it, as well as provide
feedback. Working with Alpha Steel Company (ASC) has provided this performance consultant a unique
opportunity to work with a small company eager to embark on a new journey, prefaced with the
• development of a learning environment
• creation of preliminary plans to design and implement a marketing kit for advertising
• setting a plan in place for organization and streamlining of company procedures and data
• emphasizing the necessity of internally sharing knowledge and information in order to keep ASC
The President, Bruce S., is looking at developing in-house potential and exploiting an economic and industry-wide
lack of specialization. He is seeking to develop a marketing kit to promote a Design-Build facet of the company so
Heather Kuhns-HPI Project 25
that ASC will become a virtual one-stop steel shop; providing clients with architectural drawings, measurements to
code, fabrication, processing, and delivery of framework steel as well as erection and finishing of contracted jobs.
This provides an opportunity for unparalleled customer service and continuity of a job for both the client and the
provider of services (ASC). Working towards managing this goal and the business it could bring in is paramount to
the President of ASC. With the implementation of these interventions, ASC will teeter over the edge of ambiguity
onto the side of change and begin their journey on the road to future development with competency and confidence.
Heather Kuhns-HPI Project 26
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