Christopher LaFayelle's increasing growth management training

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Christopher LaFayelle's increasing growth management training

  1. 1. INCREASING GROWTH I, Christopher LaFayelle, propose a proactive, consistent, on-going approach of Increasing Growth…` I DEAS through nnovation, Imagination, Inspiration and creativity N EW social purpose ventures C OMMUNITY outreach through Popular Education Social R ESPONSABILITY and social entrepreneurship E NTHUSIASTIC voluntarism community participationStrategic A LLIANCES/ partnerships through collaboration S OCIAL economic impact & SROI I NFORMATION availability and transparency N ONPROFIT and For-profit business development G ROWTH of mission-related goals Page 1 of 21
  2. 2. INCREASING GROWTH Strategic Planning I skate to where I think the puck will be. Wayne Gretzky Men, I want you to stand and fight vigorously, and then run. And as I am a little bit lame, I’m going to start running now. Gen. George Stedman Which quote best describes your commitment, effort, and resolve by Professor Christo- pher LaFayelle in the present time (not in the past, but right now, today)?Strategic planning is designed to help public and non-profit organizations (and communi-ties) respond effectively to their new situations. It is a disciplined effort to produce fun-damental decisions and actions shaping the nature and direction of an organization’s (orother entity’s) activities within legal bounds. These decisions typically concern the or-ganization’s mandates, mission and product or service level and mix, cost, financing,management or organizational design.Professor Christopher LaFayelle’s Strategic planning was designed for use by the organi-zation to concentrate on Increasing Growth of mission-related goals. It’s also able to beapplied towards public, private, and non-profit organizations that are, or can be, strate-gic alliances and then enter into collaborative partnerships that can benefit all involved.Strategic planning of course can be, and has been, applied to programs, projects, and/orfunctions - such as Popular Education, youth, healthcare, prevention, outreach, andcommunity betterment.The most basic formal requirement of Strategic planning is a series of discussions anddecisions among key decision makers and managers about what is truly important forthe organization. Usually key decision makers need a reasonably structured process tohelp them identify and resolve the most important issues their organizations face. Onesuch process that has proven effective in practice is outlined in Figure 1. Page 2 of 21
  3. 3. INCREASING GROWTHPage 3 of 21
  4. 4. INCREASING GROWTHThe process consists of the following eight steps:1. Development of an initial agreement concerning the strategic planning effort.The agreement should cover: the purpose of the effort; preferred steps in the process;the form and timing of reports; the role, functions and membership of a strategic plan-ning coordinating committee; the role, functions and membership of the strategic plan-ning team; and commitment of necessary resource to proceed with the effort.2. Identification and clarification of mandates.The purpose of this step is to identify and clarify the externally imposed formal and in-formal mandates placed on the organization. These are the musts confronting the organ-ization. For most public and non-profit organizations these mandates will be contained tolegislation, articles of incorporation or charters, regulations, and so on. Unless mandatesare identified and clarified two difficulties are likely to arise: the mandates are unlikelyto be met, and the organization is unlikely to know what pursuits are allowed and notallowed.3. Development and clarification of mission and values.The third step is the development and clarification of the organization’s mission and val-ues. An organization’s mission-in tandem with its mandates provides its raison d’ltue,the social justification for its existence.4. External environmental assessment.The fourth step is exploration of the environment outside the organization in order toidentify the opportunities and threats the organization faces. Political, economic, socialand technological trends and events might be assessed, along with the nature and sta- Page 4 of 21
  5. 5. INCREASING GROWTHtus of various stakeholder groups, such as the organization’s customers, clients or users,and actual or potential competitors or collaborators.5. Internal environmental assessment.The next step is an assessment of the organization itself in order to identify its strengthsand weaknesses. Three assessment categories include-following a simple systems mod-el-organizational resources (inputs), present strategy (process) and performance (out-puts). Unfortunately, most organizations can tell you a great deal about the resourcesthey have, much less about their current strategy, and even less about how well theyperform. The nature of accountability is changing, however, in that public and non- prof-it organizations are increasingly held accountable for their outputs as well as their in-puts. A stakeholder analysis can help organizations adapt to this changed nature of ac-countability, because the analysis forces organizations to focus on the criteria stakehold-ers use to judge organizational performance. Those criteria are typically related to out-put. For example, stakeholders are increasingly concerned with whether or not state-financed schools are producing educated citizens. In many states in the United States,the ability of public schools to garner public financing is becoming contingent on theschools’ ability to demonstrate that they do an effective job of educating their students.The identification of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats-or SWOT analysis-in Steps 4 and 5 is very important because every effective strategy will build onstrengths and take advantage of opportunities, while it overcomes or minimizes weak-nesses and threats.6. Strategic issue identification.Together the first five elements of the process lead to the sixth, the identification ofstrategic issues. Strategic issues are fundamental policy questions affecting the organi-zation’s mandates; mission and values; product or service level and mix, clients, usersor payers, cost, financing, management or organizational design. Usually, it is vital thatstrategic issues be dealt with expeditiously and effectively if the organization is to sur- Page 5 of 21
  6. 6. INCREASING GROWTHvive and prosper. An organization that does not address a strategic issue may be unableto head off a threat, unable to capitalize on an important opportunity or both.Strategic issues - virtually by definition - embody conflicts. The conflicts might be overends (what); means (how); philosophy (why); location (where); timing (when); andwho might be helped or hurt by different ways of resolving the issue (who). In order forthe issues to be raised and resolved effectively, the organization must be prepared todeal with such conflicts.A statement of a strategic issue should contain three elements.First, the issue should be described succinctly, preferably in a single paragraph. The is-sue itself should be framed as a question the organization can do something about. Ifthe organization cannot do anything about it, it is not an issue-at least for the organiza-tion. An organization’s attention is limited enough without wasting it on issues it cannotresolve. Second, the factors that make the issue a fundamental policy question shouldbe listed. In particular, what is it about mandates, mission, values or internal strengthsand weaknesses and external opportunities and threats that make this a strategic issue?Listing these factors will become useful in the next step, strategy development. Finally,the planning team should state the consequences of failure to address the issue. A re-view of the consequences will inform judgments of just how strategic, or important, var-ious issues are. The strategic issue identification step therefore focuses organizationalattention on what is truly important for the survival, prosperity and effectiveness of theorganization-and provides useful advice on how to achieve these aims.There are three basic approaches to the identification of strategic issues: thedirect approach, the goals approach and the scenario approach.The direct approach-in which strategic planners go straight from a view of mandates,mission and SWOTs to the identification of strategic issues-probably will work best for Page 6 of 21
  7. 7. INCREASING GROWTHmost governments and public agencies. The direct approach is best when one or more ofthe following conditions prevail: (1) there is no agreement on goals, or the goals onwhich there is agreement are too abstract to be useful; (2) there is no pre-existing vi-sion of success and developing a consensually based vision will be difficult; (3) there isno hierarchical authority that can impose goals on the other stakeholders; or (4) the en-vironment is so turbulent that development of goals or visions seems unwise, and partialactions in response to immediate, important issues stem most prudent. The direct ap-proach, in other words, can work in the pluralistic, partisan, politicized and relativelyfragmented worlds of most public organizations-as long as there is a ‘dominant coalition”strong enough and interested enough to make it work.The goals approach is more in line with conventional planning theory which stipulatesthat an organization should establish goals and objectives for itself and then developstrategies to achieve those goals and objectives. The approach can work if there is fairlybroad and deep agreement on the organization’s goals and objectives-and if those goalsand objectives themselves are detailed and specific enough to guide the identification ofissues and development of strategies. This approach also is more likely to work in organ-izations with hierarchical authority structures where key decision makers can imposegoals on others affected by the planning exercise. The approach, in other words, is morelikely to work in public or non-profit organizations that are hierarchically organized, pur-sue narrowly defined missions and have few powerful stakeholders than it is in organiza-tions with broad agendas and numerous powerful stakeholders.Finally, there is the scenario - or “vision of success” - approach, whereby the or-ganization develops a ‘best’ or ‘ideal’ picture of itself in the future as it successfully ful-fills its mission and achieves success. The strategic issues then concern how the organi-zation should move from the way it is now to how it would look and behave according toits vision. The vision of success approach is most useful if the organization will have dif-ficulty identifying strategic issues directly; if no detailed and specific agreed-upon goalsand objectives exist and will be difficult to develop; and if drastic change is likely to benecessary. As conception precedes perception, development of a vision can provide the Page 7 of 21
  8. 8. INCREASING GROWTHconcepts that enable organizational members to set necessary changes. This approach ismore likely to work in a non-profit organization than in a public-sector organization be-cause public organizations are more likely to be tightly constrained by mandates.7. Strategy development.In this step, strategies are developed to deal with the issues identified in the previousstep. A strategy is a pattern of purposes, policies, programs, actions, decisions and/orresource allocations that define what an organization is, what it does and why it does it.Strategies can vary by level, function and time frame. This definition is purposely broad,in order to focus attention on the creation of consistency across rhetoric (what peoplesay), choices (what people decide and are willing to pay for) and actions (what peopledo). Effective strategy formulation and implementation processes will link rhetoric,choices and actions into a coherent and consistent pattern across levels, functions andtime. I favor a five-part strategy development process.Strategy development begins with identification of practical alternatives, dreams or vi-sions for resolving the strategic issues. It is of course important to be practical, but ifthe organization is unwilling to entertain at least some ‘dreams’ or ‘visions’ for resolvingits strategic issues, it probably should not be engaged in strategic planning.Next, the planning team should enumerate the barriers to achieving those alternatives,dreams or visions, and not focus directly on their achievement. A focus on barriers atthis point is not typical of most strategic planning processes. But doing so is one way ofassuring that strategies deal with implementation difficulties directly rather than hap-hazardly.Once alternatives, dreams and visions, along with barriers to their realization, are listed,the team should prepare or request major proposals for achieving the alternatives,dreams or visions directly, or else indirectly through overcoming the barriers.For example, a major city government did not begin to work on strategies to achieve itsmajor ambitions until it had overhauled its archaic civil service system. That systemclearly was a barrier that had to be confronted before the city government could haveany hope of achieving its more important objectives.After the strategic planning team prepares or receives major proposals, two final tasksmust be completed. The team must identify the actions needed over the next one to twoyears to implement the major proposals. And finally, the team must spell out a detailedwork program, covering the next 6 months to a year, to implement the actions. Page 8 of 21
  9. 9. INCREASING GROWTHAn effective strategy must meet several criteria. It must be technically workable, politi-cally acceptable to key stakeholders, and must accord with the organization’s philosophyand core values. It must also be ethical, moral and legal.8. Description of the organization in the future.In the final (and not always necessary) step in the process the organization describeswhat it should look like as it successfully implements its strategies and achieves its fullpotential. This description is the organization’s “vision of success”. Few organizationshave such a description or vision, yet the importance of such descriptions has long beenrecognized by well managed companies and organizational psychologists. Typically in-cluded in such descriptions are the organization’s mission, its basic strategies, its per-formance criteria, some important decision rules, and the ethical standards expected ofall employees.These eight steps complete the strategy formulation process. Next come actions and de-cisions to implement the strategies, and, finally, the evaluation of results. Although thesteps are laid out in a linear, sequential manner, it must be emphasized that the processis iterative. Groups often have to repeat steps before satisfactory decisions can bereached and actions taken. Furthermore, implementation typically should not wait untilthe eight steps have been completed. As noted earlier, strategic thinking and acting areimportant, and all of the thinking does not have to occur before any actions are taken. The Benefits of Strategic PlanningWhat are the benefits of strategic planning? Government and non-profit organizations inthe United States are finding that strategic planning can help them:1) Think strategically;2) Clarify future direction;3) Make today’s decisions in light of their future consequences;4) Develop a coherent and defensible basis for decision making;5) Exercise maximum discretion in the areas under organizational control;6) Solve major organizational problems;7) Improve performance; deal effectively with rapidly changing circumstances;8) Build teamwork and expertise. Page 9 of 21
  10. 10. INCREASING GROWTH What’s Required of us?a) Efficient and effective implementation strategiesb) A current strategic plan and an annual operating planc) An Executive Director or HR Director who is committed to this projectd) An employee manual outlining organizational workplace policiese) Current job descriptionsf) Basic HR systems to manage performance evaluation, hiring & recruiting, and bene- fits & compensationg) Staff that can invest the time to make the project succeed 1. Executive Director: 2-3 hours each week 2. Director of Program Development: 10 hours each week 3. Coordinators (2-3): 6 4. All managers: 1-4 total 5. Selection of non-management staff: 2-3 hours each total What Will it Take to Initiate and Succeed with Strategic PlanningThe growing body of literature on strategic planning for the public and non-profit sectorshelp us draws some conclusions about what appears to be necessary to initiate aneffective strategic planning process.At a minimum, any organization that wishes to engage in strategic planning shouldhave: (1) a process sponsor(s) in a position of power to legitimize the process; (2) a‘champion’ to push the process along; (3) a strategic planning team; (4) an expectationthat there will be disruptions and delays; (5) a willingness to be flexible about what con-stitutes a strategic plan; (6) an ability to pull information and people together at keypoints for important discussions and decisions; and (7) a willingness to construct andconsider arguments geared to very different evaluative criteria.The criteria for judging the effectiveness of strategic planning for Non-profit Organiza-tions probably should differ from those used to judge effectiveness in the private sector.Until the nonprofit organization gains more experience with strategic planning, it seemsbest to judge their strategic planning efforts according to the extent to which they:(1) focus the attention of key decision makers on what it important for their organiza-tions, (2) help set priorities for action, and (3) generate those actions. Page 10 of 21
  11. 11. INCREASING GROWTH Strategic Staff DevelopmentBuilding the right team is a challenge for most organizations, but finding and supportingthe best people for the job is critical to a nonprofits success. How can you determinewhat skills you need, assess your current team, and create realistic, effective develop-ment plans, with no time or budget for training?Our Strategic Staff Development must offer a customized project to help us:  Identify the type and level of talent necessary for growth or continued excellence;  Nurture your current staff and provide career opportunities that increase engage- ment while serving organizational goals;  Create a plan to develop existing or future talent for strategic responsibilities;  Make good decisions about hiring, training, on-the-job development, and task allo- cations; Our ApproachStrategic staffing—getting the right number of people with the right skills, experiences,and competencies in the right jobs at the right time—is one of the biggest challenges forany organization. You need solid processes for staff planning, on-the-job development,and employee engagement. Using your strategic priorities as a guide, our Strategic StaffDevelopment shows you how to plan, build, and nourish a robust, capable staff now andfor the future. ImpactThe specific impact of each project varies, but we can expect to:• Integrate our staffing goals with our strategic objectives;• Map current and desired competencies to our specific organizational needs;• Align talent management practices around competencies;• Identify gaps in future staff plans;• Begin to systematize the talent assessment and career development planning process; Page 11 of 21
  12. 12. INCREASING GROWTH DetailsPossible Project Scope and Deliverables (Actual deliverables will depend on your uniqueneeds)• Discovery interviews with a range of your staff;• Strategic staffing guide that catalogues critical capabilities;• Competency models that create detailed profiles for each organizational role;• Development plan templates that emphasize on-the-job learning opportunities and incorporate the strategic needs of both the organization and the employee;• Organization-specific best practices in workforce planning and career development Target NonprofitOur application of a Strategic Staff Development Service Grant is most likely to be suc-cessful under certain circumstances. I recommend that we you apply since our organiza-tion meets the following requirements:• A strategic plan and an annual operating plan that reflects current thinking and practice;• An Executive Director or HR Director who is strongly committed to this project;• An employee manual outlining organizational workplace policies;• Accurate job descriptions for all or most roles;• Basic HR systems to manage performance evaluation, hiring and recruiting, and benefits and compensation;• At least 20 employees;• Staff that can invest the necessary time to make the project succeed: a) Executive Director: 2-3 hours each week b) Human Resources Director: 2-3 hours each week c) Day-to-Day Contact (may be same as HR Director): 3 hours each week d) Select managers (2-3): 10-15 hours over the course of the project e) Selection of staff: 2-4 hours each over the course of the project Page 12 of 21
  13. 13. INCREASING GROWTH Strategic Staff Development has 4 Parts.1) Creating a competency model2) Building a full profile of the strengths and limitations of the Organization’s current staff.3) Building a full profile of the Organization’s ideal staff.4) Identifying strategies for developing the Organization’s staff into their ideal staff. Professor Christopher LaFayelle’s Staff Development Project (SDP)Our MissionThe mission of the Professor Christopher LaFayelle’s Staff Development Project is to helpour staff reach professional and personal excellence by protecting, nurturing, strength-ening and enhancing the staff development functions within the organization.This will be achieved by collaboratively working on three initiatives:Initiative #1: Staff TrainingThis is the SDP’s primary focus. This would involve identifying unmet staff training needsand then designing, developing and delivering relevant training activities at minimalcost.Initiative #2: Transfer and Application of Learning for Effective Job Perfor-manceLinked to Initiative #1 - this would involve assessing the transfer/application ofknowledge and skills gained from staff training to the employees job with effective re-sults.Initiative #3: Promoting, strengthening and reinforcing a consistent "learningculture" within our organization. Page 13 of 21
  14. 14. INCREASING GROWTHAll of these initiatives ultimately support and strengthen excellence in service delivery,popular education, and community outreach. "We believe that learning is central and critical to what we do. Continuous and progressive learning creates opportunities, challenges how we normally see and do things, builds understanding of our mission and strengthens community connections." Human Resources Management Action PlanHuman Resources Management action plan, for it to be purposeful, must take into con-sideration the company’s mission statement, its business philosophy as well as its stra-tegic goals.No management philosophy can succeed unless there is a well-conceived action plan toachieve its set objectives. It is no different with the Human Resources Manage-ment (HRM). Action Planning in Human Resource Management involves a proper as-sessment of the future needs of man-power, recruitment and training of employees,evolving suitable methodologies to obtain optimum employee efficiency and drawing upan action plan to achieve the set targets. For example, in a project management sys-tem, a base plan is outlined which is often referred to as Project Plan which calls forsome definite actions to be taken. These actions are often basedon project management targets and objectives. Human resource management actionplan follows the same notion and provides a foundation to HR initiatives and goals. HR Action PlanFor any action plan to succeed – be it short term or long term - there has to be certainappropriate and well-defined strategies. For instance, to engage the optimum number ofemployees and reduce staffing costs, HRM has to anticipate when additional staff will berequired, decide whether to recruit them or outsource the work. The HR action plan Page 14 of 21
  15. 15. INCREASING GROWTHshould focus on optimizing individual employee potential for the overall growth of thecompany.The HR action plan must include strategies to keep the employees motivated and instillin them a sense of belonging so that they strive hard to collectively accomplish the com-pany’s goals. It is also a part of HR action plan to ensure that proper work ambience iscreated, the complaints of individual employees are promptly redressed and that thereare no disgruntled employees. HR action plan must include proper and timely compli-ance of all statutory and legal requirements. Human resource management emphasizeson policies and guidelines which is critical in implementation like implementing a particu-lar project. Key Factors In HR Action PlanIn implementing the action plan, HR management has to consider a number of key fac-tors:  Outlining human resource objectives and laying down policies.  To scout for talent and hire persons with the right qualifications and experience.  To create a work culture where individual employees develop a feeling they are doing important work.  Keeping abreast of technological changes to carry out the action plan with new skills.  Closely tracking changes to legislation, particularly in the compliance area.  Watchful of changing industry/business trends and suitably reorienting HR policies. Evaluating HR Action PlanMerely conceiving an imaginative action plan will be purposeless unless it is effectivelyimplemented. Each employee must be made to understand the assigned job functionand the work must be monitored on regular basis – both at the macro and micro levels.Whenever the action plan lags behind or threatens to get derailed, timely correctivemeasures must be taken.HR action plan has a much larger role and more complex goals to achieve than merelychalking out procedures for fulfilling the basic functions. The onus is on the HR man- Page 15 of 21
  16. 16. INCREASING GROWTHagement professionals to assess the effectiveness of the HR policies in ensuringa return on investment of the existing human assets. HR processes have a direct bearingon employees collective ability to contribute to the growth of the organization.The purpose of HR action plan is also to assist organizations in making enhanced per-formance and towards this end HR action plan is an instrument to accomplishthe planned developments, and assigning responsibilities to individual employees forcarrying out the work.There is not much difference in Project Management action plan and HRM action planexcept for the fact that project management action plan is based on disintegrated needsand necessities whereas human resource management action plan is all about unitingdisintegrating resources.What are some tips for having an effective human resource management plan? First ofall, it has to address the facts that business fortunes rise and fall periodically, employeesand talent needs change and evolve, workforces age and retire in perhaps unplannedways that do not match business needs. Also the market value of talent changes overtime, sometimes becoming more valuable or less valuable.Business focus:Be a best business place to work, not just a best place to work. Create a human re-source management strategy to live with throughout the business cycle. Test some al-ternative solutions assuming growth and shrinkage of the number of customers andtheir profitability. Reward people who have helped the organization to succeed.Emphasize key skills:We must mentor staff with the crucial skills so that they grow and learn.While everyone is important, some people have skills which a business needs than doothers. This means investing in the talent that is closest to the business core competen-cies - capabilities which are vital in making the business a winning one. Inform everyonewhat the talent priorities are and build a reward solution that fits. Invest on the area Page 16 of 21
  17. 17. INCREASING GROWTHwhere most of business value comes from - people with expertise that add most to thebusiness.Communicate:Educate employees about the rules of staffing growth and reduction early in their career.During the staffing build up over the last 5 years, companies implied that jobs weremore secure than they really are. Thus, when the business tide turned, workforces re-called these implied promises and interpreted them as job guarantees. It is extremelyimportant to have people understand the actual deal the company can provide. Be clearthat staffing levels would change. However, also make employees comprehend whatthey can do to improve their value to make it less likely that they will be picked for layoffs and salary reductions.Measure performance:Build an accepted and valid way to judge performance before it is needed. It is im-portant to have a credible and reliable performance management system in place whentimes are going well. In good times, it is easy to protect inadequate performers whenstaffing levels are high, but not when cutting is necessary. The best way to foster dis-trust, to say nothing about litigation, is to adopt a makeshift ranking system just beforeit is needed to reduce staff and try to use it to decide who goes and who remains.Humanity counts:Cut the workforce quickly and humanely. Spreading the pain around does not makemuch business sense. When there is a need to reduce staff, reduce it. Build a reputationfor keeping people close to the meat of the business even when cutting is inevitable.Get it over with:Cut enough so that when it is over, it is really over. Do some staff planning and stickwith it. Companies cannot continue to regain the trust of the workforce if they do not Page 17 of 21
  18. 18. INCREASING GROWTHmake the needed cuts and commence to regain business momentum. While it is veryhard to predict the next possible economic fortunes of the business, the staff cuttingmust stop when management promises that it will. Employee Action PlanAn employee action plan describes or maps out the steps that an employee plans to taketo achieve a particular goal or objective.For project oriented objectives, or complex tasks, its helpful for an employee to createan action plan that contains his actions, the actions of other people that might need tobe involved, time lines, etc. Usually, the employee, him or herself creates such an actionplan since its the employee who needs to implement it. Managers, of course, oftenmake suggestions that can be incorporated into the action plan.The action plan can be used to monitor a project and to ensure it remains on time andon task. Employee Performance ProblemsOne of the toughest parts of a managers job involves dealing with employee perfor-mance problems, disciplining employees and getting the least effective performers toimprove. What Is A Performance Problem?A performance problem occurs when an employee is failing to obtain the results ex-pected of him or her, or falling short of the goals and objectives for the job. In otherwords, theres a gap between what the employee should be producing and what he orshe is currently producing.Performance problems occur in many forms, and can range from simple poor productivi-ty, to absenteeism, to negatively affecting the work of others.However, its important to distinguish between performance issues that negatively affectthe company, and employee actions that may simply be annoying to the manager or Page 18 of 21
  19. 19. INCREASING GROWTHother employees. Some employees may have certain habits that do not impact on theirvalue, but simply annoy people. These are not really performance problems, per se. Inassessing whether there is a real performance problem, a good question to ask is: "Whateffect does "it" have on the company, or work unit, in terms of goal achievement?" Or,"If we do nothing about this "problem", will there be any negative outcomes?" What Is Diagnosing A Performance Problem?Once you have a sense that there is a performance issue or performance problem with aspecific employee, the very first step involves mapping out that problem in more detail.Its very helpful to know when the problem occurs, under what conditions, and the im-pact the problem has on your business or work-unit goals and responsibilities.The more you understand the nature of the problem, the more likely you will be able tostep in and help eliminate it. Also, to understand the nature of the problem, its oftenuseful to ask the employee about it in a non-accusatory way. What may seem to be aproblem, without any rational reasoning behind it, may turn out to make sense, if youtalk to the employee. You need to understand whats going on!So, you gather information, so you can decide if there really IS a problem that requiresaction. Some apparent problems are so minor that they do not require you to do any-thing. Youll Need To Diagnose Why The Performance Problem Is Happening.Diagnosing a performance problem is a process used to identify WHY a particular em-ployee is performing below expectations. Its function is obvious. To solve a problem, youneed to get to the root cause, the ultimate and critical cause, so you can address thecause, and not just the symptom.Remember that the purpose of the diagnosis is so you and the employee can fix theproblem. Its not for the purpose of blaming, and should be carried out WITH the em-ployee. It shouldnt be something you do TO the employee. Page 19 of 21
  20. 20. INCREASING GROWTHThere are two main causes of performance problems.The first has to do with employee characteristics. Employee performance is based on thefollowing: employee skill levels, motivation, ability, training, and other factors that "be-long" at least in part, to the employee.The second type of cause has to do with the system in which work is done. In this cate-gory are included: managerial behavior, allocation of resources, the effects of colleaguebehavior, and a wide range of variables that are, by and large, beyond the control of theindividual employee.When trying to identify the causes of poor employee performance its absolutely criticalthat both kinds of causes be examined. Even something like "poor employee motiva-tion", something that would appear on the surface to be related to employee character-istics, is heavily influenced by the work environment. A work environment can be frus-trating or demoralizing, so apparent poor employee motivation can itself be caused by apoor working environment.The reality is that many performance problems occur as a result of the system in whichthe person works. For example, an employee may be less productive over time if thetools s/he is given are faulty, poor or inadequate. Certainly, that is not the fault of theemployee, and its not something the employee can even control.In many situations, performance problems are jointly caused. That is, the causes lieboth with the employee and the environment or system (and that includes managerialbehavior). The two "causes" often interact, which is why you will find that two employ-ees doing the same job in the same environment can be differentially productive.Anyway, the point is not to rush to judgment and attribute a productivity problem solelyto the employee. Its unfair to do so, and whats worse, you arent likely to be able to fixthe problem unless you also look at the work environment.When diagnosing performance look at employee factors as contributors and the biggerpicture. Progressive DisciplineProgressive discipline is a managerial tool that involves applying various consequences,tied to performance in a progressive way (from less significant to more significant), to Page 20 of 21
  21. 21. INCREASING GROWTHencourage employees to improve their performance or move the process along so thatthe impact of poor employee performance is reduced or eliminated. It involves com-municating with the employee that there is a problem, and specifying the details of theproblem, setting and communicating what will happen if the problem is not resolved,and then invoking the consequences if the problem is not resolved.The idea behind progressive discipline is to provide an opportunity for the employee toimprove. It is not a method of punishment.One of the most uncomfortable things managers have to do is address performanceproblems and problem employees. Theres no way around it. Its probably going to re-main uncomfortable. However, progressive discipline can help, because the basic princi-ple behind the way we have described it is that the least possible force and negativeconsequences should be used to get the performance problem address.Suggesting that the process should be started early on, and not when the only optionsare punishment and/or termination. Professional GrowthProfessional growth involves collaboration between you and your employees. Youre re-sponsible for providing training and development opportunities but theyre responsiblefor taking advantage of the opportunities and successfully completing the training theyreceive. Page 21 of 21

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