Very few people come to work intending to do a bad job. Yet when measured, some seem to underperform when compared with their peers. Why?
To get visibility of great or poor performance you must have two things in place:
1. Accurate and timely productivity data, at an individual and team level
2. The ability to interpret that data
But to truly understand performance you need understand why two people can perform differently under the same conditions. The simple reason is we are all different, and that’s true. But if we dive deeper what we find is, actually the conditions often are not the same for both people.
Let’s take a numerical problem-solving task as an example. The task is given to two people, but one completes it in a much shorter time then the other. It doesn’t necessarily mean that one person tried harder or they are smarter – it could just be they have a natural aptitude for numbers. A different task requiring creativity and imagination could see the performance scores reversed.
As Albert Einstein once said:
“Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing it is stupid”.
We as managers have a duty to dig deeper, to understand why someone may be underperforming, and to create the right conditions for high performance.
The framework in the picture below is for exploring and interpreting individual differences so that you can decide on practical courses of action.
It’s built around the idea that individual performance in influenced by three key factors:
- A person’s current level of ability to carry out their job
- Their willingness to apply themselves to their work
- The opportunity they have to meet their potential
Ability is further broken down as:
- Aptitude – your natural ability to do something
- Skill – have you received good quality training, and gained experience by putting that training into practice
Willingness is broken down as:
- Values & Attitudes – Broad beliefs about what is right and wrong. When a person’s personal values align with the employer’s corporate values performance will likely be better
- Motivation – There are many theories on motivation which I don’t have time to detail here, but put simply – when people are motivated to perform, high performance is more likely
Opportunity is broken down as:
- Challenge – has management set clear stretching but achievable goals. Have they dealt promptly with unsatisfactory performance?
- Support – Ensuring staff have the tools and training they need to carry out their work. And, good performance is recognised with timely feedback
Different people need to be managed in different ways. Only when you understand where each individual lies against each of these markers are you in a position to put together a tailored performance plan that will work for them.
At Xcentuate we have a proven formula for improving performance.
Our solution delivers 15-25% productivity gains. We provide companies with a system, processes and the capability to improve management of capacity and productivity.