Performance management and process improvement are two feedback tools that expose those sources of rejection that are negatively impacting productivity. Once these hidden factors are opened for discussion, those involved will better understand how best to clarify their expectations and how to open the confusion pathway to collaborative problem-solving.
The most effective way to introduce both tools is to frame two sets of questions in the form of a sequential checklist that follows the natural workflow as depicted below.
__ Is the right person
__ in the right place
__ doing the right thing
__ the right way
__ for the right reason?
__ Is the right thing
__ getting to the right place
__ at the right time
__ in the right quantity
__ and the right condition?
Start by working your way through the checklists until all parties can confidently and comfortably answer yes to all ten points of the two-step sequence. Satisfactory completion will take multiple sessions, so don’t be disappointed at the lack of results the first time out.
Any “no” or “don’t know” responses in the performance management section of the checklist should trigger an exploration of who is currently occupying that position and what additional training or development he or she might need to produce a “yes” response in the future.
Any “no” or “don’t know” responses in the process improvement section of the checklist should instigate a deeper dive to determine which part(s) of the process needs to be changed or upgraded to attain the desired outcome.
Responding to Organizational Disruption
The vitality of any organization depends on its ability to respond to disruption with minimum upheaval. Applying the performance management and process improvement processes during a period of transformation makes the data collection effort less personal and more practical.
Disruption is much more subtle than change and thus more difficult to discern and detect. If you miss it when it first slips into your world, it will surely reappear. The abrupt onset of disorder and disarray are the first clues that you have been looking in the wrong places.
People react to disruption in three ways:
- Proactive people are progressive in their approach.They tend to value innovation and respond positively to suggestions for improvement. They seek difficult challenges, collective concerns, and personal criticisms. Their most notable characteristics are that they anticipate disruption, take initiative, solve problems, and seek growth opportunities.
- Reactive people are negative about most things.They tend to openly resist anything new. Their survival instinct is strong, and they are quick to feel threatened by disruption. They avoid responsibility and when things go wrong, they shift the blame to others. Their most notable characteristics are objections, obstruction, gossip, and covert sabotage.
- Inactive people are neutral in their response to disruption. They maintain a “take it or leave it” attitude and avoid upsetting the status quo by dodging difficult issues. They accept reforms only when they see proof that it works. Their most notable characteristics are fence-sitting, reluctant approval, minimal support, and conditional agreements.
Watch closely the next time a disruption occurs, and you’ll notice most people become inactive while watching the struggle between the proactive and resistive forces. They sit on the fence until they see evidence that disruption is taking shape and management plans to act.
That is why it is so important not to give up at the first sign of resistance. If you believe that the disruption is underway, then you must hang in there long enough for the fence-sitters to see your resolve and feel motivated to join in supporting the next steps.