Posted by: drewdice | July 20, 2011

Equipped to fail?

Research shows that over 70% of initiatives fail – fail to achieve intended outcomes. We have discussed various frameworks and elements that can have massive impact on shifting this alarming rate of failure.

In addition to these elements, organizations also need to think through the critical barriers that prevent consistent, high performance of those who are responsible for executing the work.

I have a belief that people really do want to do a ‘good job’. People want to progress; people are motivated by achievement; internal drive is fueled by the knowledge that one is contributing in a significant way – to a thing, a cause, a client, a goal….so, why aren’t more people and more organizations consistently performing better?

One place to look is at a Performance Chain. Think of it like this:

People are equipped:To perform tasks:That produce outcomes:That achieve goals

When looked at linearly, from left to right, the chain seems logical.

The challenge is that most companies spend so much time on the far left – equipping and training – concentrating on skill and knowledge, but studies show that skill and knowledge only account for 11% of the barriers to achieving success – over 70% of the barriers lie in elements including information gaps (right information, at the right time, to the right people), organizational barriers (unintended barriers, put in place by company structure, process, communication chains), and incentives (not properly incenting what the company truly needs, and incenting what is actually undesirable).

To do it better- to do it right, I’d offer a different approach – based on analysis first, and working backwards:

Define success:Identify Outcomes of Value that need to be produced by specific roles (what they DO; what they PRODUCE – nouns):Analyze the tasks associated with producing the outcomes:identify the influencers that can more conistently enable high performance.

In working from right to left, organizations will gain more clarity on what really matters and what type(s) of equipping will really enable high performance, instead of heaping more training on top of what already isn’t working.

What is the potential payoff?

– More productive and effective workforce
– Delighted customers who are advocates for your business
– Retain top talent
– Improve profitability

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