My Performance Improvement Prediction for 2015

“There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” -Victor Hugo

During the year-end holidays, we tend to look back upon our blessings and successes. From this place of gratitude, as the dropping ball rings in the new year, our gaze shifts forward with fond hope for things better, brighter, and more fulfilling. What’s past is past, and the promise of new opportunities and successes awaits.

Holidays and celebrations behind us, we are now back at work with a whole new slate of personal and organizational goals, targets, and objectives (and fresh resolve to make them happen).

Within your organization, the beginning of the year offers a new set of goals and targets, as well as a clean slate of metrics by which to gauge your progress.

The start of a new year is also a time for many to make predictions. And while I typically stick with the advice of Casey Stengel, who mused, “Never make predictions, especially about the future,” at the dawn of this year, I clearly see a wave rising up across all industries (and it’s GREAT news for anyone involved in safety/performance improvement): A few years from now, as we look back, we will see 2015 as the year that human performance came to the forefront of awareness and focus in safety, quality, productivity, and profitability.

Until now, many have tended to think of human performance within an organization as, “getting people to follow the rules,” or, “reducing errors,” or, “improving morale.” On an individual level, it has typically been perceived as physical or mental capability, or in the terms of strength, endurance, perseverance, or even courage.

Looking for the answer to your future?

If you are truly interested in steering your organization toward substantial and sustainable future success, especially amidst the current sea of rapid competitive and regulatory change, your answer lies in a focus upon the performance of the people (humans) on your team. The key is to grasp a core understanding of what human performance actually is, and then to leverage this awareness to the benefit of yourself and your organization.

Human Performance is simply WHY we do WHAT we do the WAY we do it.

Put into a simple formula, it looks like this:

HP = W(R + B)


HP = Human Performance


R = Results (WHAT we do)

B = Behaviors (the WAY we do it)

Now, consider your role and the focus of your organization. Chances are pretty (darn) good that in the past, your primary focus has been upon…results. And while they are indeed critically important, if you’re basing actions to create your future solely upon results, it’s like trying to drive your car forward by looking in the rear view mirror.

Over the past several years, those more ‘enlightened’ have begun to consider behaviors. In the field of error reduction, a great deal of focus has been placed upon behavioral “tools”. Many have had some success with efforts under the guise of “behavior-based safety”. The LEAN community has recently identified, the “eighth waste”- lack of employee involvement/engagement. While such focus on behaviors within these various approaches to performance improvement has tended to move the needle in a positive direction (when done properly), it simply does not go deep enough. Limited improvement has generally been the result, and that which has been achieved has often not been sustainable.

How come?

Because behaviors are outcomes of underlying motivation, and all motivation is internal.

To achieve long-term sustainable performance improvement, you must get to the answer of the following question: “How can you get workers to do the right things for the right reasons (even when no one is watching)?"

The answer to this question is really quite simple- workers (at any level) are going to do the “right” thing when no one else is watching only if they…want to.

This brings us to the third (and most fundamentally important) element of human performance, which is…Why (W).

Think about it this way: Your results in life are the outcomes of your behaviors. Your behaviors (the way you act and the choices you make) are based upon your underlying motivations (your reasons why). Your underlying why is essentially responsible for the life that you have created.

Within your organization, beyond the structures, systems, and processes, your organizational performance is a direct outcome of the human performance of your team members (at all levels). The only way to achieve desired results (metrics, goals, targets, etc.) is through the necessary behaviors of the people making up the organization, and the only way to sustain necessary behaviors is by first understanding, and then positively leveraging, each individuals’ motivations- their reasons why.

And here’s the key: When you transform your culture to where the underlying whys of individuals synchronize with the whys of the organization, that’s when the magic happens. Goals are met, targets are exceeded, and outcomes achieved are very very sustainable.

I’ve put together a short video on this next-level understanding of human performance. You may access it HERE.

If you really want to dig into an understanding of why and how to tap into the incredible power that such understanding provides, study Simon Sinek’s book, Start with WHY. You can grab a copy HERE.

Next week, I’ll be discussing the reasons you should NOT be pursuing “excellence.” Until then, I remain

your humble messenger,

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  1. Ritu
    4 years ago

    Great Insights!! Thanks for the article that outlines the major assessment of the trend in the Human Performance Industry worldwide, that is soon going to be set. This will be a great time for taking some solid actions by Performance and Safety professionals to achieve and sustain the best results by practicing the best human performance efforts and by contributing their insights and experience to a larger community.

    Indeed it is an idea, whose time has come.

    Very Best,

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