June 8

There’s More to Business Team Development Than Good Systems and Best Intentions

By Chuck Coker

If deliberate and exhaustive research doesn’t reap the right results, how do you make sure you have the right training and developmental process for your company?  How do you identify and select what is right for your people and your company?

That is the crucial question:  “What is right for your corporate culture and unique personality”?

Eighty percent of all performance issues are people related. Many studies have documented that an investment in human capital will often return up to ten times the dividends that investments in technology and equipment will produce. And besides, ninety-two percent of America’s companies already have more technology than they can use.

There are three key elements you must evaluate before entering a new process implementation, benchmarking, reengineering, or even a basic training process. Successful outcomes will require a thorough understanding of:

  • The corporate culture and what impact it has on the present, as well as, new employees.
  • The types of behaviors, attitudes, and motivations necessary to successfully perform each job description
  • The natural behavior, attitudes, and motivations of present and future employees.

Next, you select a process that the employees can relate to and make their own. Employees will only become owners of culture, process, and position when they have the ability to see where and how they “fit.”  An employee must have a personal reference point. Personal reference points (PRP) provide the insight necessary to solve over seventy-five percent of the performance issues in any organization, regardless of the industry.

Let me give you an example. One of these most popular books of the 1990s is “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, by Steven Covey What is the fourth habit? Can you remember the name of the habit? How well are you performing that habit compared to highly effective people?

If you are like most of the people I meet, you can’t remember the habit. But even more important is no one I have ever met could tell me how well he or she performs that habit compared to highly effective people.

Now, this is certainly not Mr. Covey’s fault. His material is insightful and brilliant however, all he can do is give us the good information. He can’t make you do what you need to do to “get it.” Sadly, only a small percentage of the people, who purchase his book, or other excellent educational materials, have actually implemented the process and benefited from the intuitive design.

Why is this valuable information lost?  If holding a personal reference point holds the key to improving performance, a lack of personal reference, or identification of appropriate need for each crucial point, locks out superior and effective performance. Unless PRP’s are established and understood with each position, most people don’t know how well or poorly they are performing each competence. There will be little meaning to the individual involved and little desire for ownership. The plan remains Mr. Covey’s, not yours or mine.

Companies plot their reference points and draw their focus from mission statements and goals. Job descriptions, skill sets as well as programs and processes can provide reference points for getting things done but rarely do they accurately or predictably describe the competencies of the individual needed to perform the task. Present and potential employees, however, bring their own competencies and unique personalities to the job and the company.

Until recently, there seemingly has not been a predictable method to measure the correlation between the company, the job, and the employee. Most will agree that there is always a risk involved each time an individual is hired or placed in a new position. How risky?  Recent surveys indicate that interviewing and reading resumes is only .14 effective, where 0.0 means flipping a coin is just as accurate.

Establishing PRP’s for each of the three appropriate areas, however, reduces the risk of hiring mistakes, turnover, unacceptable performance, and a low ROI for training and development. As a matter of fact, if the PRP’s are established on unbiased competencies and then measured empirically through validated assessment processes, hiring mistakes and turnover will virtually STOP. Performance levels will improve immediately and training can be tailored to the employee’s natural learning style.

Most companies do not understand that matching people to the right position is a relatively inexpensive process when compared to the high costs of turnover, lost productivity, and mishiring. Many organizations say the payback of hiring right is almost 7:1.

The Solution

There is certainly no lack of process excellence in today’s market. On a regular basis, there is more and more research and information available to help corporate America implement a continuous improvement process.

Companies, unfortunately, are not taking advantage of some of the most simple and inexpensive approaches to solving performance issues. In fact, in August of this year, CBS News reported that the American worker now works longer hours than any other industrialized nation. This information has caused us to reconsider the “productivity gains” information released by our government.

Related Resource

Employee Life-Cycle Services

Organizational Development Consulting

About the author 

Chuck Coker

For more than 30 years, Chuck has focused his career on people's development. He has implemented proprietary Personal Formation, Human Capital, Talent Management, and incentive-based programs across a broad scope of Fortune Companies, regional organizations, and educational institutions.


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