A Closer Look at the Exemplary Performance System – EPS

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When aligned to the outputs that produce value to the organization, these are the factors that enable people to produce exemplary performance. In our last webinar, Paul and Al discussed how we can get exceptional results by cloning our superstars.

While we have not published a research article about this distribution of causes, the 75% external to the individual (environmental) and 25% internal to the individual are consistent with our practice and what we’ve seen in the following publications:

1.  Stolovitch & Keeeps (2004), “Telling Ain’t Performance

2. David Ripley & Peter  (1997),  ”Performance Improvement Pathfinders: Models for Organizational Learning” Chapter 3

3. The Conference Board/Louis Stephen Csoka (1994), “Closing the Human Performance Gap”

4.  Marken & Quiram (2012), “Where the Performance Issues Are – And Aren’t”

The questions for this research have varied, but the proportions have remained consistent.  The questions asked have been:

  • Improvement in which one of the following  six areas would enable you to do your job better?
  • What is the most common cause of  performance gaps for people in role?
  • What are the frequencies of  recommendations, according to these six categories from performance  analysis projects?

For us, the most compelling numbers are around “expectations and feedback.”  When we conduct performance analysis and identify the best practices of star performers within the organization, we are then able to equip managers to do a great job of providing better “expectations & feedback.”  Of course, this is a system and the way to optimize is to attend to all six of the arrows.

As a concrete example, for one of our projects in the healthcare industry we created “scorecards” for business unit managers, based on the performance of their best business unit managers. It included “behavioral anchors” of performance and conveyed high standards. The result was that each of the business unit mangers was able to see meaningful, context-rich examples of what they were expected to do – and this was the same for their boss (the VP of Ops).  Previously, they were only employing a competency model and there was a lack of clarity around priorities and what really mattered.

Have you seen any situations in your organization to support this research?  We’d love to hear from you!

Contributed by Dr. Al Folsom

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