Thursday, April 19, 2012

HPT Workshop: Day 2

This post is part of a multiple part Series on the 2012 Performance Improvement Conference.
#ISPI2012

I have been attending ISPI's Performance Improvement Conference 2012. Today was the second day of the 3-day Principles and Practice of Human Performance Technology workshop. Yesterday we spent a lot of time getting oriented to the field and doing some initial analysis activities. (I talk more about Day 1 here).  Today we focused in a lot more on Analysis, which is one of three major tasks that a performance consultant performs: (1) Analysis of problems, needs or gaps, (2) Implementation of solutions to those problems, and (3) Evaluation of the effectiveness of those solutions.

We learned about and applied 3 fundamental models for analyzing the performance needs and situations of an organization:
1. The Total Performance System - this is a model that allows the performance consultant to analyze the system in which the performance takes place. The model highlights several key components to the system and helps the performance consultant get a feel for what is happening in an organization related to the performance in question.
2. The Behavior Engineering Model -this is a model (developed by Thomas Gilbert) that helps the performance consultant identify what is needed to enable correct performance in an organization. These things can be categorized using the following table: 

Information
Instrumentation
Motivation
Environment
Data – receives description of, guides for, and feedback on performance
Resources – time, materials, tools
Incentives – pay, benefits, opportunities, consequences for poor performance
Worker
Knowledge  - appropriate placement, training that matches performance needs
Capacity – physical capacity, visual aids, adaptation, selection
Motives – assessment of worker motives, recruitment of matching people

We did an interesting exercise with this model - Dr. Addison asked each of us to identify which of these sections was the thing that was standing in the way of our being able to perform most effectively. We all independently responded and the following numbers of people ended up in each of the categories:


Information
Instrumentation
Motivation
Environment
6
17
2
Worker
1
2
2

So, most people felt that they just needed more resources so that they could more effectively do their work. Interestingly, Dr. Addison noted that Thomas Gilbert found that this was generally the case in most situations - people rarely need training to improve their performance - they often need the other categories, and mostly just need the right resources!

3. The final analysis tool we used what the Driver System Analysis Matrix. To be honest, I really struggled with this tool. It requires the performance consultant to look at many of the elements at the organizational level/administrative level. We attempted to use the matrix to analyze performance at a fictitious organization, and to be honest, I had a hard time with this for several reasons: (1) I am accustomed to thinking at the Work and the Worker levels and found the shift to the Workplace level difficult; (2) I was unfamiliar with the case study and had a hard time understanding the specific context; (3) I didn't sleep too well the night before and was having a hard time focusing, and (4) I was so enthralled by the other two models that I found myself looking back at them.

Really, this is a slightly more complex way to look at a complex system - I am certain that it is a great thing, I just need to revisit it sometime soon.

*     *     *
I really liked today's experience and I already have ideas for analyzing my own organization and work. As I wrote in previous post, humans have a tendency is to jump to conclusions. I see this happen all the time in the workplace among my peers, and I know that I often do the same thing. I have to force myself to slow things down, and it really takes more time to think clearly. I like the models presented in the workshop today because they really helps an individual focus on the things that are most important and really understand what is contributing to their issues and problems. I am excited to test these models out in my own work!

I look forward to day 3 of the workshop. The presenters have done an incredible job at creating experiences that are meaningful so that we can really grasp the content and consider how to use them in our own work.
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