Posted January 25, 2016

Better Together: Framework and Engine (Part Two)

By Kris Ann Piazza

This Insight was updated on January 8, 2018 to reflect modifications to the Driving Performance Model.

In a previous insight, we explored the first part of a two-tiered Studer Group solution to help organizations transform into a culture that achieves and sustains results with the Evidence-Based LeadershipSM (EBL) framework. In this second installment, we will explore (Tier 2) the Driving Performance Model as the engine that powers effective execution of framework components and how to deploy it.

Process improvement starts with strategy and focuses on solutions, but meaningful change that drives results occurs when people consistently execute effective behaviors. It takes time to develop employee competence and confidence with new behaviors, and the Driving Performance Model provides a valuable roadmap to help leaders think critically about what steps are needed for organizations to implement process improvement solutions successfully.

There are four phases (Plan, Implement, Hardwire and Sustain) and eight behaviors (Diagnose, Treat, Organize, Teach, Validate, Reward, Coach and Monitor) that make up the Driving Performance Model.

The Plan Phase involves the execution for three of the eight behaviors to ensure the right strategy is in place to close a specific gap in performance (Diagnose, Treat and Organize).

Diagnose: Review objective trends in data, as well as anecdotal information, to help leaders understand where there are gaps and what might cause them. Is a new behavior needed? Do current behaviors need to be executed more effectively to improve overall performance? Through this assessment, leaders identify opportunities for improvement and prioritize the work needed to make the most impact on the results they want to achieve.

Diagnosis is a pivotal step to complete prior to introducing a solution, and the importance of time invested here should not be underestimated. This phase not only equips leaders with the information they need to explain why change is necessary and achieve greater buy-in from stakeholders, but also ensures the changes made are the right changes to make a positive difference in performance for the organization.

Treat: Once diagnosis is complete, leaders can identify what behavior or process will be implemented to positively impact the priority improvement area.

Organize: Gathering the right people and necessary tools to implement the new behavior or process chosen to close the gap in performance takes place with this step. An implementation timeline is created and often includes building a communication plan, developing a learning curriculum for current and future employees, as well as putting short-term and long-term processes in place to formally validate compliance and competency for the behavior. It’s also important to have a process in place for how high-performing employees and those showing improvement and growth will be recognized to accelerate the positive momentum achievement brings.

The Implement Phase involves execution for four of the eight Driving Performance Model behaviors to introduce and integrate the solution into the organizational culture (Teach, Validate, Coach and Reward).

Teach: Conduct training for the new behavior or process with multiple methodologies to address the different ways people learn (i.e. videos, interactive role play, presentations, training skills labs, etc.). Be strategic in the pacing and sequencing of new learning to help employees manage change successfully as they adapt to new behavioral expectations.

Validate: Don’t assume training guarantees effective execution of a new behavior or process. Verify that employees understood the learning and know what is expected of them, as well as how they will operationalize the new learning in day-to-day responsibilities. Your employees want to do well, so set them up for success with validation actions that inspire a shift from good to great.

  • Validate competency by observing them in the new behavior 1:1 or in a skills lab setting; ask them for situational examples of how they are using what they learned; and help them brainstorm solutions to challenges they experience to power engagement.
  • Validate commitment to the new behavior or process by asking them to track the frequency with which they are using or practicing the new behavior or process to increase accountability.

Reward: Create recognition programs for leaders to recognize employees, but also programs that encourage peer-to-peer recognition for increased trust and teamwork among coworkers. Well-deserved recognition establishes a culture of appreciation and accelerates cultural transformation, so don’t reserve it for only those going above and beyond expectations. What gets rewarded gets repeated! Celebrate progress whenever it is made by individuals, departments and as an organization.

Coach: Employees value leaders that care about their growth, so supportive development coaching is a crucial success factor in motivating them to increase engagement and improve skills. Coaching can occur after spontaneous observations of the employee executing the behavior, planned practice sessions or in a more formal skills lab setting. Tip: Leaders become most proficient with coaching employees if they practice a minimum of twice daily.

No matter when coaching feedback is provided, it should accurately reflect performance and be delivered in a way recipients feel they can grow from. Avoid being a cheerleader that glosses over true performance or overly critical, as poorly delivered feedback ultimately shortchanges the employee from achieving real growth and the organization from real improvements.  For more information on effective coaching strategies, Studer Group partners can access the Support-Coach-Support tool on our National Learning Lab.

During the Hardwire Phase, leaders focus intensively and consistently on three of the eight DPM behaviors to develop employee competency and confidence with the solution (Validate, Coach and Reward). This phase is considered complete when 90 percent of employees are executing the solution competently 90 percent of the time. However, highly reliable organizations are those that commit to achieving 100 percent of employees executing the solution competently every day to create a culture of always.

The Sustain Phase involves execution for four of the eight Driving Performance Model behaviors to maintaincurrent or achieve next-level performance for the solution across the workforce over time (Validate, Coach, Reward and Monitor).

Monitor: Validation, coaching and recognition of employee competency with the solution is still taking place during this phase, but without the frequency required during the Hardwire Phase. This periodic assessment, coaching and recognition increases the likelihood for employees to remain engaged and consistent with the behavior while continuing to build skill that ultimately results in higher levels of overall organizational performance.

An additional step essential to the Sustain Phase is incorporating these key behaviors into the onboarding of new leaders and employees. This ensures new hires are set up for success, and allows best practice behaviors that have become hardwired to remain hardwired within your organization. A new employee or leader that does not receive training and development can quickly undermine morale and consistent execution of the solution you worked so hard to implement.

It’s important to note that although the Driving Performance Model is presented as a lateral progression of steps, it’s most effective when used as a process improvement strategy without end. Whether you’re implementing a new behavior or raising the bar for the execution of a current behavior to take results to the next level, the most successful leaders always revisit the Driving Performance Model Diagnose Phase before moving forward with additional action.

As a Studer Group coach for more than five years, I have found that leaders who use the Driving Performance Model to power the Evidence-Based LeadershipSM Framework better position their organizations to achieve mission-driven priorities with the right pace, a clear purpose and the resilience needed to persevere through change.

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Kris Ann Piazza is a Studer Group coach and national speaker with more than 25 years of experience in healthcare communications.


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