Our experience is that you can spend an awful lot of manager and employee time trying to solve a performance problem.
And all of it can be wasted if neither the manager nor employee know what is the root cause of the problem .
Below we have given you a structure that may help identify that root cause and help you to describe possible factors influencing employee performance.
(we sometimes cover this in our Performance Management Training Workshops
The Logical Levels model or the Psychological Levels Model.
The model originates from the work of NLP.
For the purposes of this exercise we will use the bottom 5 levels.
2. Beliefs and Values
3. Skills and Capabilities
One way the model can be thought about is to accept that we all have multiple identities.
Level 1 :I’m a Dad, a Husband, a Trainer and a Coach to name a few.
Level 2: For an identity at level 1, I will have certain beliefs and values appropriate to the identity.
Level 3: I bring certain skills and capabilities to bear, again differing for each identity and belief
Level 4: The behaviours I exhibit will change again dependent on what skills and capabilities I employ
Level 5: The Where and When I will exhibit these behaviours will be congruent with levels above…
Another way to look at this model is by the kinds of questions asked of you at each level.
Level 1: WHO am I ?
Level 2: WHY am I doing this?
Level 3: WHAT Specific skills do I bring?
Level 4: HOW am I using my skills and behaving?
Level 5: WHERE and WHEN do I do this?
This model encourages you to work up from the bottom level and can help you diagnose what is the probable root cause of performance problems.
Level 5: Environmental issues:
The sort of question to ask would be targeted at finding out if the environment surrounding the person is supportive of their performing
A few typical environmental barriers to performance.
- Uncooperative co-workers
- Incorrect tools / Unhelpful lighting , heating, desks, chairs etc
- Poor quality materials to work with
- Not given enough time to complete the work or competing workloads from other tasks
- Lack of incentives
- Lack of positive reinforcements and feedback on a job well done
- Other pressures outside of work all may contribute.
- Pressures from another identity? Being a Dad with children issues?
Discussion with the employee should start with reference to factors outside the control of the employee that may impede progress.
Level 4: How am I behaving?
Your questions should be focused at discovering if the person understands the behaviours and effort required as well as what are unacceptable standards
What measures are in place and how objective are they?
How clear is the performance of the individual to the individual?
The kinds of issues that you may see at this level might be
- Not trying hard (Could be fear of failure , boredom . Could be lack of skill?)
- Not understanding what behaviour is required or is acceptable in the role
A person must understand the nature of the task, and what is expected.
If this is lacking, no amount of skill or motivation will bring about effective performance.
- Not knowing exactly what to do and when ( Lack of Training?)
- Lack of a role model
- Or wrong role models who lead them astray
- An employee may be putting in a limited amount of effort and or time and therefore producing inferior results.
Level 3: Skills and Capabilities
Your questions aim at whether the person does have the skills and capabilities to do the job at the standard you require.
Can you test their skills? Maybe role play a test appointment with a client? Test typing speeds? Using excel spreadsheets?
The kinds of issues that surface at this level
- Lack of Aptitude:
Each of us has strengths and weaknesses that determine if we can learn or perform a task.
Poor aptitude for a task could mean that the person could never learn how to do it, even with all the support in the world.
- No time to practice and perfect the skills:
We all need a little time to learn a new skill and time to practice in a safe environment
A chance to fail without the world caving in on us.
Has the person been given a mentor to show them the new skills?
What training and learning events have they undertaken? Courses? Books? DVDs? Shadowing?
- To assess whether a performance deficit is a result of lack of skill, ask the questions,
“If his/her life depended on it, could the person do the task?”
If the answer is no, then it could be a skill problem.
Level 2: Beliefs and Values
The issues at this level are now getting difficult to change.
The person may need to contemplate changing role if the current role demands different beliefs
Your questions need to dig deep to seek out these deeply held beliefs.
You may have to use re-framing techniques to get the person to change their beliefs
Sometimes beliefs get in the way, sometimes it can be a lack of self belief.
- I cannot sell to my friends and I’ve worked with these clients so long that they are now my friends
- I could not go in and see the CEO because I would be so nervous and I’m so insignificant she wouldn’t see me anyway
- We’ve always done it this way and it works. There’s no need to change
- I’ve always had time off in lieu for doing this activity why the change?
Level 5: Identity
The issues here can be of a very deep and personal nature and only resolved by the person themselves.
- My job title is now manager so you must respect me
- My role as a parent impacts on my role as a Vice President
- I’m the leader of this team so therefore I must know everything there is to know
- My title says I’m managing so I need to manage everything ( become a micro manager?)
We hope that this model allows you to diagnose the issue of performance problems.
We hope it too allows you to co-create a solution with the employee which they own but you can assist with, finally resolve the perormance issues and get the employee back on track to excellence.
Please let us know how you find its use… email@example.com