Self sustainability, a beginning

Dec 06, 2014 (Indianapolis) – Self sustainability, a beginning

            What has to be the ultimate goal of any supervisor, manager, employer: helping the workforce become self-directing decision makers on behalf of the company goals. Imagine if most of your employees, maybe 75%, were self directing themselves toward goal level performance on the critical tasks they perform for the company. That should be easy to imagine since from my research most companies in fact have around 75% of the critical tasks being done by self directing employees. That is average though. No big deal. No distinction.

If that is in fact “average” or what I label as “mediocre” – half way up the stony mountain – then what is the distinction that moves some companies to great, further up the stony mountain, while others languish at mediocre? To be useful in this blog think about companies that are competitive pairs as did Collins in the seminal book “Good to Great.”

The model that I will reference is the Ken Blanchard Companies “Situational Leadership II” model. In the model I have found that average = good = development level 3 in the model. The model also has a higher level of performance, development level 4 which I have found as “distinctive” – great – head and shoulders above the “average” worker, manager, or company.

What allows, causes, provokes, drives, entices, or woos and employee, manager, or company to regularly do the critical actions at development level 4? Before I offer my best assessment of my question allow me to offer some data. In my research: about 15% of the critical tasks are being done at development level 4. That is not 15% of the employees but 15% of the tasks. My guess, but not researched is that the “hi-pos”, the designated high performers do more of their critical tasks at d4 than the average performer in the company.  I would even bet that the “hi-pos” have learned better than the average performer which tasks are currently critical and do those tasks much better than the average performer and much better than the average tasks that they are assigned. In short they do first things first and they do them better, faster, and different than the average “bear.”

To the question from above: seems there are two general answers:

  1. Of the 15% of the tasks that are being done in the d4 zone, 9% are being done at that level of performance by naturally high performers. People who would do a great job on a task because of who they are irrespective of any external factors. At times I have been that d4 performer or have seen others perform at that level “in spite” of the external factors. Remember, d4 performance is distinctly above the goal level, average, d3 level performance.
  2. The other 6%? Now that is a group worth pondering. They are in the zone because of extrinsic factors. In my next post I will begin to elaborate on those factors. It will be my Christmas present to all. It will also be a New Years gift as I am sure I will take more than one post.

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