Performance Recovery: A 3-Step Program

‘Training for Success’ with Bill Russell

Bill Russell has worked with clients globally from a variety of industries including defense, telecom, banking, manufacturing, automotive, aviation, medical equipment, healthcare, and universities. Through the use of workshops, presentations, and interventions, he strives for quick, collaborative implementations that prioritize actions on the issues that yield the fastest and largest payback and encourage multiple cycles of learning. In other words, Bill believes in training for success. In this column, Bill will offer words of advice on how to get the most out of your training sessions. A firm believer in the power of reading and continuing education, Bill will also offer a recommended read at the conclusion of every piece.

Have you ever felt there were too many problems and too little time or money to cope?  I was talking with someone the other day who was feeling pretty overwhelmed. He said that problems were stacking up quickly; he was in danger of getting lost in the avalanche.

In Performance Consulting, we have helped quite a few groups in similar situations. We have found that there are three quick steps to the process of beginning the recovery.

1.      Problem Solve

Assess the current state and identify your current problems. Then, rank order the problems by their impact in cost, quality or schedule. Put the most painful issues at the top. Next, assign teams or resources to these top few issues. Restrict the recovery efforts to be those actions which will have the greatest impact in the shortest amount of time.  Set a deadline, say one month, and then reassess. As issues are solved, assign a few more. Repeat for several months (Raytheon Professional Services has a business diagnostic process to help with this. Leave a comment if you’d like to know more.)

2.      Benchmark

Measure and record the vital few metrics that define your value in the eyes of your customers or stakeholders. These metrics might include cost, quality or schedule issues. Make a graph of them to better track trends. On each graph include two extra lines. (These extra lines are often mistakenly omitted.) Include one line that represents your goal. Include another line that represents our best-in-class competitor. Without these two extra lines, we have no framework to judge our progress.

3.      Innovate

For those issues that represent significant barriers to progress or require a new approach, engage in a workshop dedicated to innovation and out-of-the-box thinking. The mindset required for innovation is very different from execution — and needs dedicated time and a different set of ground rules to drive it.  We have an innovation workshop called InnovationStation. You can learn more about it in our podcast.

Check in, and let us know how we can help you on your path to performance recovery.


Recommended Reading: Creative Confidence By Tom Kelly and David Kelly