What is Human Performance Improvement (III): “Identifying Specific Solutions”

I have been writing about Human Performance Improvement (HPI) as a methodology for consulting with businesses.  HPI is a very powerful process, but most business owners have probably never heard of it.  Hopefully, this series provides you with some insights about the types of things that you should expect from consultants that you are considering working with.

In Part Two of this series, “What is Human Performance Improvement?: Finding the Problem”, I discussed that the HPI process involves identifying and proving the causes of a predefined problem.  For many business owners, this is finding the answer to such questions as “Why aren’t we growing?”  or “How do I get my employees to perform better?”  The analysis phase of an HPI project can provide the answers to these questions, and provide concrete evidence to support the answers.

Frequently, there are 8-10 different causes that all combine to cause the performance problem.  Fixing any one of them may result in a moderate improvement, but it isn’t likely to make a significant difference.  Part of the HPI process, therefore, is to identify specific solutions that can be linked to each individual cause of the problem.  For example, let’s say that we’re trying to figure out what is holding back the growth of your business.  It is useful to know that one of the causes might be that your customers do not like your ordering process and they avoid doing business with you because of it, but there might also be another 8-10 (or more!) reasons why your business isn’t growing. Each and every one of those issues must be corrected before you will see the type of growth you are hoping for (e.g. – we don’t know if your ordering process is 10% of the problem, or 90%.  Each cause contributes something!).  Furthermore, correcting each of these causes may be a multi-step process.  So, fixing the causes of your businesses performance problems must be carefully staged.  The solutions must be implemented in the correct order, because some issues must be fixed before others can be addressed.

Consultants must carefully design, develop, and implement each of the solutions.  The solutions (known as “interventions”) should be implemented in order of the greatest impact/least cost order.  Consultants must also decide which interventions should not be implemented because the cost of doing so outweighs the benefits.

We prefer the Human Performance Improvement approach to consulting with business owners because it is methodical, based on facts and evidence, and provides a definitive method for implementing solutions in a way that gives us a high level of confidence that the performance problem will be addressed, and your business will improve!

Other Articles of Interest
What is Human Performance Improvement? Part One: “An Overview”
What is Human Performance Improvement? Part Two: “Finding the Problem”
What is Human Performance Improvement? Part Three: “Identifying Specific Solutions”
What is Human Performance Improvement? Part Four: “Designing and Developing the Right Solutions”
What is Human Performance Improvement? Part Five: “Measuring and Revising”
What is Human Performance Improvement? Part Six: “Does it Matter?” 

To Learn More about Human Performance Improvement (HPI):
International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI)
Michigan Chapter of ISPI

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