What is Human Performance Improvement (II): Finding the Problem

In my introductory article about Human Performance Improvement (HPI), I began describing what it (HPI) is, so business owners that might consider using our services could understand the methodology that we use.

As a recap, HPI is a methodical, five step process for diagnosing and fixing business problems:

  • An analysis of the problem whereby data and evidence is gathered via different methods to prove what is causing the problem (the cause is quite often different than the owner/manager’s think it is).
  • Once the root cause of the problem is determined, specific solutions (i.e. “interventions”) are identified to address each of the causes.
  • Once the appropriate interventions are chosen, consultants spend time designing, developing, and implementing the interventions (3 separate steps).
  • After the interventions are implemented, consultants evaluate their impact.
  • Revisions are made to continually improve the results until the desired impact is achieved.

I’d like to expound on the analysis step of the HPI process, as this is one of the biggest differentiators between Lucid and those that offer opinions about what should be done to address a performance issue.  An analysis begins by defining a very specific performance problem that needs to be solved.  By being very clear about what we’re trying to address, we make sure that we only collect data related to that issue.

The analysis begins by gathering Information to create a hypothesis about what the causes of the problem are.  This information can be financial records, surveying and/or interviewing employees, analyzing customer behavior (perspective, current, and former), information from point-of-sale systems, employee records, etc. – any source that is appropriate to shed light on the topic.  Based on the initial data is gathered, we are able form theories about what is causing the performance problem.  A second round of analysis is then completed to prove or disprove our theories.

The second round of analysis is much more focused than the first.  Its sole purpose is to find evidence to either support or disprove our theories.  This portion of the analysis may include additional staff/management interviews, re-analyzing business & financial records, and new sources of information as needed.  When this step is completed, we are able to pinpoint exactly what is causing the performance issue, and are able to provide factual evidence to support our claims.

The analysis process is both time consuming and tedious, but the results are tremendous.  Most small business owners do not have a bucket of money to throw at an issue – they have to know that whatever a consultant proposes to them will actually improve performance.

We believe in this process because we are constantly amazed at both the number of things that are causing the problem (typically 8-10 separate issues!), and how often we identify causes that nobody would have considered if they looked at the problem from a pure observation or “I think the cause is this….” perspective.

In short, by using a HPI methodology, beginning with an analysis, we have a much greater success rate than other options we see in the marketplace.

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