This is the second part of a five part blog post series that explores analysing performance problems through identifying fast fixes.
The reason I decided to write this series of blog posts is that people ask me to how to implement social learning solutions into their business without understanding the nature of the performance gap or the business issue they are trying to solve. Often, the solution or outcome is the focus of their need:
- “We need a social learning program.”
- “How do we get our people to work out loud? We need a short webinar to tell them how to.”
- “We’ve implemented a social learning systems platform and would like you to create some programs for people to use it”
My response to this question is always the same:
- “What is the business issue or performance gap you are trying to solve?”
- “What research or evidence have you that this solution will close the performance gap?”
The first problem is to describe the problem and I wrote how you can do this in the post How to Analyse Performance Problems.
My aim here is to help people through the analysis of the performance problem so that solutions implemented are the right ones for your business need, time, resources and budget.
What are Fast Fixes?
Once you’ve described your problem and you have enough information to warrant that it is a problem that needs to be rectified, you can explore some fast fixes. Fast fixes quickly remedy the situation, lessen or reduce the impact or solve the discrepancy in the performance gap.
In my experience of fast fixes, it’s not about delivering more training such as webinars, workshops or events (‘tick and flick’ exercises) that push out the key messages to your people and only make them resent you because you’ve wasted their time and failed to provide any meaningful context to their work.
Fast fixes take into account the actual performance problem, the environment and manner in which the work is performed, the conditions, standards and resources that people are expected to perform.
These are not fast fixes:
“If we give them this 2 hour webinar before they start the leadership program, they’ll know how to use the social networking platform.”
“No one knows how to use the enterprise social networking platform because no one is using it and that’s why we need a course.”
How Can We Apply Fast Fixes?
For a fast fix to be effective, you’re first step is to review the expectations of your people and their workplace performance. Is it that they simply weren’t aware of what they had to do?
Many times, I have spoken with people in teams who were surprised that they were expected to accomplish a task in a particular way but their managers or team members had not expressed this to them.
“Oh, I thought that’s how we were meant to do it. That’s how I learned to do it from my previous employer.”
“Everybody does it this way, don’t they?”
“If my manager had a problem with how I was doing the task, he certainly didn’t let know. This is news to me.”
So your first step towards a fast fix to a problem is to review their expectations. You might be pleasantly surprised to find out that by simply asking your people their expectations would reveal the solution or fast fix.
“I hate using the learning management system because I can never remember my password. I don’t understand why it’s not linked to our corporate intranet. There’s multiple logons so I avoid it because it’s such a time waster.”
“I’m not using our enterprise social network because when I first got into it, it generated so many emails to me it clogged my inbox, it overwhelmed me so I quickly deleted the account. Now you’re telling me it’s because I hadn’t set up my email notifications properly? If someone had told me how to do this, I would have used it.”
“Every time I post on our social networking platform, my manager looks over my shoulder and makes some comment about me wasting time. He says it as a joke but I’m not so sure so I avoid the hassle.”
These fast fixes could be a mix of the following:
- Review their expectations to ascertain their interpretation, assumption or expectations of the performance
- Remove the obstacles to the performance and then provide all the tools which will enable your team to do their work more effectively. This will involve you to observe how they complete their work tasks in the operating environment, constraints and resources.
- Provide adequate feedback for the expected performance so that the expectations are the same
And no, fast fixes are not usually about pushing more training.