You can identify barriers to performance by asking salient questions related to each of the six cells in the model. I like to teach this model to organizational leaders and the questions to ask are a favorite job aid that is used to assess the team and its individual contributors. Of course, you want to go through the cells in the following order so that you tackle the least expensive-highest impact issues first.
Information - the data needed to succeed (the external inputs required for success come in the form of data that I use to do my job and data that tells me how well I am doing my job)
- Do I know what is expected of my team? Have I clearly communicated that to my team members? (Does the company have a clear vision, mission, strategy, and plan? How does it cascade down to my team? Are we working on the right things the right way at the right time?)
- What metrics should I be capturing on each employee in order to drive the desired results? (For example, measuring number of new sales drives a killer instinct to capture new deals, but does not foster relationship-building treatment of existing customers so those go away.)
- Am I capturing accurate data about employee performance? (The performance management inputs must be both valid and reliable or they will not be trusted.)
- Do I give my employees regular and timely feedback about how they are performing? Do I review both what they have accomplished and how they reached those results?
- Am I effective in delivering feedback? Do my team members make the required changes? Do they really know what is expected and what our priorities are?
- Do my employees have real-time access to feedback on their performance? (Can they see the data themselves and make adjustments as necessary?)
- What are the inputs/data that my employees need in order to do their job properly? (For example, if we create layouts for magazine ads, where do we get the copy that we use?)
- Are those inputs accurate, relevant, and timely? If not, how can we make them so?
- How can I help my employees streamline access to the information that they need in order to make decisions? (This is not related to empowerment, that is assumed at this point.)
Resources - the tools, financing, processes and procedures, systems, training, raw materials, technology (hardware and software), workspace (physical environment is safe, clean, organized), time, and other resources needed to succeed (ask the following questions about each one of the items in this list)
- Do my people have access to the resource?
- Are the resources available in a timely fashion?
- Is the resource relevant and accurate? Does it meet our quality standards/requirements?
- Do the resources work as expected/needed? (This relates to downtime that is both unexpected and scheduled.)
- Are we both efficient (not too much and not too little) and effective in how we leverage these resources?
- Does my team know how to fully leverage the resource? What bad habits should we eliminate? What best practices are not universally adopted? What changes would result in us being even more effective when leveraging team resources?
- What external resources have been involved in or caused incidents and near-misses?
Incentives - external motivators/consequences that encourage employees to want to succeed (both rewards and punishment)
- Are the financial incentives consistently and fairly distributed based on clearly-defined and commonly understood triggers?
- How does compensation for this job compare with similar jobs inside and outside of the company in this town?
- Have I put enough pay at risk to drive the right behaviors and results?
- Does the pay attract the best talent to this role? Have I justified/documented the benefits of paying a little more for a significantly better performer (i.e. have I created an effective business case for the pay grade)?
- Are negative consequences effectively aversive? Does the progressive discipline process quickly result in improved performance or amicable exits?
- What "hidden" (i.e. not obvious) incentives drive certain behaviors and actions at work?
- What behaviors and actions am I unconsciously or accidentally encouraging and how?
- Are top performers praised by all or ridiculed by some?
- Do I model the performance that I expect of my team members?
- Is this a great place to work?
Motives - slippery set of life experiences and mental models that shape one's attitude as manifested by beliefs, which are exhibited as behaviors
- Why did my employee just do that?
- What does my employee really care about and how does that tie to this job? Is the work aligned with their personal goals?
- Is this work meaningful? Is it clear how the job activities impact the customer, coworkers, the team, the company, and/or the shareholders? Is there a clear line that ties this job to the company vision, mission, strategic plan, etc.?
- What do my employees really like and really dislike about this job? What can I do to create more satisfaction?
- How well did my team score on the "engaged employee" assessment?
- What is the energy level of my team today?
Capacity - a mix of aptitude and competence/ability that ensure that employees could do the job - if so inclined (Gilbert limited this to things for which the employee does not have a choice about, which would have put attitude in the final bucket, but I believe that some people do not have the capacity to control their emotions.)
- What are the physical requirements of this job (e.g. lift 40 pounds or shorter than 6 feet 3 inches)? Do my people meet those requirements? Can I adjust the work environment to accommodate for any gaps (e.g. wheelchair ramps)?
- What are the intellectual requirements of this job (e.g. IQ below 120 for street beat cops)? Have I measured for that requirement?
- What are the emotional requirements to succeed in this job? How do I measure that? What interpersonal skills are required? What intrapersonal skills?
- What previous experience is required to succeed in this job? What evidence/justification do I have of this need? (see these blog entries on the traps you may fall into here)
- What innate predispositions directly correlate to success and/or failure on the job (i.e. aptitude)?
- What personal barriers are preventing my team members from maximizing their results/output?
- What employee attributes have led to the most incidents and near-misses? How am I managing those?
Knowledge/Skill - what you must know and be able to do to succeed in your job
- Have I taught my employees the exact steps to take using a clear and accurate process map or outline?
- Have I defined exactly what my employees must know and be able to do to execute their jobs efficiently and effectively? How do I assess my existing and potential future team members against these knowledge and skill requirements?
- Is there a safe (i.e. no real impact on the company's performance and no fear of learning from failure) environment in which my employees can practice before actually doing the work?
- Do my employees have on-demand/instant access to answers and examples of best practices? Do they have access to experts, including me, when they need direction/instructions?
- How long does it take a new hire to reach full production? What can be done to accelerate the learning curve?
- Am I wasting time focusing on improving commodity skills (i.e. things that the employee should have known before getting this job that 'everyone' knows)? How should I change the selection process to account for those?
- Based on how this employee is performing, should I be using supportive or directive leadership behaviors?
- Who is an expert with few bad habits that can mentor this employee on that specific need/gap?
- What assignments (e.g. projects) will help this employee quickly improve his/her knowledge or skills?
- What will my direct reports really learn from the training classes that they can attend? Do I support the use of the new knowledge and skills they learned?