Following the formation of an influence hypothesis, the performance consultant’s task is to validate the many influences with the client/stakeholder, prioritize the influences, and match the influences with appropriate solutions that will solve the challenges. The performance consultant also needs to link the suggested solutions to performance improvement that will achieve the business goals. There may be some resistance from the business unit manager to implement performance-linked solutions; they may request a simple solution like training or increased compensation.
Which solutions might affect the performance challenge? Likely, you will find these solutions in similar categories to those of your influence hypothesis. For instance, if you identified a learning and development influence, you are likely to choose a solution that is a knowledge and skill solution like training, coaching, structured-on-the-job-training, job aids, and electronic performance support systems (EPSS). If you found workplace/structural influences, you may consider process redesign or workload redistribution. If you found talent-acquisition influences, the solutions you recommend might include a redesign of the recruitment, talent development, or succession planning processes.
So, how do you decide? Once the performance consultant has prioritized the influences, then the potential solutions need to be brainstormed and reviewed for their potential impact. Many performance consultants use a variety of decision tools, such as the Impact-Effort Matrix. Map the potential solutions against two factors: the potential impact and the effort required to implement. The matrix includes four choices: high and low impact, and high and low effort. Draw it as a two-by-two matrix. The potential combinations are:
- High Impact, Low Effort: The best solutions go here!
- High Impact, High Effort: Further study is likely required, including budget, risks, and so on.
- Low Impact, High Effort: Probably best to avoid these solutions.
- Low Impact, Low Effort: Further study is likely required not to waste time with a low-impact solution, even if it is low effort.
Which of the solutions, in which combination, and in which order should be implemented? These are decisions to be made by the business unit manager with the performance consultant’s recommendations. The performance consultant needs to present the data, the prioritized influences, and the potential solutions to the business unit manager. Further study may be needed, including project planning, budget, vendor choices, implementation risks, change management, and change resistance.
Performance consultants must also take into account who will be implementing the solutions. Is there a team designated to implement? What is the timeline? What evaluation measures will you use to assess the success of the solution implementation? What might derail the success of the solution implementation?
In part 5 of this blog series, we will look at implementing performance-linked solutions.