Tue | May 26, 2020

Trevor E. S. Smith | How Structure Drives Performance

Published:Sunday | February 3, 2019 | 12:00 AM

Sometimes we are just not in the mood. We get attracted to every distraction. We can’t muster the energy and our level of engagement is low.

So, what can be done in the interim?There are still goals to be achieved and tasks to be completed. Here are some considerations.


Having a structured schedule tends to override our moods. We may grudgingly do somethings because they are on our schedule. Those tasks might not otherwise be done. Structure in our lives perform a similar role to the structure of a building.Structureenables us to fulfil our purpose.

Students with structured study time tables achieve better grades. Athletes with structured training regimesexcel. People who want to lose weight do best when they stick to a structured program.Structure works!


Recognizing the potential impact of structure on performance, some organisations have developed a culture of using work plans to drive productivity.

Work plans provide across the board clarity as to the objectives to be achieved and the targets to be met during specified periods. If followed conscientiously, individuals and the organization achieve their objectives.


The most successful use of Work Plans links them to the overall vision, mission and strategic plan of the organisation.

This is to avoid activities that are not aligned to desired goals.We know that a busy day at work need not move us closer to a achieving our objectives. Our actions need to be goal-directed.


One challenge with the use of Work Plans relates to the clumsiness of the documentation process and difficulty in tracking completion of the plans.

Print-outs of Excel sheets are in evidence. Others use proprietary solutions that are time consuming and are not integrated with other information that impacts performance.

This was a major inspiration for the development of our SPIKE integrated performance management solution.

Work Plans are inserted, updated and monitored in a user-friendly electronic environment, with notifications to keep you on track. Clarity as to where you are and what to do next are a few clicks away.


Another challenge to performance is that energy and resources are wasted completing activities in ways that do not further the desired objectives.

COMPETENCY FRAMEWORKS are the best mechanisms for laying out clearly how the vision and mission are best achieved.

A Competency Framework translates the vision into the skills, knowledge, aptitude and attitudes that are required at different levels and in specified roles.

They add the critical HOW to the WHAT that needs to be done and so enhance performance.

If driving a car is the goal, then the Competency Framework would include things like being able to see. The ability to have your limbs respond to what you see. Being able to read - road signs; road code. Respecting the rights of others.

Race car driving would add the skill of accelerating around corners.

A movie stunt driver should be able to navigate a ramp so that the car moves forward on two wheels.

If the value of Competency Frameworks was fully appreciated they would be used by every enterprise - from the small business to the multi-agency organization.


Employees like using Competency Frameworks because they provide a word map of the entire organization.

They can see how they fit into the overall picture. Also, it lets them know what is required to move up the corporate ladder…career planning.

Similarly, Competency Frameworks provide Learning and Development professionals with a platform for conducting Training Needs Assessments. They can focus on the skills and attitudes that need to be developed or reinforced.

The ultimate answer is to enhancing performance in the face of low employee engagement is to have the pieces - vision, objectives, strategy, competences, work plans, performance tracking and training - fit together seamlessly in one integrated solution.


Contact me to learn more about ourSPIKE - Strategic Performance Improvement & Knowledge Enabler - and to set up a no-cost demonstration.

Incorporate more structure in your daily operations and marvel at the transformation in your life.

Trevor E S Smith/Success with People Academy solutions align, drive and track performance our Governance and Compliance e-platform supports Compliance, tracks Performance and guides Learning and Development. We certify Leadership Professionals and Coach/Mentors and develop Engaged, High Performing Teams. Avoid bad hires with FinxSscreening solutions. Ask about howto create your own turn-key coaching business.

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