James von Moltke
Global Investment Bank
DNAm© - a detailed view
Every organization or field has individuals who are masters at what they do. Often, however, because they are so good, masters cannot easily articulate their special knowledge. Nor can they clearly communicate how they achieve the results they do. They are operating at a level known as "unconscious competence."
The brilliance of master performers is made up of internal mental and emotional "strategies." One can think of these as being like internal computer programs.
Using special techniques, it is possible to identify, measure and analyze the processes used by master performers and then make them available to average performers as a Model of Excellence. The model describes necessary breakthroughs and an ideal future state for the average performer.
"Average" performers can install the model ('program", then start generating significant improvements in efficiency and performance, bringing them much closer to the masters. Essentially, the model allows for average performers to overcome internal barriers and transition to a new process for generating results.
The modeling process involves the following key steps:
1. Measure and evaluate current performance
The first step in the modeling process involves evaluating the current performance of two or three exemplars AND one or two average performers.
2. Analyze the current process and identify key gaps
The strategies and internal processes used by both exemplars (peak performers) and average performers are identified and analyzed for patterns.
3. Determine breakthrough points-the differences that make the difference
The strategies and internal processes of average performers and peak performers are compared and key differences identified. These differences are the breakthrough points - differences that make a difference.
4. Test implement the model with a subset of average performers
Determination of breakthrough points from comparing peak and average performers provides an initial iteration of the model. To ensure the critical elements have been identified, the model needs to be tested. This is done by coaching one or two average performers and observing the results.
5. Measure improvements and breakthroughs, and adjust the model accordingly
Improvements achieved by the average performers, as they begin to apply the model, are measured and these measures are used to refine and adjust the model.
6. Design developmental programs and make the model available
After testing, a program is designed that will make the model accessible to all average performers in the company. This model is made available, generally in the form of a training and development program, supported by one-on-one coaching if required.
CLA's approach to excellence modelling
Modelling is a highly effective process that defines the factors and maps the mindset required for excellence within a given role. CLA can isolate these factors to replicate to others. CLA asks the question: "What specifically are the high-performers doing that the others are not?" CLA will then map the selling process and necessary elements along the process that drive success.
For defining a model of superior performance, CLA recognizes most top performers are unaware of their own strategies for success; they are "unconsciously competent". CLA pulls out and details these elements through in-depth interviews with each of the identified superior performers. Interviews take at least 2-4 hours.
Ideally, CLA also observes the superior performers "in action" which can be at client meetings, doing trades, thinking through problems, negotiations, team meetings, or on the telephone. Some follow-up interviews may be required to complete any details.
Based on CLA's experience, most people in a role are able to perform essential elements of that role (otherwise they would not have the job). However, subtle differences in execution are critical for driving superior performance. The CLA has a 3-step process:
1. Identify key work processes-what they do
CLA initially focuses on the top people in a particular function.
Identifying the key work processes includes mapping the major steps for the function in question that are required for a company's business. Using sales as an example, these process elements could include:
Preparation and research
Clarifying a workable process model greatly assists in filling in the detail for Step 2.
2. Detail specific procedures-how they do it
Within each major process step, CLA identifies specific implementation elements. This step can get be very detailed. Based on experience, CLA typically finds the critical determinants for superior performance are in very specific areas.
For example, within a process of "Client Contact", a superior performer many return a telephone call within 30 minutes. However, an average performer may return a call in 3 hours. Furthermore, while on the call, a superior performer may set an appointment for a future call, while an average performer may not. Thus, getting to specific elements for each process are critical to creating a robust model.
3. Transfer to average performers.
After detailing the model, CLA transfers the model to recipients with the goal of improving their performance. Some will already have many of the key elements, therefore CLA only focuses on those elements that are missing for each individual.
CLA does not "teach" the model to the recipients. CLA uses face-to-face interactions with each recipient to determine the missing elements, and fills in necessary details of the model for each individual. Face-to-face sessions last about two hours and address mental, emotional, and behavioral patterns that need to be enhanced or changed, depending on what is appropriate for each given situation.
Tactics chosen depend on the nature of the present state of the individuals involved and the goals set for the model. Tactics include: coaching, observation and feedback in real work contexts, telephone conversations, feedback to the person via other channels (e.g. through senior management), tasking assignments and other elements when required.
CLA recognizes that fundamental shifts in perspective are frequently required for individuals to improve their performance. This process can be very intense for the recipients. CLA requires full commitment to completion for each recipient.
If there are specific elements of the model that can be transferred in a group setting, CLA will elect to do the transfer in this way.
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