What specifically is the discipline of performance consulting (also known as HPI—human performance improvement, or HPT-human performance technology)?
Just getting better results isn’t what we mean when we talk about the field of performance consulting. Performance consulting is a specific discipline and approach to work issues. Performance consulting is distinguished from other approaches to work problems by the following:
We need to know what the critical goals are for the organization. Performance consulting work isn’t grounded in a client’s request but driven by organizational strategic priorities.
We focus on accomplishments in order to define the performance gap. It’s not enough to argue that employees aren’t behaving the way they should, it’s critical to identify the gaps by measurable accomplishments as a way of objectively assessing performance and also determining how much of a problem exists.
We identify what the critical influences are within all performance gaps. Without a good data of what influences the performance, any response is likely to fail.
Engaging only one part of the system (such as throwing training at a problem or sending an executive to coaching) is almost always doomed to fail because solitary actions rarely engage the other parts of the system that allow the problem to persist.
Range of Solutions
Unlike most consultants who define their work by the range of options they have available, performance consultants are defined by the process they use, not the solutions they recommend. Consequently, solutions aren’t limited to just training or coaching or team-building but recognize that in order to close the performance gap it may be necessary to use a range of options, some of which aren’t the typical HR or OD response to trouble.
Most organizations jump to conclusions and end up battling the same problem for years while performance consulting generates data and promotes objective analysis.
It’s not enough to ask if people liked the training or the team building. It’s important to tie project results back to organizational goals and business priorities.
We also invite you to learn about the Evolution of Performance Consulting.