What is Human Performance Leadership… and why every organization should care – Part 2

November 22, 2022

Nigel Girling

Head of Professional Qualifications
A leader stood at the point of a human pyramid

This article follows on from the first one published last week, so you will want to read that one first.

As the previous piece concluded:

“How do your people actually feel? That is shaped by the culture, their line manager, the jobs they do, the sense of team they experience, the pride they feel in the organisation’s vision, impacts and intentions…. So many factors that can’t be solved with a few bananas…

Human Performance is, in its absolute essence, a leadership issue. It isn’t an initiative, an HR objective or a side project that can be dished out to a department, team or individual.

The leadership of Human Performance must be recognized as a strategic imperative by the very highest levels of management, who must establish it as a priority for every other level. It must inform strategic plans and goals. It must be measured and influenced by the shaping of leadership capability, approach and culture.”

So… the big questions are these:

Where do you think your organization would stand if you were to analyse, evaluate and benchmark your HPL?

Would it be an exemplar? Would it score highly? Would results be good in every area of the organization?

In this piece I will explore those final questions and look at how we believe an organization or team might practically evaluate their current position and identify development opportunities.

Powerful root causes of performance and achievement

I’ll start by saying that I’ve been thinking about this a lot and for quite a while. In the last decade or so my studies and work has often been in the field of cognitive neuroscience. In essence, that means the realm of thinking & brain function –and particularly the way each affects the other and thus shapes behaviour, impact and wellbeing.

I’ve spent a lot of time defining the links between these various factors of behaviour, performance, capability and wellbeing. There are many and they are often powerful root causes of performance and achievement.

They are also hard to spot and difficult to nail down or influence.

As a result, we’ve designed a diagnostic assessment that evaluates human performance leadership at an organization and team level – and curated a suite of ‘deeper dive’ assessment processes to assess the influence and capabilities of individual leaders as shapers of human performance.

The diagnostic assessment – called Team Science – is quite simple to administrate, takes only 15 minutes or so to complete, yet produces some really deep insights and ‘aha moments’ for an organization.

It requires a representative sample – usually a ‘diagonal slice’ of the organizational chart – that may be possible with as few as 50 people . It identifies important differences in perspective between levels and areas, highlights ‘weak signals’ of impending future challenges, identifies hot and cold spots across the organization in the way people feel about the organization and its culture – and perhaps above all, gives insights into how well the organization has aligned every team and individual with the overall vision and goals.

This last point, not surprisingly, has been shown to be deeply significant to organizational performance and can show the critical opportunities for leaders to shape and enhance future human performance.

Assessing the team or the organization

So how does it work, you may ask? I’m going to tell you anyway, even if you didn’t.

Team Science prompts, collects and analyses responses to 32 statements across four sections: Alignment, Culture & Inclusion, Wellbeing & Mental Health and finally Capability.

Each of those statements enables every individual completing the assessment to indicate their views of the position along a continuum, in response to statements such as “Specific actions are taken to shape and develop our culture in line with our vision and goals” and “We avoid communications and requests for action outside of normal working hours” and “Everyone has access to opportunities and support to develop their performance”.

Typically, the results show some insightful differences between levels, areas and even within larger or distributed teams. The four sections of the Team Science assessment – Alignment with vision & goals, enable an overall rating for HPL and a breakdown across all sections – like this:

 

The report shows the distance from the central point and therefore the optimum overall and by section. Each section and even each of the 32 responses gets a rating too on a red/amber/green basis – and shows the range of perspectives across the sample responders. The organization report is a valuable piece of work in itself. From that overall sample, we can also begin to identify the areas requiring a deeper dive and identify some of the root causes of the ratings.

Triage for your business

The assessment is designed primarily to act as a ‘Triage’ diagnostic – identifying the areas of challenge, organizing priorities for action and indicating chains of causality from top to bottom. As with any triage, it often needs to be followed up by expert assessment and judgement and further tests in order to identify the type of action or ‘treatment’ most likely to make a difference.

So there we have it: Team Science.

We think it is an excellent place for any organization to start to analyse, evaluate and plan to improve its leadership of human performance.


Contact our Head of Professional Development Nigel Girling, at nigel.girling@inspirationaldg.com to explore how this could help you take your organization to the next level.

We further explore the themes and topics raised in this article in an episode of the IDG podcast Leadership Learned. You can listen to the episode below, or download from your preferred podcast provider.

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