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Learning and Assessment Material



Manage personal work priorities.

March 2008

Version 1

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Planning in its Larger Context - Working Backwards Through Any "System"
Quick Look at Some Basic Terms

Basic Overview of Typical Phases in Planning

Guidelines to Ensure Successful Planning and Implementation

Goals and Objectives Should Be SMARTER

Build in Accountability (Regularly Review Who's Doing What and By When?)

Note Deviations from the Plan and Replan Accordingly

Evaluate the Planning Process and the Plan

Recurring Planning Process is at Least as Important as Plan Document

Nature of the Process Should Be Compatible to Nature of Planners
Critical - But Frequently Missing Step - Acknowledgement and
Celebration of Results
Planning is only as good as the information on which it is based.

Role of New Manager or Supervisor is Often Very Stressful

Guidelines to Manage Yourself

On "Performance" in Organisations
Performance Management Applies to More than Employees
Overall Goal and Focuses of Performance Management

Performance Improvement of the Organisation or a Subsystem is an

Integrated Process
Ongoing Activities of Performance Management
Basic Steps

The Story
Introduction - What Are Competencies? (And jobs, tasks, roles, etc.)

To Learn, You Must Be Willing to Grow, to Experience

Growth Involves the Entire Learner

Growth Requires Seeking Ongoing Feedback

Trust Your Instincts to Learn

Take Responsibility for Your Own Learning

Summary of the Learning Contract

Assessment Task

ASSESSMENT MODE A Oral questioning

ASSESSMENT MODE B - Skills observation checklist
Participant survey of materials
Suggested Answers


Hinson Institute of Training



Element of competency:
1. Establish personal work goals
2. Set and meet own work priorities
3. Develop and maintain professional competence

Planning in its Larger Context - Working Backwards

Through Any "System"
Before we jump into the typical phases in the standard "generic" planning
process, let's stand back a minute and briefly look at the role of planning in its
overall context. This is more than an academic exercise - understanding this
overall context for planning can greatly help the reader to design and carry out
the planning process in almost any planning application.
One of the most common sets of activities in the management is planning.
Very simply put, planning is setting the direction for something - some system
- and then working to ensure the system follows that direction. Systems have
inputs, processes, outputs and outcomes. To explain, inputs to the system
include resources such as raw materials, money, technologies and people.
These inputs go through a process where they're aligned, moved along and
carefully coordinated, ultimately to achieve the goals set for the system.
Outputs are tangible results produced by processes in the system, such as
products or services for consumers. Another kind of result is outcomes, or
benefits for consumers, e.g., jobs for workers, enhanced quality of life for
customers, etc. Systems can be the entire organisation, or its departments,
groups, processes, etc.
Whether the system is an organisation, department, business, project, etc.,
the process of planning includes planners working backwards through the
system. They start from the results (outcomes and outputs) and work
backwards through the system to identify the processes needed to produce
the results. Then they identify what inputs (or resources) are needed to carry
out the processes.

Quick Look at Some Basic Terms

Planning typically includes use of the following basic terms.
NOTE: It's not critical to grasp completely accurate definitions of each of the
following terms. It's more important for planners to have a basic sense of the
difference between goals/objectives (results) and strategies/tasks (methods to
achieve the results).

Goals are specific accomplishments that must be accomplished in total, or in
some combination, in order to achieve some larger, overall result preferred
from the system, for example, the mission of an organisation. (Going back to
our reference to systems, goals are outputs from the system.)

Strategies or Activities
These are the methods or processes required in total, or in some
combination, to achieve the goals.


Objectives are specific accomplishments that must be accomplished in total,

or in some combination, to achieve the goals in the plan. Objectives are
usually "milestones" along the way when implementing the strategies.

Particularly in small organisations, people are assigned various tasks required
to implement the plan. If the scope of the plan is very small, tasks and
activities are often essentially the same.

Resources (and Budgets)

Resources include the people, materials, technologies, money, etc., required
to implement the strategies or processes. The costs of these resources are
often depicted in the form of a budget.

Basic Overview of Typical Phases in Planning

Whether the system is an organisation, department, business, project, etc.,
the basic planning process typically includes similar nature of activities carried
out in similar sequence. The phases are carried out carefully or - in some
cases - intuitively, for example, when planning a very small, straightforward
effort. The complexity of the various phases (and their duplication throughout
the system) depends on the scope of the system. For example, in a large
corporation, the following phases would be carried out in the corporate offices,
in each division, in each department, in each group, etc.
NOTE: Different groups of planners might have different names for the
following activities and groups them differently. However, the nature of the
activities and their general sequence remains the same.
NOTE: The following are typical phases in planning. They do not comprise the
complete, ideal planning process.

1. Reference Overall Singular Purpose ("Mission") or

Desired Result from System
During planning, planners have in mind (consciously or unconsciously) some
overall purpose or result that the plan is to achieve. For example, during
strategic planning, it's critical to reference the mission, or overall purpose, of
the organisation.

2. Take Stock Outside and Inside the System

This "taking stock" is always done to some extent, whether consciously or
unconsciously. For example, during strategic planning, it's important to

conduct an environmental scan. This scan usually involves considering

various driving forces, or major influences, that might effect the organisation.

3. Analyse the Situation

For example, during strategic planning, planners often conduct a "SWOT
analysis". (SWOT is an acronym for considering the organization's strengths
and weaknesses, and the opportunities and threats faced by the
organization.) During this analysis, planners also can use a variety of
assessments, or methods to "measure" the health of systems.

4. Establish Goals
Based on the analysis and alignment to the overall mission of the system,
planners establish a set of goals that build on strengths to take advantage of
opportunities, while building up weaknesses and warding off threats.

5. Establish Strategies to Reach Goals

The particular strategies (or methods to reach the goals) chosen depend on
matters of affordability, practicality and efficiency.

6. Establish Objectives Along the Way to Achieving Goals

Objectives are selected to be timely and indicative of progress toward goals.

7. Associate Responsibilities and Time Lines With Each

Responsibilities are assigned, including for implementation of the plan, and for
achieving various goals and objectives. Ideally, deadlines are set for meeting
each responsibility.

8. Write and Communicate a Plan Document

The above information is organized and written in a document that is
distributed around the system.

9. Acknowledge Completions and Celebrate Success

This critical step is often ignored - which can eventually undermine the
success of many of your future planning efforts. The purpose of a plan is to
address a current problem or pursue a development goal. It seems simplistic
to assert that you should acknowledge if the problem was solved or the goal
met. However, this step in the planning process is often ignored in lieu of
moving onto the next problem to solve or goal to pursue. Skipping this step
can cultivate apathy and scepticism - even cynicism - in your organisation.
Don't skip this step.

Guidelines to Ensure Successful Planning and

A common failure in many kinds of planning is that the plan is never really
implemented. Instead, all focus is on writing a plan document. Too often, the
plan sits collecting dust on a shelf. Therefore, most of the following guidelines
help to ensure that the planning process is carried out completely and is
implemented completely - or, deviations from the intended plan are
recognised and managed accordingly.

Involve the Right People in the Planning Process

Going back to the reference to systems, it's critical that all parts of the system
continue to exchange feedback in order to function effectively. This is true no
matter what type of system. When planning, get input from everyone who will
be responsible for carrying out parts of the plan, along with representative
from groups who will be affected by the plan. Of course, people should also
be involved if they will be responsible for reviewing and authorising the plan.

Write Down the Planning Information and communicate it

New managers, in particular, often forget that others don't know what these
managers know. Even if managers do communicate their intentions and plans
verbally, chances are great that others won't completely hear or understand
what the manager wants done. Also, as plans change, it's extremely difficult to
remember who is supposed to be doing what and according to which version
of the plan. Key stakeholders (employees, management, board members,
funders, investors, customers, clients, etc.) may request copies of various
types of plans. Therefore, it's critical to write down plans and communicate
them widely.

Goals and Objectives Should Be SMARTER

SMARTER is an acronym, that is, a word composed by joining letters from
different words in a phrase or set of words. In this case, a SMARTER goal or
objective is:

For example, it's difficult to know what someone should be doing if they are to
pursue the goal to "work harder". It's easier to recognise "Write a paper".

It's difficult to know what the scope of "Writing a paper" really is. It's easier to
appreciate that effort if the goal is "Write a 30-page paper".

If I'm to take responsibility for pursuit of a goal, the goal should be acceptable
to me. For example, I'm not likely to follow the directions of someone telling
me to write a 30-page paper when I also have to five other papers to write.
However, if you involve me in setting the goal so I can change my other
commitments or modify the goal, I'm much more likely to accept pursuit of the
goal as well.

Even if I do accept responsibility to pursue a goal that is specific and
measurable, the goal won't be useful to others or me if, for example, the goal
is to "Write a 30-page paper in the next 10 seconds".

Time frame:
It may mean more to others if I commit to a realistic goal to "Write a 30-page
paper in one week". However, it'll mean more to others (particularly if they are
planning to help me or guide me to reach the goal) if I specify that I will write
one page a day for 30 days, rather than including the possibility that I will write
all 30 pages in last day of the 30-day period.

The goal should stretch the performer's capabilities. For example, I might be
more interested in writing a 30-page paper if the topic of the paper or the way
that I write it will extend my capabilities.

I'm more inclined to write the paper if the paper will contribute to an effort in
such a way that I might be rewarded for my effort.

Build in Accountability (Regularly Review Who's

Doing What and By When?)
Plans should specify who is responsible for achieving each result, including
goals and objectives. Dates should be set for completion of each result, as
well. Responsible parties should regularly review status of the plan. Be sure to
have someone of authority "sign off" on the plan, including putting their
signature on the plan to indicate they agree with and support its contents.
Include responsibilities in policies, procedures, job descriptions, performance
review processes, etc.

Note Deviations from the Plan and Replan Accordingly

It's OK to deviate from the plan. The plan is not a set of rules. It's an overall
guideline. As important as following the plan, is noticing deviations and
adjusting the plan accordingly.

Evaluate the Planning Process and the Plan

During the planning process, regularly collect feedback from participants. Do
they agree with the planning process? If not, what don't they like and how
could it be done better? In large, ongoing planning processes (such as
strategic planning, business planning, project planning, etc.), it's critical to
collect this kind of feedback regularly.
During regular reviews of implementation of the plan, assess if goals are
being achieved or not. If not, were goals realistic? Do responsible parties
have the resources necessary to achieve the goals and objectives? Should
goals be changed? Should more priority be placed on achieving the goals?
What needs to be done?
Finally, take 10 minutes to write down how the planning process could have
been done better. File it away and read it the next time you conduct the
planning process.

Recurring Planning Process is at Least as Important

as Plan Document
Far too often, primary emphasis is placed on the plan document. This is
extremely unfortunate because the real treasure of planning is the planning
process itself. During planning, planners learn a great deal from ongoing
analysis, reflection, discussion, debates and dialogue around issues and
goals in the system. Perhaps there is no better example of misplaced
priorities in planning than in business ethics. Far too often, people put
emphasis on written codes of ethics and codes of conduct. While these
documents certainly are important, at least as important as conducting
ongoing communications around these documents. The ongoing
communications are what sensitise people to understanding and following the
values and behaviours suggested in the codes.

Nature of the Process Should Be Compatible to Nature

of Planners
A prominent example of this type of potential problem is when planners don't
prefer the "top down" or "bottom up", "linear" type of planning (for example,
going from general to specific along the process of an environmental scan,
SWOT analysis, mission/vision/values, issues and goals, strategies,
objectives, timelines, etc.) There are other ways to conduct planning. For an
overview of various methods, see (in the following, the models are applied to

the strategic planning process, but generally are eligible for use elsewhere):

Critical - But Frequently Missing Step Acknowledgement and Celebration of Results

It's easy for planners to become tired and even cynical about the planning
process. One of the reasons for this problem is very likely that far too often,
emphasis is placed on achieving the results. Once the desired results are
achieved, new ones are quickly established. The process can seem like
having to solve one problem after another, with no real end in sight. Yet when
one really thinks about it, it's a major accomplishment to carefully analyse a
situation, involve others in a plan to do something about it, work together to
carry out the plan and actually see some results. So acknowledge this celebrate your accomplishment!

The Pitfalls of Planning

The main pitfall of planning - the one from which all others derive - is falling
into the delusion that planning can determine outcome. The error of this
proposition is a commonplace. In 17th century Japan, Ihara Saikaku wrote
"There is always something to upset the most careful of human calculations."
Robert Burns, the bard of 18th century Scotland, put it as follows: "The best
laid schemes o' mice and men/Gang aft a-gley." I cannot name the late-20th
century wit that coined the resonant phrase "Shit happens," but whatever
elegance it lacks in comparison with its predecessors it more than makes up
in economy of expression.
If the wisdom of the ages won't suffice to make this point, consider only the
top layer of recent human events, the happenings big enough to make banner
Notwithstanding global intelligence operations, including unlimited access to
computer simulations, who was able to predict the fall of the Berlin Wall? The
Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia? The end of apartheid in South Africa?

Planning cannot guarantee the outcome you want. Instead, it can help you to
achieve something integral to any future success: readiness to face the
challenges that chance presents. Rule number one for coping with challenges
is to know what you're up against. Allow me to offer some of the pitfalls of
planning in the hopes that forewarned, you would be forearmed against them.

Planning is only as good as the information on which

it is based.
Too often, groups rely on untested assumptions or hunches, erecting their
plans on unsteady ground. Everyone "just knows" there'll be no problem
getting a distributor for a video, or that it would be impossible to find funding
for a new facility; or it's "obvious" that a half-time person would suffice to
accomplish a brand-new and sorely needed task. It's the obvious things that
everyone just knows that are most likely to trip you up. We were once called in
to help a client who'd gotten into a lot of trouble by assuming it would be a
snap to solve a problem that had stymied its whole field for years. The client's
optimistic pronouncements were greeted by the field as arrogant examples of
unjustified self-confidence that could only have been based on disrespect for
other's efforts to solve the same problem. The client had to do a lot of
apologising and fence mending that could have been avoided if only they'd
taken the time to find out how others had attempted to address the problem in
the past. Not only that, the basic assumption was wrong: most of the "new"
solutions the client had put forward had already been tested by others and
found wanting. If you're going to plan, it's worth the extra time to test
assumptions and hunches against reality.

Planning isnt magic: You cant always get what you want.
Frequently, organisations contemplating new initiatives - a program, a facility,
staff expansion - begin by writing the last page of their plans, the one where
everyone lives happily ever after. But the process of planning is one of
research and investigation. Results can no more be predetermined than can
the outcome of a scientific experiment. Considering a major expansion of
activity means taking stock of organisational readiness in many ways. Is there
a need for the new activity? An audience or constituency? Do you have
access to the expertise? The material resources? The time required to do it
right? Planning is a tool that can help you decide whether to go forward, not
just how. If the answers to key questions are "no," then the outcome of
planning should be to postpone the contemplated expansion, working toward
readiness to tackle it farther down the road.

Adaptable beats obdurate, anytime.

Some planners see themselves as creating a blueprint; building a future the
way one builds a house. If things don't go according to plan, they blame other
people's failure to "get with the program." But an organisation isn't an artefact
to be set in place with planks and nails. In contrast to a construction project,
organisation building is never complete; like all life forms, an organisation's
choices are to continuously adapt or die. Rather than planning as if the future
were pre-determined, plan for flexibility. Plans that can't be changed shouldn't
be written.

Put planning in its place and time.

Some groups don't recognise that it takes time and effort to plan well. They
want the results, but aren't able or willing to make the investment. They end
up in the worst of both worlds: their ongoing work is set back because they
took time to plan without thinking through the implications; and their too-

rushed plans end up half-baked ideas. Be realistic about what you can invest.
Find a way to plan that suits your available resources - time, energy, and

Too much of a good thing: Planning can become a substitute

for action.
Times have been hard for many non-profit organisations. One of the ironies of
funding cutbacks in recent years is that it has sometimes been easier to
obtain support for planning than for programming. Some funders evidently
believe that merely talking about self-sufficiency - to pick just one example - is
a perfectly good way to achieve it. This can lead to an obsessive internal
focus: fleeing the indifferent outside world - the "big world" - people retreat to
the "little worlds" of their organisations, where they can at least have company
in their misery. "They're always having retreats to figure out who they are,"
someone recently said of a well-funded but aimless organisation. "That's a
bad sign."

What goes around, comes around: Groups can be blind sided

by the issues that planning reveals.
There's a mollifying rhythm to the daily grind, as diligence, deadlines, and
distractions keep tensions and conflicts at bay. When an organisation pauses
to plan, what's been submerged may come up for air. Suppose everyone is
asked to dream of future roles or projects, and two staff members' dreams
come into major conflict? Suppose there's a discussion of workplace culture,
fingers are pointed, defences mustered, rifts revealed? When an organisation
undertakes to plan, everyone should be made aware that issues may arise
that need talking through, that there may be moments of heat, struggle, even
head-on collision. Your planning process should include the time, focus, and
talent for the mediation needed to resolve such conflicts, so you can turn to
face the future as a team.

Boilerplates and cookie cutters are the wrong tools for this
Some planners opt for a "model" approach: all dance companies are
supposed to develop this way, media centres that way; here are the seven

stages of museum development; follow the ten "best practices" of community

arts councils. It's not that other organisations' experiences aren't relevant to
your own. Sometimes they're perfectly germane. But not often. Perfect
congruence is more likely to be a fortuitous accident than an application of
science: even a broken clock is right twice a day. Think about how complex
and various individual human beings are. Even if I were equipped with a
database of the ways that hundreds of individuals roughly your age and
background had behaved in a variety of situations, in competition with your
partner or best friend, I could never hope to win a game whose object was to
guess your next move - let alone advise you on what it should be.
Organizations, multiplying the complexity and diversity of their individual
members, deserve to find their own paths rather than being pulsed through an
organisational assembly line. In planning, insist on your right to march to a
different drummer.

Writing it up in plan speak rather than plain language undoes

the good of planning.
Sometimes organisations have great face-to-face planning experiences: good
discussions, moments of profound insight, the excitement of contemplating
future possibility, and the elation of a meeting of the minds. But feelings don't
last long: they need to be carried forward into action, guided by a written plan.
Some planning documents are so vague, abstract, and general, they're
useless to the people who invested so much in considering their futures.
Typically, an aim is listed - "become self-sufficient in five years" - and beneath
it, phrases suggesting a range of ways to advance that aim: "expand earned
income," "secure individual donations," "develop endowment." As time goes
by and the memory of the face-to-face experience fades, the planning
document's generalities are drained of any meaning that might once have
clung to them. If you are going to take the time to plan, do it right: talk through
alternative scenarios for realising your aims; map out ways to test them; be
concrete about guiding values, deadlines, ways to evaluate your experiments.
Put enough flesh on the bare bones of your plans to keep the document alive
and kicking, or it will be buried in a drawer before the ink has dried.
To speed you on your way, I offer a small selection of sage efforts to describe
the future by people who were no doubt smarter, braver, or more intoxicated
than either you or I. They were also wrong - or the truths they hit on were so
partial as to be entirely inadequate - which brings us back to the point about
planning: not to be right, but to be ready.

"I have seen the future; and it works."

- Muckraking author Lincoln Steffen on the Soviet Union, circa 1919
"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human
face - forever."

-George Orwell, NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR (published in 1949)

"Deer will be grazing in Times Square in forty years."
-Timothy Leary, 1967.

Role of New Manager or Supervisor is Often Very

The experience of a first-time supervisor or manager is often one of the most
trying in their career. They rarely have adequate training for the new
management role - they were promoted because of their technical expertise,
not because of their managerial expertise. They suddenly have a wide range
of policies and other regulations to apply to their subordinates. Work is never
"done". They must represent upper management to their subordinates, and
their subordinates to upper management. They're stuck in the middle. They
can feel very alone.

Guidelines to Manage Yourself

Everyone in management has gone through the transition from individual
contributor to manager. Each person finds his or her own way to "survive".
The following guidelines will help you keep your perspective and your health.

1. Monitor your work hours

The first visible, undeniable sign that things are out of hand is that you're
working too many hours. Note how many hours you are working per week. Set
a limit and stick to that limit. Ask your peers or boss for help.

2. Recognise your own signs of stress

Different people show their stress in different ways. Some people have "blow
ups". Some people get very forgetful. Some people lose concentration. For
many people, they excel at their jobs, but their home life falls apart. Know
your signs of stress. Tell someone else what they are. Ask them to check in
with you every two weeks to see how you are doing. Every two weeks, write
down how you are doing -- if only for a minute. Stick in it a file marked "%*#)

3. Get a mentor or a coach

Ideally, your supervisor is a very good mentor and coach. Many people have
"been there, done that" and can serve as great mentors to you.

4. Learn to delegate
Delegating is giving others the responsibility and authority to carry out tasks.
You maintain the accountability to get them done, but you let others decide

how they will carry out the tasks themselves. Delegation is a skill to learn.
Start learning it.

5. Communicate as much as you can

Have at least one person in your life with whom you are completely honest.
Hold regular meetings with staff - all of them in one meeting at least once a
month, and meet at least once every two weeks with each of your direct
reports. A common problem among new managers and supervisors (or among
experienced, but ineffective ones) is not meeting unless there's something to
say. There is always something to communicate, even if to say that things are
going well and then share the health of your pets. New managers and
supervisors often assume that their employees know as much as they do.
One of the first signs of an organisation in trouble is that communications
break down. Err on the side of too much communication, rather than not

6. Recognise what's important from what's urgent - fix the

system, not the problem
One of the major points that experienced manages make is that they've
learned to respond to what's important, rather than what's urgent. Phone calls,
sick employees, lost paperwork, disagreements between employees all seem
to suddenly crop up and demand immediate attention. It can seem like your
day is responding to one crisis after another. As you gain experience, you quit
responding to the crisis and instead respond to the problem that causes the
crises. You get an answering machine or someone else to answer the phone.
You plan for employees being gone for the day - and you accept that people
get sick. You develop a filing system to keep track of your paperwork. You
learn basic skills in conflict management. Most importantly, you recognise that
management is a process - you never really "finish" your to-do list - your list is
there to help you keep track of details. Over time, you learn to relax.

7. Recognise accomplishments
Our society promotes problem solvers. We solve one problem and quickly
move on to the next. The culture of many organisations rewards problem
solvers. Once a problem is solved, we quickly move on to the next to solve
that one, too. Pretty soon we feel empty. We feel as if we're not making a
difference. Our subordinates do, too. So in all your plans, include time to
acknowledge accomplishments - if only by having a good laugh by the coffee
machine, do take time to note that something useful was done.

On "Performance" in Organisations

Supervisors have conducted performance appraisals for years. Employees

have attended training sessions for years. Organisation members have
worked long, hard hours for centuries. Processes, such as planning,
budgeting, sales and billings have been carried out for years in organizations.
But all too often, these activities are done mostly for the sake of doing them,
not for contributing directly to the preferred results of the organisation.
Performance management reminds us that being busy is not the same as
producing results. It reminds us that training, strong commitment and lots of
hard work alone is not results. The major contribution of performance
management is its focus on achieving results - useful products and services
for customers inside and outside the organisation. Performance management
redirects our efforts away from busyness toward effectiveness.
Recently, organisations have been faced with challenges like never before.
Increasing competition from businesses across the world has meant that all
businesses must be much more careful about the choice of strategies to
remain competitive. Everyone (and everything) in the organisation must be
doing what they're supposed to be doing to ensure strategies are
implemented effectively.
This situation has put more focus on effectiveness, that systems and
processes in the organisation be applied in the right way to the right things: to
achieve results. All of the results across the organisation must continue to be
aligned to achieve the overall results desired by the organisation for it to
survive and thrive. Only then it be said that the organisation and its various
parts are really performing.

Performance Management Applies to More than

Typically, we think of performance in organisations, we think on the
performance of employees. However, performance management should also
be focused on:
1. The organisation
2. Departments (computer support, administration, sales, etc.)
3. Processes (billing, budgeting, product development, financial
management, etc.)
4. Programs (implementing new policies and procedures to ensure a safe
workplace; or, for a nonprofit, ongoing delivery of services to a
5. Products or services to internal or external customers
6. Projects (automating the billing process, moving to a new building, etc.)
7. Teams or groups organised to accomplish a result for internal or
external customers

Overall Goal and Focuses of Performance

The overall goal of performance management is to ensure that the
organisation and all of its subsystems (processes, departments, teams,
employees, etc.) are working together in an optimum fashion to achieve the
results desired by the organisation.

Performance Improvement of the Organisation or a

Subsystem is an Integrated Process
Note that because performance management strives to optimise results and
alignment of all subsystems to achieve the overall results of the organisation,
any focus of performance management within the organization (whether on
department, process, employees, etc.) should ultimately affect overall
organisational performance management as well.

Ongoing Activities of Performance Management

Achieving the overall goal requires several ongoing activities, including
identification and prioritisation of desired results, establishing means to
measure progress toward those results, setting standards for assessing how
well results were achieved, tracking and measuring progress toward results,
exchanging ongoing feedback among those participants working to achieve
results, periodically reviewing progress, reinforcing activities that achieve
results and intervening to improve progress where needed. Note that results
themselves are also measures.
Note that these general activities are somewhat similar to several other major
approaches in organisations, e.g., strategic planning, management by
objectives, Total Quality Management, etc. Performance management brings
focus on overall results, measuring results, focused and ongoing feedback
about results, and development plans to improve results. The results
measurements themselves are not the ultimate priority as much as ongoing
feedback and adjustments to meet results.
The steps in performance management are also similar to those in a welldesigned training process, when the process can be integrated with the
overall goals of the organisation. Trainers are focusing much more on results
for performance. Many trainers with this priority now call themselves
performance consultants.

Basic Steps
Various authors propose various steps for performance management. The
typical performance management process includes some or all of the
following steps, whether in performance management of organisations,
subsystems, processes, etc. Note that how the steps are carried out can vary
widely, depending on the focus of the performance efforts and who is in
charge of carrying it out. For example, an economist might identify financial
results, such as return on investment, profit rate, etc. An industrial
psychologist might identify more human-based results, such as employee
NOTE: The following steps occur in a wide context of many activities geared
towards performance improvement in an organisation, for example, activities
such as management development, planning, organising and coordinating
1. Review organizational goals to associate preferred organisational
results in terms of units of performance, that is, quantity, quality, cost or
timeliness (note that the result itself is therefore a measure)
2. Specify desired results for the domain - as guidance, focus on results
needed by other domains (e.g., products or services need by internal
or external customers)
3. Ensure the domain's desired results directly contribute to the
organisation's results
4. Weight, or prioritise, the domain's desired results
5. Identify first-level measures to evaluate if and how well the domain's
desired results were achieved
6. Identify more specific measures for each first-level measure if
7. Identify standards for evaluating how well the desired results were
achieved (e.g., "below expectations", "meets expectations" and
"exceeds expectations")
8. Document a performance plan - including desired results, measures
and standards
9. Conduct ongoing




10. Exchange ongoing feedback about performance



11.Conduct a performance appraisal (sometimes called performance

11. If performance meets the desired performance standard, then reward
for performance (the nature of the reward depends on the domain)
12. If performance does not meet the desired performance standards, then
develop or update a performance development plan to address the
performance gap* (See Notes 1 and 2)
13. Repeat steps 9 to 13 until performance is acceptable, standards are
changed, the domain is replaced, management decides to do nothing,
* Note 1: Inadequate performance does not always indicate a problem on the
part of the domain. Performance standards may be unrealistic or
the domain may have insufficient resources. Similarly, the overall
strategies or the organization, or its means to achieving its top-level
goals, may be unrealistic or without sufficient resources.
* Note 2: When performance management is applied to an employee or group
of employees, a development plan can be initiated in a variety of
situations, e.g.,:

When a performance appraisal indicates performance improvement is

needed, that is, that there is a "performance gap"

To "benchmark" the status of improvement so far in a development


As part of a professional development for the employee or group of

employees, in which case there is not a performance gap as much as
an "growth gap"

As part of succession planning to help an employee be eligible for a

planned change in role in the organisation, in which case there also is
not a performance gap as much as an "opportunity gap"

To "pilot", or test, the operation of a new performance management


The Story
A Common Misunderstanding: "I'll Know Results When I See 'Em'"
Employee Ed is a new employee at a print shop. He has been hired to run a
machine that prints out high-quality pictures. The pictures go to other
departments, including the Catalogue Department, to use in brochures,
catalogues, advertisements, etc.
Ed's new supervisor, Supervisor Sam, is new on the job, too. He's worked
hard to get where he's at. He was an expert at running the collating machine.
Sam's machine took printed images from machines like Ed's and organised
them into the Catalogue Department's final product, a catalogue.

Sam doesn't like Ed at first. Ed looks just like Sam's brother whom Sam does
not like at all. Still, as a new supervisor, Sam tries to give Ed a chance.
Sam wants to be sure that Ed does a good job. He isn't all that sure what
"good job" means, but he thinks he'll know it when he sees it. So Sam sends
Ed to a course to learn how to run the print machine. The description of the
course said students would learn all about the machine. That should work out

Training for Skills - or a Good Time?

Teacher Tom wants to convince supervisors to send employees to his course.
Tom claims the result from his course is that each student will know how to
run the printing machine. Tom hasn't really thought about how to achieve that
result. He knows a lot about the machine and likes to tell people about it. So
he thinks he'll be a fine teacher.
Tom includes a lot of lectures in the course. He tells students all about the
machine's history, some tough times he had learning about the machine and
how students can get a lot done with the machine if they know what they're
doing. The rest of the time, Tom tells students how to do the various
procedures needed to run the machine. After reviewing the last procedure,
Tom tells his students that the course is over. He tells them that they've been
a good audience; he enjoyed teaching them and hopes they got a lot out of
the course. Tom wants to be sure the course achieves its result, so he has
the students fill out a questionnaire.
Ed now likes Tom a lot and feels very good about the course so he gives the
course a very high rating. Tom seemed to know a lot about the machine. Tom
told a lot of jokes, the room was nice and the materials were very impressive.
With all the stuff Tom told Ed, Ed now feels he could do anything with the
machine. Later that day, Ed tells Supervisor Sam that the course was very
good. Sam is very pleased about his decision and is glad the course
accomplished strong results.

What Are You Doing? What Should You Really Be Doing?

The next day, Sam briefly notices that Ed is much happier at his job. "Great",
Sam thinks. "A satisfied employee is a productive employee! Right?" (Wrong.
Job satisfaction doesn't mean job performance. Some research indicates job
satisfaction can actually decrease productivity.)
Later that afternoon, Sam has more time to watch Ed at his job. Soon Sam is
horrified! It doesn't seem like Ed knows what he's doing at all! Sam thinks to
himself, "I knew Ed wouldn't work out! I just knew it!" Sam glances through
several of the prints from Ed's machine. He finds one that's smeared and torn.
Sam concludes that Ed didn't learn anything at all. He confronts Ed. "What are
you doing? You're slow and all your prints are ruined! You've wasted the
company's money!" Ed feels scared and stupid.

Sam and his company have a typical performance management problem. If

Sam had followed the principles of performance management, he would have
been clearer to himself and to Ed about what Sam wanted as results from
Ed's job. Sam would have been clearer about how he would measure Ed's
results. Sam would have been clearer about his expectations, or performance
standards, for Ed.
Teacher Tom has a similar problem. If he had thought more about
performance results, measures and standards, he would have thought about
what knowledge and skills his students would need to run the machine. He
would have thought about how he'd know if the students could actually run the
machine or not. Also, he would have thought about how well students should
be able to run the machine by the end of the course. It's likely that Tom would
have included time in the course for students to actually practice on the
machine. He would have included some way to test students' skill levels to
ensure they achieve Tom's preferred result. He would have included some
way to later get supervisors' feedback about employees' skills on the job. It's
very likely that Tom's course would have achieved its result: students who can
operate their machines to some specified performance standard.

Reasons for a Performance Management System

Back at work, Sam discusses the situation with his Boss Bob. Sam wants to
fire Ed - and do it now. Bob calmly disagrees. He tells Sam, "We can turn this
thing around. I'll tell you how."
He begins to give Sam a broad overview of a performance management
system. "Basically, a performance management system is a way to ensure we
get results from all our employees. Heck, if Ed's teacher knew about
performance, Ed might have learned something! They don't call it training any
more, you know. They call it Performance Technology or something like that."
Sam interrupts, "Look. I can tell if Ed's doing a good job or not. I've got his job
description. I've used the performance appraisal form. Besides, I don't feel
good about those performance appraisals. They're just something you do
once a year, usually to fire somebody. They're just paperwork. The guys are
scared of them. I dread them. I'm trying to build a team here!"
Bob responds, "You don't understand. A performance system is more than job
descriptions. A job description lists what duties, what responsibilities a certain
job has. It doesn't tell the employee what results are really expected of him,
what he's supposed to produce. It doesn't keep telling you, the supervisor,
how well you expect the employee to be doing at his job. It doesn't make sure
that what you're doing is what your boss - and their boss's boss and their
boss' boss -want you to be doing."

Bob went on to explain. "A performance system makes sure we're fair to our
guys. They're getting paid what they're worth. They know what we want from
them. They know what we think about what they're doing. In the long run, all
of us in the company end up working toward the same thing. We're all pulling
on the same rope. Maybe the biggest advantage is that we're talking to each
other about what we're doing, if we're doing it right and if it's really what the
company needs. Besides, we managers should have to earn our own keep
around here, too. I want you to take part in our performance system, Sam. I'll
help you."

Key Terms: Results, Measures and Standards

Bob explains, "In the performance system, the first thing you do is figure out
what results you want from the employee.
"Results are what you want Ed to produce so customers can do their jobs
well. For example, Ed's internal customer, the Catalogue Department, needs
high-quality prints to do its job. Right?
"Measures are what you use to know if Ed is achieving the results or not. For
example, how many prints is Ed making in an hour? Are Ed's prints smeared,
are they torn?
"Standards are what you consider when thinking about how well Ed is doing at
his good job. For example, the standard for "excellent" should be at least as
many high quality prints an hour as your best people are producing.
"After we've decided the results, measures and standards, we'll work together
to track Ed's progress. We'll make sure that we're all exchanging feedback
around here, including with the Catalogue Department. That's the most
important part.
"Any needs that Ed might have, we'll record on a development plan. That
might include more training. This time, we'll make sure that the teacher knows
about performance management!
Sam heard everything Bob said. He was sceptical, but he decided to try the
performance stuff anyway. Anyway, Bob was the boss.

Performance Problem: Vague Priorities

Over the next month, Sam thought more about what he specifically wanted
from Ed. He talked to Ed, too. They both decided that Ed would shoot for 500
high-quality prints an hour, 8 hours a day, Monday through Friday. High quality
would mean no smears or tears. In fact, the Director of the Catalogue
Department would judge whether Ed produced this result or not.
Sam was a little surprised at Ed's reaction. He thought Ed would be a little
leery. Heck, Ed didn't seem concerned at all. He was actually excited! Sam
actually felt better now, too.

Over the next week, Sam carefully considered the measurements for Ed's
result. He realised that Ed really needed more training. "Thank goodness I
found this out now," Sam thought. Sam realised this whole situation wasn't
Ed's fault. He reminded himself that Ed was new, too. Sam talked to the
Training Department. They suggested that Ed go to a workshop where he
could actually get practice with the machine. Also, they helped Ed find some
free time on another machine during second shift. That way, Ed could get in
some more practice.
Ed attended the workshop. He told Sam it was hard, but he learned a lot more
about actually running the machine. He said the teacher showed him several
things that he could be doing a lot better. Ed was eager to get back to work.
Sam felt very relieved. This performance stuff seemed to be working out -and
it wasn't nearly as hard as he'd imagined.

Weighting Results
Several months later, Sam's boss, Bob, told all employees that he wanted
them to take part in a Quality Circle. Sam told Ed all about it.
Ed complained to Sam that he just wanted to run his machine. That's why he
accepted the job. That's what he wants to do.
Sam is now smart about results, measures and standards. He sends Ed to a
seminar on Quality Circles. Maybe that'll get Ed going in the Circles. Ed took
the seminar and, sure enough, came back all excited about Quality Circles.
Now he spends a lot of time around the coffee machine, telling other
employees how great Quality Circles are, where they started, etc.
Soon Sam tells Ed that he's not running his machine anymore. How's he
going to produce his results? Ed explains that he's doing his part for his
Quality Circle. Ed complains that Sam needs to make up his mind about what
he wants Ed to do.
Sam goes back to Boss Bob, asking for advice. How can he get Ed to work
the machine and be a good member of the Circle?
Bob explains that Sam needs Ed to run the machine and take part in the
Quality Circle. Bob notices that Sam seems puzzled. Bob explains, "Ed can
do both: run the machine and be a good Circle member. You just need to let
him know what your priorities are. Let Ed know how much time he can spend
on his machine and how much time in the Circle. Be as clear as you were
before about his results and how you'd measure them. In the performance
system, this is called weighting the results."

Measures: Some You Can Count and Some You Describe

Sam nods that he understands Bob. "But how can I measure what he does in
Quality Circles?"

Bob explained, "Remember when we talked about measures? There are a

couple of ways to look at measures. You can count them or you can describe
them - hopefully you can do both. With the machine, you could count the
number of prints Ed produced, right? You noticed if the prints were high
quality or not. High quality meant the images were clear and the paper was
not torn. Right?"
Sam nodded.
Bob went on to explain, "About Ed's Quality Circle, though, it's really hard to
count something - at least not without going crazy! Sure, you can count how
many suggestions he makes. But if you do that, he'll be talking all the time
and not saying anything! What other ways can you realistically measure what
Ed is doing in his Circle?
Sam thought this for a minute. "Maybe I'm making this harder than it is. How
about if I notice the attendance record for Ed, you know, you make sure he
goes to meetings. I don't want to write down everything that Ed says. Heck,
Ed only talks in conclusions anyway!"
Bob responded that Sam seemed on the right track.
Sam explained the new situation to Ed. Ed seemed pleased. "That straightens
things out. Sure, I'll try it".

Performance Problem: Inconsistent Results Across the

Over the next few months, Ed ran his machine just fine. His Quality Circle
made lots of good suggestions to Sam and Sam's boss, Bob. Soon, though,
Ed and Sam notice that nothing was really being done about the suggestions.
Sam confronted his boss, Bob. "You've got plenty of ideas from us. How come
nothing is being done about them?" Bob replied, "I know. I'm wondering about
that myself. I'll find out."
Bob talked to his boss, Management Mike. Mike looked puzzled. Then he
remembered, "Oh, that's right! The Quality Circles! Yeah, those Circles are
sure keeping people happy. Keep up the good work, Bob!"
Bob replied, "I thought the Circles were to improve quality, not to keep people
happy. What am I missing here?"
Mike explained that he really couldn't implement any of the suggestions from
the Circle. "They'll probably just cost more money. Right now the company
needs to cut costs as much as possible."
Now Bob was getting really irked. He said, "I thought our performance system
was supposed to make sure that everyone was working toward the same
goals. Why not have the Circle guys focus on cost-cutting ideas?"

Mike warned, "That could scare them big time! No, keep 'em coming up with
good ideas. They're doing great!" Mike looked at his watch and said, "I've got
to take off. Sorry. Keep up the good work, Bob!"
Bob left Mike's office feeling very disappointed and sad. He thought, "We have
a performance management system. Ed's doing fine. Sam's doing fine. I'm
doing fine. Our department's doing fine. We're performing, right? Sure doesn't
feel like it, though."

So: All the Parts Are Doing Just Fine -- Yet the Organisation
Isn't Performing!
Employees, the department and management are all very committed and very
busy. Sam's focused on getting the most from his people, including Ed. So is
Bob. They all know the results they want, how they'll measure them and what
they consider to be great work. Yet the organisation really isn't performing. It's
idling along.
This situation is not uncommon.

Introduction - What Are Competencies? (And jobs,

tasks, roles, etc.)
First, let's look at some terms. A job is a collection of tasks and
responsibilities that an employee is responsible to conduct. Jobs have titles. A
task is a typically defined as a unit of work, that is, a set of activities needed
to produce some result, e.g., vacuuming a carpet, writing a memo, sorting the
mail, etc. Complex positions in the organisation may include a large number
of tasks, which are sometimes referred to as functions. Job descriptions
are lists of the general tasks, or functions, and responsibilities of a position.
Typically, they also include to whom the position reports, specifications such
as the qualifications needed by the person in the job, salary range for the
position, etc. Job descriptions are usually developed by conducting a job
analysis, which includes examining the tasks and sequences of tasks
necessary to perform the job. The analysis looks at the areas of knowledge
and skills needed by the job. Note that a role is the set of responsibilities or
expected results associated with a job. A job usually includes several roles.
Typically, competencies are general descriptions of the abilities needed to
perform a role in the organisation. Competencies are described in terms such
that they can be measured. It's useful to compare competencies to job
descriptions. Job descriptions typically list the tasks or functions and
responsibilities for a role, whereas competencies list the abilities needed to
conduct those tasks or functions. Consequently, competencies are often used
as a basis for training by converting competencies to learning objectives. See
examples of competencies below. Compare them with job descriptions; there
are those who have strong cautions about the use of competencies.

Note that some experts assert that competencies should define the abilities
for someone to excel in a certain role, that is, meet high performance
standards, whereas other experts assert that competencies should define the
abilities to adequately perform the role.
Competencies are the abilities needed to conduct a role in an organisation.
Identifying competencies for a role is a very useful exercise to really get one
thinking about what's needed to carry out the role. Competencies descriptions
are usually worded in measurable terms, therefore they're useful for reference
when identifying training.
Below are some basic suggestions for developing a list of competencies
needed for a role.
1. When developing the list, try to think in terms of areas of knowledge
and skills. Review some examples of lists of competencies to get an
idea of how competencies are worded.
2. Conduct a job analysis to understand the various tasks in the job and in
what sequence. The analysis can include some or all of the following
suggestions, as well.
3. Observe the employee or employees as they as they perform the task
or conduct the role. What areas of knowledge do you see the
employees using? What skills do you see the employees performing?
4. Consider administering a questionnaire to the employee or employees.
On the questionnaire, ask them to describe certain practices and
procedures to carry out the task or perform the role in the best way
possible, e.g., for a managerial role, ask about the best way to conduct
performance appraisals, conduct hiring procedures, etc. Explain that
the questionnaire is to help the trainer help the employees to perform a
task or conduct a role better.
5. Consider interviewing a highly skilled employee or a group of
employees. Ask them to describe the necessary areas of knowledge
and skills for superior performance.
6. Ideally, get advice from customers about what knowledge and skills are
useful in delivering the best quality products or services to them.
7. Review the job description for all of the general responsibilities and
duties of the role. Note that job descriptions may not describe the
position in terms of needed areas of knowledge or skills
8. A generic list of competencies may already exist for a role. For
example, professional associations sometimes provide generic lists.

To Learn, You Must Be Willing to Grow, to Experience

Learning often involves new skills, developing new behaviours. After many
years of classroom education, it's easy for us to take a course where all we
must do is attend each meeting, take notes and pass tests - and call this
learning. One can complete a Masters in Business Administration (MBA), but
unless they're willing to actually apply new information, they'll most likely end
up with an office full of un-referenced textbooks and a head full of data, but
little knowledge and wisdom. For the learning process to succeed, the
individual must be willing to take risks. Stick you neck out, including telling the
instructor when you're confused or disappointed in the course. Don't wait until
the course is over when nothing can be done about it.

Growth Involves the Entire Learner

If learning is to be more than collecting new information, then we must involve
ourselves completely in our learning experiences. Unfortunately, too many
development programs still operate from the assumption that the learner can
somehow separate personal development from professional development. So
we end up getting a great deal of information about finance and sales, but
little helps with stress and time management. Then, after schooling, when we
enter the hectic world of management, we struggle to keep perspective and
we're plagued with self-doubts. True learning involves looking at every aspect
of our lives, not just what's in our heads.

Growth Requires Seeking Ongoing Feedback

Many of us don't know what we need to learn -- we don't know what we don't
know. Therefore, feedback from others is critical to understanding our jobs
and ourselves. Feedback is useful in more ways than telling us what we don't
know. Feedback also deepens and enriches what we do know. Research
indicates that adults learn new information and methods best when they a)
actually apply the information and methods, and b) exchange feedback
around those experiences. However, we're often reluctant to seek advice and
impressions from others, particularly fellow workers. We're sometimes
reluctant to share feedback with others, as well The courage to overcome our
reluctance and fears is often the first step toward achieving true meaning in
our lives and our jobs.

Trust Your Instincts to Learn

Learning doesn't come only from other people telling you what you need to
know and how you need to learn it! The highly motivated, self-directed learner
can make a "classroom of life". Everything becomes an experience from
which to learn. You can design your own learning experiences! Think about
what you want to learn, how you might learn it and how you'll know if you've
learned it.

Take Responsibility for Your Own Learning

Managers (and all employees) must take responsibility for their own learning.
At one time, many companies could promise a new employee lifelong
employment and a predictable career path. Today, very few if any companies
can make that promise. Even when your company has a formal training
department and offers a catalogue full of courses for employees, no one
knows better than the employee and his or her manager what needs to be
learned and how that learning can be applied to the job to make a positive
difference in individual, group, and company business results. You must take
responsibility for your own career path, whether with your current employer or
through a series of employers. And the way to build your career is to keep
learning throughout your career.
Many companies promise that every employee will receive one week (and
sometimes more than one week) of training per year. But forward-looking
managers know that one week of training isn't enough to create better
performance and new opportunities for the future. They know that they and
their employees must be in a continuous learning mode - learning every
month, every week, every day.
How do you plan for your own learning needs? Here is a method of planning
for your own learning that I call the "learning contract." The learning contract is
personalised for each employee and is negotiated by the employee and his or
her manager, for no one in the company knows better what the employee
needs to learn than the employee and his or her immediate manager.
The learning contract starts with the company's business goals or, at the
minimum, the part of the company's business goals that are affected by the
employee's work. By beginning and, as we will see later, ending with these
goals in mind, we ensure that all learning activities are designed to make a
positive contribution to the achievement of both personal and company goals.
But it is often difficult for the individual employee to see a direct connection
between his or her work and the larger company goals. It is the job of the
manager to help the employee understand the company's goals and how
those larger goals are affected by the department's or function's work and by
the work of the individual employee.
Why is it important for every employee to understand the company's overall
business goals, especially if the employee's work seems very distant from
those goals? The answer is simply this: if you don't understand the company's
business goals, how can you possibly work to help the company achieve
those goals? Being able to demonstrate how your work is helping the
company achieve its goals will be important when you seek your next raise or
promotion. And even if you decide to leave the company to seek work
elsewhere, potential employers will look more favorably on applicants who are
able to tie their work experience to achievement of the company's business

Once these goals are understood, the next question is: "How must I change
my work or my skills and knowledge to help the company achieve this goal?"
Too often, companies publish ambitious business goals, but no one bothers to
ask how those goals will be achieved or what changes will be necessary to
enable the company to meet those goals.
When you understand the changes you must make to help achieve the goals,
then you must ask: "What do I need to learn in order to make those changes?"
You can't change without learning. Learning may involve greater knowledge of
customers and markets, building new skills in order to work differently, and so
The next part of the learning contract deals with how the learning will take
place: Will I attend a company-sponsored training program, take a course at a
local college, read some books and articles, become an apprentice to
someone who is a master of the new skills - the list of potential learning
methods is very large (and will be the subject of another article in this series).
In planning your learning, you need to specify in the learning contract the
methods you will use, where you will find the learning resources you need,
and a schedule for completion of the specified learning activities.
I often recommend that employees, before undertaking any learning activity,
find someone inside or outside the company who has already mastered the
new skills or knowledge and who can act as a coach and answer the
employee's questions as they arise. Ideally, this is the employee's manager,
but the manager does not always have the needed expertise or the time to
acquire it. If you cannot find someone to act as a coach, then I recommend
that you find someone else who is learning the same skill or studying the
same material to be your "learning partner." By having a learning partner, you
will have someone to exchange questions and experiences with, and the two
of you can help each other study and discuss your experiences as you later
try to apply your learning to your jobs. If you cannot find a learning partner in
your group or your company, look for groups on the Internet who are
interested in the subject. The Internet can be a wonderful resource, and you
can get assistance from people all over the world, even if you do not know the
person and will never actually meet that person.
You also need to specify in the contract how you will demonstrate that the
learning has taken place - what will be the measure of your learning
achievements? Will you submit a report on what you have learned? Will you
take tests before and after the learning activities to show how much you have
learned? Will you demonstrate the skills for your manager?
Next, the learning contract must include a section on how you will apply your
learning to your job. This is where most corporate training programs fail - most
of the learning that takes place in formal training programs never gets applied
to the students' jobs - meaning that the company's investment in that training
is wasted. It is also the area where the employee needs the most assistance
from the manager. When you try out new skills, you will inevitably make errors
- no one can be expected to try something totally new and succeed the first

and every time. The manager must provide the opportunity to make errors and
must reinforce the employee's learning with coaching and reinforcement until
the new skills are mastered. Without this assistance from the manager, the
employee will quickly revert back to the old way of doing things when faced
with a problem - "Why should I risk making an error and being penalised by
my manager for trying the new methods when I can continue to do things the
old way - the way I know and with which I am comfortable. The old way may
not be the best way, but I know it works."
Finally, you must specify in the contract what difference in business results
are expected once you have applied your learning to your work. This ties back
to the first step in the learning contract, where you specified the company
business goals to which you contribute. By beginning with the end in mind, all
learning activities will be focused on specific, measurable, achievable
business results, for the individual, the group/function/department, and the
company as a whole.
Using the learning contract can also yield another benefit: When you can
demonstrate the direct connection between your learning activities and the
company's business results, no one will ever question the value of the training
programs or other learning activities you undertake. You will never be asked
to justify the investment in your learning, because the justification is built into
the plan from the beginning.

Summary of the Learning Contract

1. Specify the company's business goals and how your individual work
contributes to their achievement.
2. Specify how you must change your work to help the company achieve
its goals.
3. Specify what you need to learn in order to make those changes.
4. Develop a learning plan, including:

What you need to learn.

What learning resources you will use

A schedule of learning activities.

5. Specify measures of learning achievement.

6. Develop a plan for how you will apply your learning to your job.
7. Specify what changes in business results are expected from the
application of your learning to the job.





The Trainee will be required to demonstrate competence on the job, in

practical demonstration; observation, question/answer and role-play
situations, incorporating verbal questions and written work, including
completing workplace forms, either to the RTO Trainer or Supervisor, under
the guidance of the RTO Trainer.
Element of competency:
1. Establish personal work goals
2. Set and meet own work priorities
3. Develop and maintain professional competence

How do you manage own work to achieve organisational goals?

2. How do you manage competing priorities to achieve personal and

organisational goals?


How do you assess your own performance?


Note down six skills or attributes you consider to be most important or

essential as a manager.

Assessment Task
Prepare a detailed written report for your own professional development.


In which direction you would like your career to go

A list of the things you will need to do in order to achieve your career

A list of the competencies/skills you may need

A list of your goals and set them in priority order

A timeline for achieving your goals

How you will measure your progress along the way

How you will reward your successes

How you will balance your career objectives whilst still maintaining your
current competing commitments (i.e. Work/Family)

Alternatively, you may prepare a similar report using the above points,
detailing how you attained your current position.
Include with this report how your performance is measured within your current
organisation and provide copies of performance appraisal forms if you have

ASSESSMENT MODE A Oral questioning

Trainee name:
Name of Workplace:
RTO Trainer name:
Unit/s of competency:


Unit Name:



Date of training/
assessment visit:

Instructions: In addition to written answers provided above, the trainee is required to

provide verbal answers to the following questions that will be asked by the RTO Trainer.
Read the questions prior to the Trainers visit, and be prepared to answer them, obtaining
help where necessary.
Did the trainee satisfactorily answer the following questions:



1. How do you organise your work priorities?

2. How do you manage competing priorities?

3. How would you assess your own performance?

4. List 4 skills you think managers should have

5. What professional development opportunities are available in your workplace?

6. Where do you see your career in 5 years from now?

The trainees underpinning knowledge was:

Notes/comments :
Question 1:
Question 2:
Question 3:
Question 4:
Question 5:
Question 6:
RTO Trainer signature:
Trainee signature:
Date of assessment:

Not Satisfactory

ASSESSMENT MODE B - Skills observation checklist

Trainee name:
Name of workplace:
RTO Trainer name:
Unit/s of competency:


Unit Name:



Date of training/
assessment visit:

During the demonstration of skills, did the trainee:




Personal work planning and organisation serve as a positive role model

in the workplace

Personal work goals, plans and activities reflect the organisation's

plans, and own responsibilities and accountabilities

Individual initiative is taken to achieve and extend personal work goals

beyond those planned

Personal performance is measured and maintained in varying work

conditions, work contexts and contingencies

Initiative is taken to prioritise and facilitate competing demands to

achieve personal, team and the organisation's goals and objectives

Technology is used efficiently and effectively to manage work priorities

and commitments

Personal knowledge and skills are assessed against competency

standards to determine development needs, priorities and plans

Feedback from employees, clients and colleagues is sought and used

to identify and develop ways to improve competence

Development opportunities suitable to personal learning style(s) are

identified, evaluated, selected and used to develop competence

Participation in networks is undertaken to enhance personal knowledge,

skills and work relationships

New skills are identified and developed to achieve and maintain a

competitive edge

The trainees performance was:

Not Satisfactory


Feedback to trainee:

Trainee signature:

RTO Trainer signature:

I confirm competence for this unit BSBWOR501A

(Manager signature)


After assessment the assessor, the supervisor and participant should sign the competency record. If competency is not achieved at the first attempt, strategies to
address the performance gaps need to be identified and a time for re-assessment organized.

Assessment Strategies

Assessor Comments


Oral/written questions




Workplace project


Supervisor/3rd party report





The evidence supplied is:





The participant is competent has shown competence in all of the following


Establish personal work goals

Set and meet own work priorities
Develop and maintain professional competence

Trainee Signature:
Supervisor Signature:
Trainer Signature

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

D A T E _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

The Trainee is

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

D A T E _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

D A T E _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _


Strategies to address gaps in
trainee performance:



R E A S S E S S M E N T :

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Off-the-Job Training Log

Trainee Name: ____________________________________

Supervisor signature: _________________________________

Company: __________________________________________________________________




Date: ______/______/200____


Business (Office Admin/Admin)

Civil Construction

Extractive Industries

Food Processing


Process Manufacturing

Retail Operations

TDT (Road Transport)

TDT (Warehousing)

Telecommunications (Call Centres)

List below the times allocated to Off-the-Job training for:







BSBWOR501A Manage personal work priorities and

professional development



Read self-paced guides

Met with Workplace Coach
Discussion on phone
Researched store policy and procedures
Researched prioritisation skills and professional development
Observed other staff member/s undertaking professional development
13. Other research
15. Staff training
17. Complete appropriate paperwork relevant to task







Activity Code


Manage personal work priorities.

Developed knowledge of use and safety requirements

Worked on assessment tasks
Discussed assessment tasks
Researched legislative requirements
Researched industry codes of practice
Performance appraisal

14. Read relevant industry publications

16. Talking to the supervisor
18. Other: (specify) __________________________________________

March 2008

Version 1

Page 37 of 39

Participant survey of materials

Unit code: BSBWOR501A

Unit name: Manage personal work priorities and

professional development

Please complete the questionnaire by circling the one number that best describes your answer to each
question. Please read each question carefully. For mailed surveys, place the completed questionnaire in
the enclosed reply paid envelope and post it back within seven days


Thinking in general about the material you were given for this unit, how would you
rate it overall?

Circle only one answer

Poor .... 1
Fair .. 2
Good ... 3
Very Good .. 4
Excellent ..... 5
Dont know ........ 6
How strongly do you agree or disagree with the following statements about the unit

Neither Agree nor



Strongly Agree

Dont know / NA



a. The layout of the reading material made it easy to use/read

b. The layout of the assessment material made it easy to use/read
c. The font size of the material was large enough
d. The reading material assisted me to complete the assessment
e. The material was easy to understand
f. The graphics/pictures were useful
g. The graphics/pictures were sufficient in number
h. The graphics/pictures were legible
i. The materials was free from typing errors
j. The material was relevant to my job/workplace

Strongly Disagree

Circle one answer only for each statement






Comments: Please expand on the above points if you rated any of them less than 3


Manage personal work priorities.

March 2008

Version 1

Page 38 of 39


Suggested Answers

Manage personal work priorities and

professional development

1. How do you manage own work to achieve organisational goals?

The Acronym: S.M.A.R.T.E.R.
2. How do you manage competing priorities to achieve personal and organisational
Monitor your work hours, Recognise your own signs of stress, Get a mentor or coach,
Learn to delegate, Communicate, Recognise whats important from whats urgent.
3. How do you assess your own performance?
Achieving results, Performance appraisals, Feedback, Meeting of standards, etc.
4. Note down six skills or attributes you consider to be most important or essential
as a manager.
These will be dependant on your own views


Manage personal work priorities.

March 2008

Version 1

Page 39 of 39