8 Levers That Drive Manager Performance

Study a hundred organizations of diverse size and industry with the objective of answering one question, “What factors are most driving and deterring managers’ performance“and what would you discover?

Uncovering the factors that most influence the ability, or inability of managers to contribute to business results would reveal something unexpected and noteworthy.

It would reveal commonality.

Whether an organization experiences a sudden performance problem, an ongoing gap between desired results and achieved results, or a new opportunity calling for enhanced performance…a small number of common variables are influencing the ability of managers to achieve desired performance levels.

For organizational leaders wanting to improve performance, this predictability is good news.  Actually, it is great news.  This commonality in factors provides a simple framework that highlights the correct “levers” to pull to effectively impact performance.

There are eight primary interconnected manager performance levers that organizations must address if they are to improve performance.  Six of these levers change the environment people work in (environmental levers) and two levers change individuals (people levers).  But what does that mean?  Environmental performance levers reside outside people or in the environment.  Individual performance levers, on the other hand, reside as one would expect; inside people.

2 Points of Performance Lever Implementation Significance:

  1. People Lever: When wanting to improve performance, the immediate response of most organizations is to change people.  This default response typically comes in the form of additional training or employee restructuring through hire/fire initiatives.
  2. Multiple/Interconnected Levers:  Pulling environmental levers—changing the environment to give people what they need to perform at higher levels —are less costly, more effective and provide a higher return on investment than pulling individual ones. Plus they are sustainable.

Understanding these eight easy-to-leverage performance drivers—both environmental and individual—serves two critical and difficult functions.  It will guide diagnosis of managerial performance deficiencies and identification of ideal performance solutions.

Over the next few weeks, we will explore the eight factors that most influence a manager’s performance and their critical linkage. Next up: Performance Lever #1: Strategy and Goals.

Timothy E. LaMacchio, Business Performance Engineer, Red Book Solutions


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