Understanding the Psychology of Performance

Possibly the most common question we are asked by leaders in organisations is: "why aren't the people in our organisation doing what we want them to do?". The question is phrased in lots of different ways:

  • "Why aren't people following a process or procedure that we've developed?"
  • "Why aren't people meeting their individual or strategic objectives?"
  • "Why can't people be nice to each other / get on with each other?"
  • "Why are people resisting this change that we know will be lead to improvements for us all?"
  • "Why are managers not having constructive conversations about performance with their team, even though they've all been through training?"

But they all reflect the same concerns. The challenge is always that ideas that seemed good in a meeting, or on a strategy document, or in an appraisal form, don't always translate to the changes leaders want to see.

This is where we come in as Business Psychologists. We know that humans frequently make decisions that aren't in their best interests, humans are illogical, they're emotional and they develop behaviours over time that aren't always positive or helpful or appropriate.

The first thing we try to do is to understand what's going on. What is causing the problem? We believe that, too often, organisations jump into solutions such as training or adding new policies and procedures without really getting to the bottom of why the issue has arisen.

By looking at different aspects of performance we can find the true cause of problems and develop the best and most focused solutions. This approach can improve return-on-investment on development interventions as well as having a direct impact on performance.

We will be exploring this approach in more depth at the event on 7th February and introducing a simple model to support you, and the managers in your organisation, to identify the causes of performance problems. So bring your trickiest performance issues with you and we'll try to help you find new ways to tackle them!

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Written by - Pip Gwynn, Director of Insight

Date - 05/02/2018