Performance Improvement - A Classic Checklist
by Rick Sidorowicz

Improving Performance by Rummler and Brache remains a classic reference for organization design, process re-engineering, and performance improvement. Their central theme is an approach which examines ‘performance’ at three conceptual ‘levels’ - that of organization strategy and structure, that of key business processes, and that of individual ‘job performers’. An effective and integrated approach requires a view of all three dimensions. 

Here is a performance improvement checklist based on the key aspects of this classic approach to organization development.

Organization Performance

How do your customers view your organization?

How do your suppliers view your organization?

How do your employees view your organization?

Has your organization’s strategy been articulated and communicated?

Does this strategy make sense given the current and anticipated external threats and opportunities?

Where are the gaps in terms of internal strengths and capabilities?

Have the desired outputs of the firm and the level of performance expected been determined and communicated?

Are all necessary functions in place?

Are there currently functions that are unnecessary or that could or should be 

Does the formal organization structure support the strategy?

Where does the formal structure inhibit efficiency of executing the strategy?

Have all relevant functional goals been established?

Is all relevant performance measured?

Are resources properly allocated?

Are the interfaces between departments being managed?

Process Performance

Have your key cross functional business process been identified?

Are goals for key processes linked to customer requirements?

Are goals for key processes linked to supplier capabilities and requirements?

Are process goals linked to the organization requirements and objectives?

Is this the most effective process for achieving the process goals?

Have appropriate sub process goals been set?

Are sufficient resources allocated to each key business process?

Are the interfaces between process steps being managed?

Job Performer Performance

Are job outputs and standards linked to customer and process requirements?

Are process requirements reflected specifically in the appropriate jobs?

Are job steps in a logical sequence?

Have supportive policies and procedures been developed?

Is the job environment ergonomically sound?

Do performers understand the outputs they are expected to produce and the standards they are expected to meet?

Do performers have sufficient resources, clear feedback, signals, and priorities, and a logical job design?

Are the performers rewarded for achieving the job goals?

Do the performers have the necessary skills and know how to achieve the job goals?

Do the performers have the physical, mental, and emotional capacity to achieve the job goals?

Goals and Objectives

Performance ‘systems’ require goal setting and measurement at the organization, process, sub-process, and job performer level. Test each goal and objective for simplicity, focus, and clarity in terms of:

  • accurately reflecting organization values and operating principles;
  • quantitative and measurable;
  • customer oriented and customer driven;
  • competitive advantage driven;
  • easily understood - clear to all who have to understand and be guided by them.
A classic frame of reference to examine the design of structure, process, and individual job definitions for integration and alignment - understand the business and the key business processes, focus on the customer, create a workable structure, set goals and measure what's important, and manage the linkages.

Improving Performance
How to Manage the White Space on the Organization Chart

Rummler and Brache,
Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco, 1990, Second Edition 1995.

Rick Sidorowicz is the Publisher and Editor of The CEO Refresher and
the Minister of Culture of High Performance Retail.

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