Pittsburgh Business Times | Process Improvement

Sustaining Performance without Hovering

Sustaining Performance without Hovering

As a consultant, I am constantly challenged with providing sustainable process improvement performance.

You may have heard of the “Hawthorne Effect”, an experiment with one interpretation being: people perform better when they are aware they are being observed.  Knowing this, we can leverage several simple tactics to sustain this effect without having to hover over them. The assumptions are: (a) The person performs “better” because he or she is actually doing what is supposed to be done; i.e., following the standard process, and (b) we can build a habit over a period of time.

Here’s the plan:

  1. Document the new best practice – the standard
  2. Train using the standard to set the expectation
  3. Create a metric to measure performance against the standard for accountability
  4. Audit this performance metric and reward compliance for a minimum of 30 days to form a habit

Following these simple tactics can create a sustained Hawthorne Effect without the need to be present. The metric serves as your proxy. This is just one of many simple techniques that I have used with great success. Give it a try, and thanks for reading!

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