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"There is one art of which man should be master, the art of reflection."


The assess phase is the most crucial phase in performance-improvement deployments. And yet it is the one that receives the least attention in many such deployments. The work done builds the foundation by which performance improvement is deployed across the organization. Lack of leadership commitment and involvement is a critical point of failure for any performance-improvement initiative. In this phase, commitment by the executive leadership team is essential. The steps built into the assess phase not only contribute to the technical aspects of how performance improvement will be implemented, but they are also designed to drive executive commitment.

An organization's mission, vision, and value statements are the foundation for its strategic planning, performance assessment, and improvement activities. All members of the deployment team should review and understand these statements. These objectives will be validated during this phase. They will seldom change, but the discussion will bring them to the forefront and ensure understanding and alignment. The deployment team also will conduct a structured review of available performance-related information to identify and better understand gaps between the organization's performance and its mission and strategy.

The assess phase consists of a three-part, or triadic, approach to identifying performance gaps across the organization, as shown in Figure 4.1. These three assessments, strategic gap analysis, system-level value stream analysis, and system constraint analysis, do the following:

Figure 4.1

The three assessments.

  • Provide insight into organizational goals and identify performance gaps through reviews of existing metrics and other information sources

  • Identify measures of success for core processes

  • Distinguish critical success factors and conditions necessary for goal attainment

  • Pinpoint core problem areas that, when addressed, provide the most leverage toward goal attainment

Strategic Gap Analysis

The strategic gap analysis is accomplished as the first event of the triadic approach. It is usually conducted first because it can provide the deployment team with information regarding existing performance gaps that will facilitate both the system-level value stream analysis and the system constraint analysis. In many cases, this is the first time that information, data, or metrics about the organization undergoing the JumpStart are available for review. The strategic gap analysis includes two organizational assessments and an organizational performance review. The first step is to assess the organization's current level of performance-improvement maturity and its readiness for change. Figure 4.2 shows the strategic gap analysis roadmap.

Figure 4.2

Strategic gap analysis roadmap.

Performance-Improvement Maturity Assessment

This assessment quantifies an organization's progress through the performance-improvement maturity model. As demonstrated in Figure 4.3, progress through ...

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