Your Core Performance Technology

May 31, 2011

You just returned from a day of training on how to improve the performance of your team. You were told that to improve the performance of your team, you need to focus on these four things:

  • Management processes (e.g. hiring, training, performance evaluation, rewards)
  • Collaborative leadership
  • Relationships with team members
  • Your personal development

All of these are critical to your success, but which one is the most important? Which one of these four is your indispensible, core performance technology?

Your personal development is your core performance technology.

You can learn how to improve processes, be more collaborative, and build relationships with your team members; however, your ability to continually grow in these areas will always be constrained by your capacity to learn. There is no single skill more critical to your personal and organizational success than your ability to learn how to learn.

Peter Senge defines a mess as “a complicated problem where there is no leverage to be found because the leverage lies in interactions that cannot be seen from looking only at the piece you are holding”. (The Fifth Discipline, p. 67).  You and your team cannot be delivered from your mess by leadership, management, or relationships alone. Only through continual learning can you master your mess.

Now more than ever, the land of excellence belongs to those that learn faster than their competitors, continue to learn how to learn, and can model the way for others to do the same.

What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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Comments (10)

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  1. Shawn Murphy says:

    Bret, I would only add to your important insights.

    Those who design, develop and deliver learning solutions within organizations need to step up their responsibilities in creating solutions that foster learning. This is a big topic, but for starters, learning solutions need to reach beyond the classroom. Pre-learning partnership to ensure people are clear on what they want from the program is vital. Post-learning collaboration can include providing relevant on the job applications of key learning objectives.

    We need stronger partnerships between those creating/delivering the learning experience and those attending the workshop.


    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    Welcome, Shawn! Concur 100%. But we also need to teach people how to assume responsibility for their learning outside of the classroom. Waiting around for your organization to deliver your learning is a recipe for mediocrity. Thanks! Bret

  2. A great reminder that all this blog reading and education is key. 🙂

    Thanks for making it easy to learn, I’m continually a bigger fan of your blog every day.

    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    Thanks for your continued support, Aaron! Bret

  3. Kneale Mann says:

    As I get more and more immersed in navigating social business, understanding how to help companies create better internal customer service and find passion in unearthing people’s strengths, it is imperative to navigate the selfish portion of the process.

    In order for you to be a better leader for our organization, you must be strong and you must know where you’re strong. We want you to be strong, we want you to be a leader (not a boss!) in order guide us and in-turn help us unearth our strengths.

    Before we become strong leaders, we must discover why we want to become strong leaders. We must also understand the responsibility that comes with leadership. And before we can learn how to learn, we must want to learn how to learn.

    And learning faster than our competitors is only valuable, in my opinion, if we are working toward the betterment of our organization and our people and not just trying to out do the “other guys” for pride. Because that comes with the assumption they’re doing it right. And knowing the difference requires great leadership.

    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    Excellent points, Kneale. Purposeful excellence does require great leadership. I think those that stay in pursuit of self development are in the best position to see their blind spots over time. It’s usually hubris that leads leaders to think “I’ve arrived.” When you think you have nothing left to learn, game over, its just a matter of time. Thanks for sharing! Bret

  4. Bruce Lynn says:

    Agree 100%. In a world that changes as quickly as today’s, then domain specific knowledge is almost instantly obsolete. The days of learning a subject, skill, expertise and then using that to retirement are long over. The only way to survive is to learn how to learn. To know how to pick up that new technology, approach, context when it hits your business/career/industry.

    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    Welcome back, Bruce! Hope you are well. Learning really is a technology, and as such it will decay unless you continue to enhance it. Thanks! Bret

  5. Bruce Lynn says:

    Just catching up on my RSS feeds. Some nice pieces you’ve done lately.

    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    Thanks, Bruce! I trust you are well. Bret