Increasing Effective Performance
Effective performance is affected by a range of factors. A research report (December 2006) sponsored by CIPD highlights the issues created by a lack of effective communication and low levels of trust between bosses and staff that can lead to under performance, low productivity and high turnover. The research, carried out by Kingston Business School and Ipsos Mori Research, also showed that 43% of employees were dissatisfied with the relationship they had with their manager, while 30% said they rarely or never received feedback on their performance at work. 42% complained that they were not kept informed about what was going on in the organisation, and 44% said they felt under excessive pressure at least once or twice every week.
TA has a role to play in enabling organisations to address these issues.
Moreau (2005) discusses and develops Berne’s theories of organisations. He considers organisations in terms of the “bone structure” and the “vital organs”.
Within the “bone structure” there are three poles supportive the organisations existence (see Moreau, 2005). Given that organisations are developed for and by human beings then “People” need to be on one corner, the “Organisation” itself on the other. This corner concerns competencies, missions, machinery, buildings, patents, policies etc, in fact everything that makes production or services possible. On the final corner there is development or “Expected performance”. This is economic, technical, social and ideological.
When change occurs this can knock the process off balance and it takes time to affect a new balance within the structure.
A key theme in Moreau’s article is the concept of boundaries. When working in organisations he explores what the boundaries are, whether they are maintained, whether they are broken, or diffuse etc. Where boundaries are not maintained, or if they are too rigid and defended this takes up energy. This energy cannot then be used for effective performance. He uses Berne’s diagrams to explain his thinking.
Moreau outlines 5 key elements that can facilitate work on improving performance:
The Complexity of the system – personal, professional, cultural, historical. This boundary related issues. This can be checked by the team decided how to make a certain intervention and the rules governing this interventions and see if they are broken. This would also apply within any training and development interventions being undertaken, are the rules of any activity broken? Any boundary needs to be checked to ensure that it is still relevant
Checking everyone’s mental representation of the problem as we all carry projections and contaminations. It is necessary to enable people to adjust their imago to ensure they see the issue as it currently is, not how they think it is.
Any interventions made need to be useful to the people, the company, to performance as well as to well-being. This enables balance within the “bone structure”.
The development of a consultant team within the organisation so that the organisation is more likely to be “held” and successful interventions made. (This could be related to Summers and Tudor’s article on co-creativity).
The consulting team need to be able to solve problems themselves both in the present and in the future thereby reinforcing the new positive processes and systems.
High performance companies tend to be those that enable and develop a workforce that is confident, has a positive self-image and a feeling of being involved in professional OK/OK dynamics.
CIPD’s factsheet on High Performance Working (2001, revised 2006) outlined some ways in which organisations can develop effective performance include:
Decentralised decision-making so that those closest to the interface with the customer or client are the ones who make the decisions.
Learning at all levels with particular emphasis on self-management, team capabilities and project-based activities – to enable and support performance improvement and organisational potential.
Support systems and culture
People management processes aligned to organisational objectives to build trust, enthusiasm and commitment to the direction taken by the organisation
Fair treatment for those who leave the organisation as it changes and engagement with the needs of the community outside the organisation – this is an important component of trust and commitment-based relationships both within and outside the organisation.
CIPD ,Research Report (2006), www.cipd.co.uk/research
CIPD, (2001 rev. 2006), High Performance Working.
Moreau J (2005), Using Transactional Analysis to Increase Organizational Performance, TAJ 35:4
Summers G & Tudor K (2000), Cocreative Transactional Analysis, TAJ 30:1