Performance Improvement: Stages, Steps and Tools
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Performance Improvement Toolkit
Recognize the opportunity to apply PI

To involve the client(s) in a discussion about a performance issue that needs attention


A scheduled meeting with a key decision-maker to discuss the performance issue

Awareness of an opportunity to apply the PI methodology can come through a request for assistance from someone within your organization or from another organization.

Often, the opportunity to improve performance comes in the form of a request for training. While we know that training is sometimes an appropriate intervention to address a performance gap, it is not always the best answer. Even so, tact should be used when suggesting the PI process rather than just training. When a potential client says, “We need a three-day class on X,” restrain yourself from replying, “Well, hold on there! Training probably isn't the right answer.” Such a response might send the person looking for a training class elsewhere. Instead, answer positively and then obtain agreement for further investigation: “Sure, we can help with that! Can we talk about it some more?”

With increasing frequency, potential clients are requesting assistance in using PI to address a specific performance issue in their organization. As we educate more people in the process, we expect this trend to accelerate.

Other opportunities for a PI investigation may arise when:

  • A new job is being created
  • A group of trained workers is still not doing as well as someone thinks they should
  • A nagging “employee issue” keeps coming back to haunt an organization
  • Performance is inconsistent; some workers are doing great while others are struggling
  • Performance is not what it should or could be.

Regardless of the topic of the first meeting, the best outcome is to arrange a second meeting at which you can gather more information.