Performance Improvement Programme


One of the challenges in management development often repeated by CEOs and HR Directors is middle management. 

In essence the challenge is compelling and simple:

“You want improved operational performance and you know that your middle management have a direct impact on realising your strategy”.

The program described here is specifically targeting this challenge. The benefits of the program are to: 

  • Bring clarity to the identification of leadership characteristics
  • Better understand the current leadership capability of middle managers
  • Introduce a structured programme focused on development of your existing middle managers
  • Develop a more objective approach to the processes of selection and succession planning
  • Complement the cultural change for top management
  • Make it more likely that you will realise your future ambitions and business strategy

Launching such a programme is not without a degree of risk, the outcome may identify gaps between your current population and the profile that is required for future world-class leadership. You may also discover that some managers are an uncomfortable “fit” to the optimal profile of their current role.

These circumstances need to be carefully handled; however the potential benefits far outweigh the risks.

Our approach

What are the characteristics of our approach to personal development?

  • A Structured Approach - it is important to provide a step by step approach so that conclusions are developed by fact, analysis, and rational judgement rather than by 'gut feel' or subjective opinion.
  • Skills Transfer - by having a joint project team and a suitable level of consultation with senior management we aim to transfer our knowledge and skills to the client rather than creating dependence.
  • Practical Focus - our work over many years is rooted in an understanding of jobs and how they work and the processes and practical issues that affect how businesses perform.  It is important to understand these aspects of the organisation as well as the strategic and more theoretical aspects of business.
  • Avoiding 'Overkill' - we aim to avoid disrupting the day-to-day running of the business with too many meetings.  We aim to make use of existing information and project work and use management time economically.
  • Working with the Client - our role is to provide frameworks, methodology, experience, options and recommendations so that sound decisions are made.  The sound, which means the most implementable, results from work of this kind, are achieved by dialogue and discussion so that senior management can decide what should be done and can take 'ownership'. Presenting a technical 'fait accompli' is unlikely to make anything change.
  • Working in Estonia and internationally – We are an Estonian company and use the sophisticated methodology of our Canadian partner.  We are therefore acutely aware of the Nordic business culture and we do recognise the differences in many other countries of the world especially our neighbours around the Baltic Sea.  There is a great need for sensitivity in handling the contrast between an attractive single concept issued from global headquarters and the diverse reality of many national workplace cultures.   As a result, we always ensure we use consultants in a way which is sensitive to national issues, but still focused on the client's objectives.

Impact of this project on the management population

What will this programme mean for the participants?

  • The programme will be launched as a management development initiative for middle managers.  Its primary aim will be to support manpower plans by contributing to the development of future leaders for the business. 
  • The programme and supporting materials will be delivered in English and Estonian, Russian or Latvian languages. Each participant will attend an intensive three-day programme aimed at increasing their awareness of the characteristics required of future business leaders and undergoing analysis for future personnel developments.
  • One-to-one personal feedback sessions where each participant will develop his or her development plans will follow the programme.
  • Based upon development needs, one of the outcomes of the program will be a suite of development tools, so that over time individuals can be offered development opportunities through training, work experience, and individual coaching.
  • Participants need to recognise that they are being offered the opportunity for personal development but, if they choose to be part of the programme, they will need to make a personal commitment to manage their development and manage themselves accordingly.

What will we do?

Phase 1

Planning and Construction of a Competency Assessment Questionnaire

As the first stage for the program, a competency assessment questionnaire needs to be developed. If the client organization has a competency dictionary we will use this as a starting point for developing a competency assessment tool.

If not, we can consider either creating an organization-specific competency framework or use a generic competency dictionary.

It is essential, however, that the competency framework and definitions of specific competencies used in the competency assessment are fully approved by senior HR and line executives. Once agreed, these definitions will be used to develop a competency assessment questionnaire comprising around 100 questions directly related to client organizations current competencies.

Phase 2

Distribution, Collection and Processing of Diagnostic Instruments

In order to ensure absolute confidentiality in the process, we will be providing you with the instruments on line with a password and pin number for all respondents in the 360˚ assessment.  All of these instruments will be analysed by a licensed psychologist.

There are 3 diagnostic instruments:

  • Competency Assessment Questionnaire
  • Managerial Skills Questionnaire
  • Personality Profile

The instruments contain instructions regarding their completion.

Phase 3

Run the Performance Improvement Programme.

The following is a sample programme which will be tailored according to the needs of client organization.

Phase 4

Building Development Actions

Participants will receive individual coaching that will enable them to understand their particular profiles and what opportunities there are to improve their managerial performance. After the session a written summary of development actions will be provided. 

The initial coaching session will include personal feedback that is centred on the outcome of the 3 diagnostic instruments. The session will also be the start of the personal development plan for the participants.  It is here that they will start to make decisions as to what initiatives they will take, in response to their competency profile and managerial skills.

The individual reports and development plans will be provided within two weeks of the programme completion.

Deliverables of the programme:

Define a leadership development model and articulate the relationship between role, competencies and managerial skills. 

  • Design a competency assessment tool related to your competencies to facilitate the processing of the instrument on our software.
  • Process and interpret all diagnostic instruments.
  • Design in detail the development programme.
  • Run the first programme with up to 15 middle managers.
  • Provide coaching to participants and facilitate a discussion around development needs.
  • Provide individuals with written personal development plans.

Participants will be required to complete three diagnostics instruments on a 360° basis.  You will identify the other assessors i.e. Boss, subordinates and peers.

During the course of the programme participants will also be required to work with other proprietary diagnostics instruments.  Executive Lab will provide all of these instruments. Three Executive Lab consultants will lead each programme.

Timing

This a long term initiative, however to prepare the design of the programme, send out and analyse diagnostics, run the three-day workshop and complete the one-to-one feedback for the first 15 participants will be completed within 12 weeks assuming that we suffer no delay on your part.

This proposal outlines the process for the first group of participants and we anticipate the process taking the following amount of time: 

3 weeksProduction of the differentiating levels and CAQ (this can be omitted for the second group)
5 weeks
Distribution and collection of the 3 diagnostic instruments
1 weekProcessing of the diagnostics
1 weekReview of diagnostics and programme preparations
2.5 daysPIP programme
2 weeksPreparations of the individual reports and development plans   

The entire process takes approximately 12 weeks.

Performance Improvement Program Team

This is an example team for an international PIP program assignment with English-speaking participants. The team is also responsible for supervision and quality control for adjustments and adaptation to different languages and cultural contexts.  Consultants and trainers for other Russian, Latvian, Lithuanian and Finnish-speaking participants are available.

  -  Tõnis Arro: 

Tõnis Arro is the leader for the PIP program, Chairman of Executive Lab, consultant and management development professional and executive with more than 20 years experience. Tõnis Arro has lead and developed several professional services companies, and been extensively involved in management development and organizational change projects in several CEE and CIS countries.  

Tõnis Arro is fluent in English, Russian and Estonian

  -  Nigel Mason: 

Nigel Mason, leading consultant for the PIP program, experienced international consultant with core skills in effecting organization change. Currently President of a Canadian HR-specialized IT company and senior associate of Executive Lab. Nigel has held a number of technical and general management posts in technology sector and professional services sectors. He has more than thirty years experience of implementing business orientated HR change programs with senior executives. His direct business experience means that he relates directly with both technical people and senior executives. He has lived and worked in several countries and has highly developed cultural skills essential to the successful implementation of change in multinational companies.

  -  Uwe Napiersky: 

Leading psychologist for PIP program, experienced business professional with core skills in leadership consultation and international facilitation.

Uwe Napiersky is a business psychologist and member of the Work and Organisational Psychology Group at Aston Business School, UK, specialising in creating both leader development and leadership development programmes. Before arriving at Aston he worked 20 years for Fortune100/blue chip companies across the globe in all sectors and across all management levels as a consultant.  As an expert in Management Diagnostic he is experienced in leading the design & deployment of development & assessment centres, at middle and senior management levels and in conducting individual assessments at CEO and partner level.