Human Performance Excellence

What is Human Performance?

 First of all, it is much more than reducing and preventing ‘human errors’ and dealing with the myths and fallacies surrounding 'human error' . The goal is to reduce the frequency of all undesirable outcomes and decrease the severity and impact such undesirable events cause. In Human Performance, 'human error' is a consequence, the starting point for an investigation not the end point or the cause. Describing a non-conformance/deviation/defect as “human error” is rather like saying most car accidents involve drivers!  A ‘True But Useless (TBU)’ statement that gets you precisely nowhere (unless of course you think putting a tick in a box and apportioning blame is the way to go).   

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Human Performance is about fixing the system or systems that allowed something to go wrong – to truly understand why something happened, to learn and apply that learning appropriately.  It is in essence a new operating philosophy for the 21st century, to create high reliability performance and to do so in a way that not only reduces waste in all its forms but truly engages the hearts and minds of the people doing the work. It’s about treating the human as the solution, not the problem.

It complements but is not Six Sigma, Lean, or Operational Excellence (OPEX).  However, there is some healthy overlap and it certainly addresses the space that so many companies who claim to be ‘doing Lean” fail to get right i.e. applying the fundamental principle of ‘drive out fear’ to establish the environment essential for Lean to succeed.   

Human Performance has its own body of knowledge including Human Factors, Just Culture, High Reliability Organization, Resilience Engineering and Systems Thinking. It is data driven, scientific and also draws on Risk Management and Quality Management Systems (QMS )- indeed some organisations position it in their Risk Management or QMS space but there is no one right functional home for it.

It also involves challenging accepted wisdom and sacred cows and so can make it uncomfortable or threatening for some people if not handled correctly. Moreover Human Performance is not a fixed ‘ology”, a theoretical model for zealots which does not work in the ‘real world’.  Making it work for your organization is what Themeus is about.     

Why would you need our help with Human Performance?

As the old adage goes ‘if you do what you always do, you get what you always got.” So, if you are content with the levels of organisational performance you have today and think it is as good as it gets, then you would not need our help with Human Performance. If you believe you are already applying Human Performance, and are satisfied with the results to date, then you would not need our help. If you are in the pharma/biopharma industry and think 40-50% of all deviations are truly ‘human errors’ and it is acceptable for that failure rate to remain unchanged, then you would not need our help.

But if you don’t know how Human Performance can work for you and want to improve business performance, you might just like to give us a call to discuss things further…

So how can Themeus help?

We can help in a number of ways, all tailored to the needs and ambition level of the organisation.

Human Performance Consulting

  • Working with the leadership team to determine a Human Performance strategy, agenda for change and implementation plan tailored to the needs, requirements and resources of the organisation.
  • Identifying options for freeing up resource to invest in your programme.
  • Setting up an effective governance process which demonstrates leader understanding and commitment to effective human performance.
  • Design and implementation of a Leadership Human Performance (HuP)  observation and coaching program that supports and sustains the right behaviours.
  • Defences and critical step mapping.
  • Investigation process improvement.

Human Performance (HuP) Training

  •  In depth, practical training of HuP practitioners and leaders in HuP and change management skills.
  • Training for middle and senior managers in HuP thinking, tools and techniques appropriate to their roles including HuP Observation and Coaching.
  • Training for immediate line managers in human perfomance thinking, tools and techniques includung HuP Observation and Coaching
  • Training for engineers, technical support and other knowledge workers in HuP thinking, tools and techniques appropriate to their roles.
  • Training for front line people in HuP thinking, tools and techniques for everyday use (note: normally we will train HuP leaders and practitioners to deliver this training but can co-train or deliver it ourselves.)
  • Training the HuP trainer  – using materials and practical exercises that people will use when they deliver their own training programs.    

Coaching and Mentoring of HuP Leaders and Practitioners

  • A tailor made program conducted over a 12 month period or longer that enables HuP leaders to meet and overcome the the challenges they face. Coaching is conducted though online video meetings, telephone and email support (planned and ad hoc), with agreed ‘homework” between contacts.

Support for Internal HuP Networks/Communities of Practice

  • External facilitation of an internal network using the organisation’s Sharepoint or similar intranet systems. This can range from mobilising and facilitating a cross function, cross location HuP project team with set goals and deliverables, to facilitating  a HuP community of practice that is a useful resource for inexperienced and experienced HuP practitioners alike.
  • For large organisations, this service could extend to include periodic face to face meetings to create new deliverables, higher levels of understanding, motivation and team working. 

HuP Health Assessments

  • A constructive external assessment of your existing HuP which compares HuP “As Is” to HuP “As it Should Be and Could Be” and makes recommendations for improvement.

Contact us if you would like to know more about any or all of the HuP services above or to wish to discuss something which is not on the list.  You may also like to read Gerry McAuley's articles on Human Performance - see the articles page