In this first video of our four-part Performance Improvement (PI) series moderated by Kristen Kosinski, Klaus Wittkuhn and Roger Addison focus on the essentials and describe why training is often not the best solution for performance problems – and what one should look at instead. Moreover, they outline a systematic process of exploring performance issues, highlighting that everyone should be invited into the process.
To learn more, please watch the video below:
This video is from Agrilinks – which is part of the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future initiative that addresses the root causes of hunger, poverty and undernutrition, and establishes a lasting foundation for change.
The USAID Bureau for Resilience and Food Security (RFS) leads the Feed the Future initiative and supports Agrilinks through the Feed the Future Knowledge, Data, Learning, and Training (KDLT) program, implemented by Bixal and its sub-contractors, The QED Group, and Training Resources Group.
If you look at program evaluations, the experience across projects, regions, and even countries, a pattern emerges. There is tremendous investment in training individuals and the results of these investments mostly fall short of delivering the desired results. This is not an issue unique to food and agricultural systems; this pattern appears across all development work, independent of sector, donor, implementer, or problem faced. Seeing the pattern, however, does not mean that development work is not productive. If we look at how many people came out of poverty and improved their lives, we certainly see enormous achievements. Still, there is always room for improvement and we hope that the ideas we will discuss every Thursday during the upcoming month can contribute to make this difficult work even more successful and rewarding.
Through this video series, we are going to talk about performance improvement, which in USAID terminology is called Local Capacity Development, which builds on and expands the former concept of Human and Institutional Capacity Development. Now you might ask, “How do I improve performance if not by training people and building their capacity to do better in their jobs?” This question is at the very core of the issue. The way you frame the problem immediately frames what is possible as a solution. Let’s look at a seemingly trivial example that illustrates the point in question perfectly. If you frame the problem as “we need better drivers”, the solution will be to train existing drivers or to hire different ones in the future. If you frame the problem as “we want to get products to market faster”, better drivers might be part of the solution or might not. In any case, they will not be THE solution. There are many factors influencing how fast products can get to a market, only one of them being the capabilities of the drivers. Equip a good driver with a car with flat tires and the driving skills of the driver will not play much of a role anymore.
# # #