The Performance Paradox : Understanding the Real Drivers that Critically Affect Outcomes book cover
1st Edition

The Performance Paradox
Understanding the Real Drivers that Critically Affect Outcomes

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ISBN 9781563273902
Published August 12, 2008 by Productivity Press
192 Pages 75 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

How does performance improve? A simple yet often unexplored question. To quantify it, it must be measured. To measure it, it must be understood. The good news is that once we actually examine how to test performance, a number of basic principles and natural laws emerge. Principles and laws with universal applications across diverse subjects, and when correctly applied, not only unravel the mystery of how performance improves, but how you can improve performance in your organization.

The Performance Paradox explores the misunderstood subject of performance. While examining the varying measures of performance, the author discusses how to find what is true – that is, what is known and what is not known about performance, what needs to be known, what is useful, and what is not. The book exposes hype and fad and helps you embrace fact and reality. Sprinkled throughout you will find sage and practical advice which can be translated into concrete action irrespective of your intended area of application.

Based on extensive research by the author, this book provides a deeper understanding what measures of performance can actually tell us about performance or, more specifically what they can tell us about how performance does and does not improve and the practical implications of such derived insights. By examining real-world examples of how abstract ideas can be concretely applied, Jerry Harbour can help transform any business or organization into a high-performance one where results are obtained, rather than imagined.

Table of Contents

Seeking What Is True
Checking Our Assumptions
R&D Spending
Healthcare and Life Expectancy
Bombing Precision
Dollars Spent Equals Games Won
Performance Paradoxes

Performance as Subject and Why x Matters
Defining Performance
Developing a Performance Equation
Taking the Equation One Step Further
Understanding the Three Types of x Variables
Adding Oomph to Your Performance Equation
From Sea to Land
Small Round Balls That Fly
Things That Go Boom
The Power of Good Logic
Creating Task Models

S-Curves and Performance Limits
Performance Improves Exponentionally
Normal Curves
S-Shaped Curves and Logistic Functions
The Limits of Performance
Projecting Unrealized Performance Capacity

How Innovation (Sometimes) Begets Improvement
Overlapping S-Curves and What They Mean
About Innovation
Innovation Types
Type I Innovations
Type II Innovations
Type III Innovations
Type IV Innovations
Innovation and Performance Gains
Biological and Technological Evolution
The Role of Innovation Shifts

Modeling Performance

The Dilemma of Safety versus Productivity
Models: Definitions and Characteristics
Performance Models
Modeling Case Study
Outlining the Case Study Steps
The Value of Performance Modeling
Value to the Oakland A’s
Value to the U.S. Military
Some Limitations of Performance Modeling

Measuring Performance
Some Definitions and General Observations about Performance
Descriptive Measures
Predictive Measures
Prescriptive Measures
Models of Performance Should Drive Measures of Performance
Units of Measurement
Interpreting Measures of Performance
SPOTC Measures of Performance

Improving Performance

Capacity Matters
Realizing Unrealized Performance Capacity
Model- and Measurement-Based Performance Improvement
Improving SPOTC Performance

Performance: A Summary

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