I found some good reminders about performance improvement in an article on international development.  Apparently the focus of international development these days is capacity building.  This is not a term I use every day so I looked it up (naturally Wikipedia had my answer).

Capacity building is a conceptual approach to development that focuses on understanding the obstacles that inhibit people, governments, international organizations and non-governmental organizations from realizing their developmental goals while enhancing the abilities that will allow them to achieve measurable and sustainable results.”

That sounds like what I do every day in a different context.  I can only imagine what obstacles he experiences in developing countries.  He makes an interesting point in his post (emphasis mine).

There is considerably more depth to the ideas than capacity-building-is-more-than-training. There are lots of boxes and arrows that tell you what to do to who, when, how, and how often. In summary, these boxes say “figure out what they want to do; figure out why they can’t do it now; fix that.” And above all – don’t assume the solution is training.

This is a point I make repeatedly and I don’t think it can be made frequently enough.  In fact I have two messages posted on the wall of my office to make sure people don’t forget (including me).

Training

does not always lead to

Learning

and

Learning

does not always lead to

Performance

The goal of every organization should be to achieve measurable and sustainable results, however that is defined for them.  Often this approach requires a shift in thinking.  The first is the attitude toward learning.  We all get busy and our to-do list grows daily.  Every once in a while its good to return to the basics.

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