Today's main argument that "Organizations can gain a competitive advantage through their human resources by making sure that members both have the appropriate skills and are suitably motivated" is the same contention that management experts have acknowledged since the 1960's. Managing people to perform can make a very significant difference. I hope that the ACHIEVE model that follows and discussed will give you useful ideas to determine how to manage your own human resources and organization.


A common problem that occurs in the management process is that many managers tend to be effective in letting employees know what performance problems exist but they are not as effective in helping employees determine why these problems exist. In other words, many managers are strong in problem identification but are much weaker in problem analysis or diagnosis. This is a critical step before improvements can happen.

In order to be most effective in evaluating and solving performance problems, managers need to determine why problems have occurred. The ACHIEVE model aims to guide managers determine why performance problems may have occurred and then to develop change strategies, such as organization development, aimed at solving these problems.

The ACHIEVE model isolates seven variables related to effective performance management: (1) motivation, (2) ability, (3) understanding, (4) organizational support, (5) environmental Fit, (6) feedback, and (7) validity.

These critical factors are then placed together in a manner that managers could easily remember and use. One technique for making items on a list easy to remember is to make their first letter form a common word, an acronym. A seven-letter word that is synonymous with "to perfom" is achieve. By substituting incentive for the motivation factor; clarity for understanding., help for organizational support, and evaluation for performance feedback, the ACHIEVE model is developed with the seven factors in the model are listed as follows:

A - Ability

C - Clarity (Understanding)

H - Help (Organizational support)

I - Incentive (Motivation factor)

E - Evaluation (Performance feedback)

V - Validity

E - Environment

Using the Achieve Model

In using the ACHIEVE model the manager evaluates how each factor will affect the present or potential performance of an employee or group for a given task. Then the manager should take the steps that "fit" the unique cause(s) of the performance problem. The seven factors in the ACHIEVE model, along with typical problem-solving alternatives are:

A - Ability (knowledge and skills). The term ability refers to the employee's knowledge and skills - the ability to complete the specific task successfully. It is important to remember that people are not universally competent. Key components of ability include relevant formal and informal education, prior work experience and task-relevant aptitudes (potential or traits that enhance the successful completion of the task).

In analysing employee performance, the manager should ask, "Does this employee have the knowledge and skills to complete this task successfully?" If the person has an ability problem, solutions may include specific training, coaching, formal educational courses, or reassignment of specific duties or responsibilities. These alternatives should be considered from the viewpoint of effectiveness and expediency.

C - Clarity (understanding or role perception). Clarity refers how much the employee understands the job. It refers to his or her understanding and acceptance of what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. To have a thorough understanding of the job, the employee needs to be clear on the major goals and objectives, how these goals and objectives should be accomplished, and the priority of goals and objectives (which objectives are most important at what times).

If the employee has a problem in clarity or understanding, there may well be a problem in the planning of the work. In many cases, oral agreement on objectives is insufficient. The manager should assure that all objectives are formally recorded and accessible for referral. The employee should be encouraged to ask questions for further clarification.

H - Help (organizational support). This term refers to the organizational help or support that the employee needs to effective task completion. Some organizational support factors might include adequate budget, equipment and facilities that are suitable for task completion, necessary support from other departments, product availability and quality, and an adequate supply of human resources.

If there is a lack of help or organizational support, managers should clearly identify where the problem exists. If the problem is lack of money, human resources, equipment, or facilities, the manager should see whether the necessary resources could be acquired in a cost-effective manner. If the resources cannot be acquired, the manager may have to revise objectives to avoid holding employees responsible for circumstances beyond their control.

I - Incentive (motivation or willingness). The term incentive refers to the rewards (tangible or intangible) that will satisfy his need. In evaluating incentive it is important to remember that most people are not equally motivated to complete the same tasks. Many employees tend to be more motivated toward the successful completion of tasks that will bring them either intrinsic or extrinsic rewards.

If the employee has an incentive problem, the first step is to check the use of rewards and punishments. The employee should clearly understand that performance on this task is related to pay, promotion, recognition, and job security. Research indicates that managers sometimes hope employees will engage in certain behaviours without rewarding these behaviours. People have a natural tendency to pursue tasks that are rewarded and to avoid tasks that are not. Rewards can be tangible or intangible; feedback on performance, such as recognition or a pat on the back, can be an important part of the overall incentive system.

E - Evaluation (coaching and performance feedback). Evaluation refers to informal day-to-day performance feedback as well as formal periodic reviews. An effective feedback process lets employees know how well they are doing the job on a regular basis. It is unrealistic to expect employees to improve performance if they are unaware that performance problems exist. People should know how they are being evaluated on a regular basis before their formal periodic evaluation occurs.

Many performance problems can be caused by a lack of necessary coaching and performance feedback. If there is an evaluation problem, it may be caused by the lack of day-to-day feedback on both effective and ineffective performance. Many managers tend to focus on the bad news and forget to recognize when things are going well. Recognition for a job well done can be a vital part of the ongoing evaluation increase motivation and cost the organization very little.

One method that helps to highlight extremes in performance is the "significant incident" process, which includes formally documenting highly positive or negative performance. This ensures that the employee receives feedback that is part of the formal record.

V - Validity (valid and legal personnel practices). The term validity refers to the reality, appropriateness and legality of human resources decisions made by the manager. Managers need to make sure that decisions about people are appropriate in light of laws, social practices, and company policies. The manager should make sure that personnel practices do not discriminate against any specific group or individual and should be aware that organizations need valid and legal performance evaluations, training and promotion criteria selection techniques, and so on.

If there is a validity problem, the manager should check the truthfulness of their assumptions. Experiences should be documented and justified on the basis of performance-oriented criteria. Managers uncertain about validity issues should discuss them with the personnel department or the organization's leaders.

E - Environment (environmental fit). The term environment refers to the external factors that can influence performance even if the individual has all the ability, clarity, help, and incentive needed to do the job. Key elements of the environmental factors include competition, changing market conditions, government regulations, suppliers, and so on.

If there is an environmental problem beyond their control, employees should not be rewarded or reprimanded for performance. In short, employees should be expected to perform at a Level consistent with the limitations of their environment.

Using the ACHIEVE model will enable the manager to isolate the key factors that influence performance. Management experts are reaching agreement that performance is a function of motivation, ability, role perception, the organization and the environment. Put in simple terms, the employee has to have a certain degree of willingness to do the job, the necessary skills for task completion, a clear understanding of the task, organizational support and environment.

The ACHIEVE model uses feedback and validity. Feedback, which means that the employees need to know not just what to do but also how well they are doing it on an ongoing basis through day-to-day coaching or formal performance evaluation. Validity (or truthfulness of the reality) provide proofs that the whole system is in place such as job analyses, recruitment, appraisal, training, promotion, and dismissal.

The ACHIEVE model is an effective performance management framework that effectively integrates various management concepts. With this model, the major steps required in performance planning becomes easier, including the organizational development process that can be used to reinforce performance plans and develop employees and the organization. Conducting the formal performance review becomes an integral part of organizational review, which completes the performance management cycle.


PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT DESIRED: (Pinpoint the specific results to be achieved.)

A - Ability: How much ability does the person concerned possess? What skill or knowledge does he need to do the work? Does he have these skill and knowledge? How can I check?

C - Clarity: Is the person clear of his role, responsibility and authority? Is the job description clear?

H - Help: What tools, equipment, supplies, materials does he need to do the job? Are these available?

Where and how can he get them?

I - Incentive: What motivates him to perform" Can 1 give it? Is there an alternative'? What other form of incentive is available?

E - Evaluation (Performance feedback): How much does he know of his job results? Does he need to Know more? How can he get regular feedback?

V - Validitv: Is die desired improvement required? By whom?

E - Environment: Is the surrounding conducive to better performance? How can it be changed, maintained or improved.

The Core Strategy: Clarify the Purpose of Government

Lever Strategy Approaches
Purpose Core Strategy
  • Clarity of Purpose
  • Clarity of Role
  • Clarity of Direction
Incentives Consequences of Strategy
  • Managed Competition
  • Enterprise Management
  • Performance Management
Accountability Customer Strategy
  • Customer Choice
  • Competitive Choice
  • Customer Quality Assurance
Power Control Strategy
  • Organizational
  • Empowerment
  • Employee Empowerment
  • Community Empowerment
Culture Culture Strategy
  • Breaking Habits
  • Touching Hearts
  • Winning Hearts