The Performance Triangle

A Model for Corporate Agility

Authors: Herb Nold and Lukas Michel

Leadership & Organization Development" Journal, Vol. 37 No. 3, 2016. 

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The scientific foundation of the performance triangle model relationships.

The purpose of this paper is to synthesize ten years of case studies and data analysis from which emerged an organizational design that facilitates adaptability, agility, and resilience. The resulting triangular model of culture, leadership, and systems is proposed.

Analysis of over 100 case studies over ten years along with statistical analysis of survey data from 50 of those companies resulted in the emergence the triangular model and provides quantitative support for validity.

People drive a complex and dynamic system with culture, leadership, and systems as key factors driving organizational success in a rapidly changing environment. The critical factor inadapting to change is designing organizations to maximize the vast tacit knowledge base within organizations. Diagnostic tools are necessary to identify underlying strengths and weaknesses to initiate targeted discussions and provide a baseline for measurement.

The emergent people-centric triangular model with culture, leadership, and systems at the points along with the development of a diagnostic tool offers a methodology for executives to gain valuable insight into critical elements of their organizations from which to initiate constructive dialogue leading to effective action.

Many authors have offered theories on developing agile organizations. The emergent people-centric performance triangle and evolving diagnostic instrument add to the body of existing literature and lays the groundwork for practical tools and methods to yield practical results.

External Adaptability of Higher Education Institutions

The Use of Diagnostic Interventions to Improve Agility

Authors Rana Zeine, Cheryl A. Boglarsky, Patrick Belssinger and Lukas Michel

Change Management: An International Journal, Volume 13, Issue 4, 2014.

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External Adaptability is an outcomes measure of organizational effectiveness reflecting proficiency levels in responding to external change. Many higher education institutions are interested in reshaping their goals to better meet the needs of a growing global market. To analyze External Adaptability, 52 higher education faculty and administrators from institutions in more than 16 countries were surveyed using the Human Synergistics International Organizational Effectiveness Inventory® (OEI®) Survey. Results revealed that External Adaptability scores fell below both the Historical Average (50th percentile) and the Constructive Benchmark. Subgroup analysis revealed that scores were below the Historical Average for faculty, administrators, males, females, and private- and public not-for-profits. By contrast, scores approached the Historical Average (50th percentile) in private for-profits, and exceeded the Constructive Benchmark in public for-profits. Trends for slightly higher scores were noted for administrators and males as compared to faculty and females respectively. To improve agility in higher education institutions, further diagnostic analysis of organizational decision making is warranted. The Performance Triangle diagnostic model is discussed and the use of the Agilityinsights Diagnostic™ Survey from Agility Insights AG is recommended. Attaining high External Adaptability is critical for the future of higher education.

The Performance Triangle

A Diagnostic Tool to Help Leaders Translate Knowledge into Action

Author: Lukas Michel

Organizational Cultures: An International Journal, Volume 12, Issue 2, June 2013.

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It is so obvious: “People are the most important assets.” But good intentions are not good enough to win the game in today’s complex, uncertain, and knowledge-driven environment. The task is to make it real. First, this means getting people to collaborate and provide the means to find the purpose, rather than command and control. Second, to enable leadership teams to provide choice, to raise the awareness for what is important, and to help people to remain focused on the things that matter most. Leadership, systems, and culture frame the performance triangle. It offers both a diagnostic tool to help leaders decode and design the routines, rules, and practices for superior decision making, and a coaching approach with three parts: observation, response, and success. The insights from ten years of research with the diagnostic tool help leaders build organizations for superior innovation and growth. This paper will engage readers in a diagnostic with 10 observation points and 7 questions to help them coach leadership teams and build a working environment where people use their full potential to translate knowledge into action.

Understanding Decision Making in Organizations...

...to focus its practices where it matters most.

Author: Lukas Michel

Measuring Business Excellence, Jan/Feb 07, Vol 11.

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The ability to make good decisions is the defining attribute of a high performance organization. The challenge is to ensure that good decision making practices permeate the entire organization. As organizations grow, employees make decisions in an increasingly complex, ambiguous, and uncertain environment. Formal practices enable employees to make decisions that are meaningful to the firm’s stakeholders and guide their behaviors to align with the strategic intent of the firm as well as its values and norms.


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Conference Presentations

Management Tools for the New Workplace: Presentation at the 2014 PMA Conference in Aarhus, Denmark, 25.-27. June 2014.

The Performance Triangle for Organizational Agility: Concept and Empirical Support. 13th International Conference on Knowledge, Culture and Change in Organisations, 13. /14. June 2013, Vancouver. Prof. Dr. Herb Nold, Polk College and Lukas Michel

External Adaptability of Higher Education Institutions: The Use of Diagnostic Interventions to Improve Agility. 13th International Conference on Knowledge, Culture and Change in Organisations, 13. /14. June 2013, Vancouver. Prof. Dr. Rana Zeine, Saint James School of Medicine, Bonaire Caribbean Netherlands and Lukas Michel

Designing Performance Systems for the Knowledge Age: PMA 2012 Conference, From Strategy to Delivery, University of Cambridge, UK, 11 - 13 July 2012.

The Performance Triangle: 12th International Conference on Knowledge, Culture and Change in Organisations, 6.-8. July 2012, Chicago.

Measuring Decision-Making in Organizations: PMA 2006 Conference, Performance Measurement and Management, Public and Private, London, UK, 25-28 July 2006.


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