Performance DNA Methodology

Performance DNA is a people-focused, results-based performance improvement methodology used to analyze human performance to improve organizational effectiveness.  It was designed to achieve organizational goals and close performance gaps by optimizing the performance of individuals in key roles. It was developed by human performance experts (including our own Dr. McGraw) based on 40 years of best practices in the field of human performance engineering. During the construction of Performance DNA, Dr. McGraw included many of the tools, techniques, and wisdom from the fields of cognitive psychology and knowledge engineering (McGraw & Harbison-Briggs, Knowledge Acquisition). Thus, the methodology enables human performance improvement (HPI) practitioners to "unlock" the blueprint for optimum performance in a way that can be transferred throughout the organization. We use components of Performance DNA for all Silver Bear Group performance improvement and organizational effectiveness projects.

Unlike traditional performance improvement processes that target substandard performers to find ways to improve performance, Performance DNA analyzes your star (key) performers in a selected role. The analysis focuses on the major areas known to enable peak performance. The goal is to isolate techniques that can be used to move the bell curve for this job role forward, increasing the percentage of the population that performs at above-standard levels. The resulting performance gain helps you achieve greater organizational effectiveness and productivity, without adding additional staff or exhausting your star performers. 

Performance DNA has been adopted by ATD in its Human Performance Improvement certificate program, and over 7,000 professionals have been trained in its use. It has been applied to reduce performance gaps for jobs ranging from manufacturing/line-level jobs, to middle and executive management positions in both industry and government. 

How it Works

Performance DNA was designed to eliminate certain flaws in existing performance improvement processes. It takes a results-based approach, focusing first on the outcomes that star performers in a selected job produce. The results-based approach reduces the time that was historically required for performance analysis, allowing practitioners to complete analysis projects in weeks, rather than months. This approach provides clients with the answers they need faster, allowing them to more quickly implement recommendations to enhance the percentage of performers who can produce exemplary outputs.

Key Features

​Business and results-driven--focused on the business or organizational goal(s) that defines the current performance gap that will be affected by improved performance ​ Eye on performance--select criteria to be used to identify key performers who will be interviewed and observed Outcome-oriented analysis--start with the end in mind--the primary outcomes of the job--and then focus on the most critical outcomes to reveal how the primary outcomes are produced and how to improve performance and organizational effectiveness Efficient--designed to reduce analysis time from 20-50%. Most Performance DNA projects are conducted over the course of approximately 6-8 weeks, depending on the population size of the job to be analyzed.  Download a free overview of Performance DNA. Read our post about Performance DNA on ATD's Human Capital blog. ​ Contact us for more information about Performance DNA and our analysis approach.