PAMBO - A New Managers Story

March 31st, 2014

PAMBO - A New Managers Story

Michael Baker, a valued member of the Insight team, has spent many years facilitating management and leadership development programmes across private, public and third sectors. Through his own experience in management and his subsequent consultancy work, he has tried and tested many models of managing people. His increasing frustration with old models that focussed on control, led him to develop a different approach that puts the individual at the heart of managing people effectively.

Having tested; shaped and trialled this approach with help of a number of clients, themselves large employers, PAMBO emphases the behavioural element of performance and encourages managers to understand their people as the starting point for managing them better.

Michaels' book "PAMBO - A New Manager's Story" is a novel set around the train journey of a newly promoted manager (Paul). Paul develops a relationship on his commute with a lady who coaches him over a period of time through the principles of PAMBO annotated on "Pauls PAMBO Pad" of notes and ending in a rather nice twist (you'll need to read the book to find out!).

I have recently had the pleasure of co-facilitating a development workshop with Michael for one of our key clients and watched PAMBO come to life in the room. In essence:

Performance = Ability x Motivation x Behaviour x Opportunity

As each letter of the acronym is revealed, the discussion centres on what is relevant in the context of the participant, in this particular case within the education sector, and the key learning points teased out:

A persons PERFORMANCE is equal to their ABILITY, that means that they can do the job because they possess the necessary knowledge, skills and experience. Knowledge can be technical knowledge to do the job or organisational specific knowledge about how to get things done around here. Skills may well be a function of their natural aptitudes but may also be a function of the training received and the opportunities they have had to practice and develop their skills over time. And finally experience can vary from industry to industry, it may be the number of hours doing a job as in the case of flying hours for a pilot or it may be the experience of applying their skills and knowledge in a variety of settings, either way the amount of good quality experience an individual has is bound to affect their performance.

Their MOTIVATION to apply that Ability is critical to performance. By motivation we mean that they will do the job because they understand where the job fits in to the organisations objectives - understanding what brings out the best in a person; what gets in the way of them doing a great job; what drives their level of involvement, commitment and contribution. Understanding a team members motivation is a really important part of managing that person and a vital activity for managers to undertake. Asking direct questions such as what motivates you are very unlikely to produce useful answers, the question is too complex for a simple answer. Instead by direct observation and discussion around how to get the best out of an individual, a manager can get to the heart of what they can do to provide the environment in which an individual will be motivated.

Their BEHAVIOUR towards colleagues, suppliers and customers is the final part of the PAMBO model that the individual controls. Behaviour is about supporting team members, interacting with colleagues, suppliers and customers in an appropriate way. Managers need to provide feedback which focuses on specific behaviours, their impact and what actions you want to see in the future.

Finally the PAMBO model is completed by considering not what the individuals does or has but by what the organisation and the manager provides by way of OPPORTUNITY. This is all about what we give them in the form of resources, equipment, feedback and involvement. In other words what does the organisation provide to help people do a great job; the feedback and opportunities you as a manager give them to contribute and improve performance.

PAMBO in action

Michael's great ideas and delivery style really helped the model come alive on the course, however the participants got great benefit from a simple exercise that followed the input. Michael asked them to pair up with a colleague and to use the PAMBO model to analyse the performance of a good and not so good team member. The debriefing session was fantastic, the managers got great clarity around why an individual's performance was the way it was and how to either improve that performance or play more to their strengths.

If you are interested in purchasing the book then you can do so here. If you have already read it, then we are always interested to hear what you thought! Please feel free to share your comments below.

Insight team

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