Saturday, April 25, 2009

Human Performance Improvement For Tactical Teams

Hathaway, D.J. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin. June 2008 Volume 77 Number 6

This article uses gap analysis, among other methods such as performance and business analysis, in order to reassess the effectiveness of the FBI's tactical teams. The article explains how in today's world, any disparity between a tactical teams standard operating procedure (SOP) and real world actions may have legal ramifications, as well as embarrass and/or damage the credibility of the agency. By using methods such as gap analysis, these shortcomings can be identified and avoided.

According to the article, a performance analysis, "explains the current state of the department's tactical team and defines the desired one...Performance analysis incorporates organizational, environmental, and gap analysis. " Thus the gap analysis is only one component of an overall performance analysis. "As the name implies, gap analysis defines the area between actual performance of the team and the desired level and, as such, constitutes the second stage of performance analysis."

"Whereas performance analysis identifies the problem or area of concern, gap analysis brings the issue to the forefront, begins to frame it in terms of human behaviors and expected outcomes, and addresses the complex issue of consequences." Tactical teams may identify a gap in shooting accuracy, which would be a performance state, and seek to correct that problem to align with the desired performance state. Consequences and outcomes addressed with this particular performance may be unnecessary loss of life and/or inability to stop a criminal.

Once the gap is identified, it needs to be prioritized. Some questions to ask are, "How often does the gap occur? How costly will it be to fix? Or, how important is the gap? What if the team did nothing? Discovering a gap does not mean that it can, should, or will be addressed." Once gaps are prioritized, they can be dealt with on a basis of whats more critical to success, and keep the analysis systematic and appropriate. As a complete method, gap analysis is only identified as a "critical step" in the "human performance improvement model" (see image above). This critical step serves to identify the performance issues and facilitate the next step, which is the investigation and correction of those issues.

Authors Comment: The article further highlights each step within the "human performance improvement model, however they were not addressed in this summary due to the focus solely on gap analysis.

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