Performance gap arises due to training? Mager & Pipe Model

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How many times have you heard employers’ complaints about their employees: “They are not motivated”, “They don’t put in effort to perform better”, “We’ve trained them again and again but they still don’t follow”, “There are training problems that prevent them from performing”?

A performance gap exists when there is a difference between ideal performance desired by the employers and current performance shown by the employees. Performance gaps can badly impact the business as companies do not achieve the expected productivity and outcome.

When the problem of performance gap arises, employers need to analyse performance problems and find optimal solutions. One possible cause of performance problems is ineffective training. To find out if performance issues can be solved by training, one can use a simple, structured and effective diagram- the Mager and Pipe’s Model.

In 1970, Robert Mager and Peter Pipe built a model to aid in performance analysis. The model is designed to help troubleshoot performance problems rather than provide a comprehensive analysis perspective.

Find a solution

It is “A framework for systematic problem solving which minimizes costly misjudgments and serves to guide both manager and employee toward successful resolution of performance problems.” (Allan, Reynolds, p. 88, 1983)

Performance Analysis Flow Diagram

In Mager and Pipe’s Flow Model, the first step is to identify performance problem.

These need to be

  • Measurable
  • Observable
  • Performance-based

It is followed by questions:

  • Is it worth solving?
  • Can we apply fast fixes?
  • Are the consequences appropriate?
  • Is there skill deficiency?
  • Are there other causes?
  • Which solutions are the best?

Under each of these categories, there are decision points like yes/no questions to assess the situations, making the model systematic and simple. An additional advantage of this framework is its focus on cost effectiveness, such as assessing if the problem is worth solving or guiding users to choose non-training solutions over the more expensive training solutions.

Complex Problem

Nonetheless, it is believed by many professionals that the model is way too simple to resolve complex issues. A “yes” or “no” answer could be insufficient to address problems that are caused by multiple reasons and call for multiple solutions.  

That said, the Mager and Pipe’s Model is still a systematic, simple and powerful tool, which works effectively as a starting guideline to understand performance problems and build up the solutions for them.  

Up your employees’ skills to fill the performance gap with these training courses 


Mager & Pipe Model


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