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21st Century Performance Standards

Our society is driven by performance standards, formal and informal, stretching our capacity to produce to record levels. Previous generational standards no longer fit for the new millennial workforce. Production is secondary to passion and purpose in developing the new workforce.

Measurement Features

Performance measurements are usually linked to productivity. Productivity in the aerospace industry, as a project manager, meant achievement of monthly goals established for shipments of hardware in terms of sales dollars. Performance measurements included achieving shipment goals, interpersonal relationships with co-workers, initiative in problem solving, work habits and continued professional development. Accordingly, some measurements were solely numeric and objective while others were personal and subjective; examples of hard and soft metrics.

Most sales performance measurements are solely statistical – the amount of product that was sold and shipped. Sales performance is measured by volume, market penetration and customer re-orders. The best salespeople were the ones who developed strong relationships with their customers. Now green business practices and social responsibility standards are affecting the way we do business globally as the market expands and sustainability has become an issue. New business models are emerging. Education is taking on a new role for globalization and sustainability.

In the managed care arena, specifically with developmentally disabled adults, measurements included accomplishments of client community skills development, individual life skills development and accomplishment of goals set by the managed care staff for each client. Staff is measured by quality of service, rapport with clients and adherence to company policies when in the field.

Performance measurements in education include increases in the student’s test scores, academic level of achievement, self-assessment ability and development of rapport with students, faculty and administration. Performance measurement further extends into the community at large in hopes of increased environmental and social responsibility. These areas of focus are further broken down into evaluation of classroom atmosphere, student activities, professional characteristics and, most importantly, self assessment.

Personal agendas and unspoken unfulfilled expectations of management can become areas of contention within the performance review scenarios of each of the industries. This brings us to the personal selection of performance measurements. Multiple intelligence assessments require observational expertise as does emotional intelligence.

Performance Capacity for the New Millennium

In any industry the products or services really do not matter as it is the human factor, people, that makes everything work. It is difficult, at best, to define ‘happiness’ in the workplace and to assign measurable values to determine the extent to which ‘happiness’ is achieved. It is well established that happy employees are the most productive. It can be noted that happy people get more done with less supervision and given freedom and tools can surpass expectations.

The project plan calls for developing a holistic approach to education within a peer community school framework. It is a unique approach to nurturing students through engaging their natural capacity for learning on their schedules. American education has reversed this capacity through memorization and testing rather than drawing out the students natural desire for learning and performance. Constructive conversations teach the art of effective communication.

Developing a new assessment tool for the administration, support staff, and teachers is both challenging and rewarding. First, we will be using the philosophy of flow, as noted by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in “.” Peter Senge’s work as presented in “The Fifth Discipline- The Art & Performance of The Learning Organization” will also be used to develop measurements that fit with the development of the individual and the organization.

The students’ measurements would include self-assessment development, academic achievements using a variety of assessment models, socialization development using group and individual performance standards, and life skills readiness measurements. The school’s performance would be measured by enrolled capacity, academic and social achievement in the community.

These will no doubt include the aforementioned areas, including adherence to current State Standards, yet seeking to simplify the measurements so that both hard and soft tools can be used effectively. During initial development of the peer community scholastic concept, Search Institute's 40 Developmental Assets echoed the quality control considerations of the researchers and teachers involved in the project development. Those deserve sharing here as well:

Search Institute's 40 Developmental Assets


-Family support: Family life provides high levels of love and support.
-Positive family communication: Young person and parent(s) communicate positively, and young person is willing to seek parental advice and counsel.
-Other adult relationships: Young person receives support from three or more non-parent adults.
-Caring neighborhood: Young person experiences caring neighbors.
-Caring school climate: School provides a caring, encouraging environment.
-Parent involvement in schooling: Parent(s) are actively involved in helping young person succeed in school.


-Community values youth: Young person perceives that adults in the community value youth.
-Youth as resources: Young people are given useful roles in the community
-Service to others: Young person serves in the community one hour or more per week
-Safety: Young person feels safe at home, at school, and in the neighborhood.

Boundaries and Expectations

-Family boundaries: Family has clear rules and consequences, and monitors the young person’s whereabouts.
-School boundaries: School provides clear rules and consequences.
-Neighborhood boundaries: Neighbors take responsibility for monitoring young people’s behavior.
-Adult role models: Parent(s) and other adults model positive, responsible behavior.
-Positive peer influence: Young person’s best friends model responsible behavior.
-Positive peer influence: Young person’s best friends model responsible behavior.

Constructive Use of Time

-Creative activities: Young person spends three or more hours per week in lessons or practice in music, theater, or other arts.
-Youth programs: Young persona spends three or more hours per week in sports, clubs, or organizations at school or in community organizations.
-Religious community: Young person spends one or more hours per week in activities in a religious institution.
-Time at home: Young person is out with friends, with ‘nothing special to do,’ tow nights or fewer per week.

Commitment to Learning

-Achievement motivation: Young person is motivated to do well in school.
-School engagement: Young person is actively engaged in learning.
-Homework: Young persona reports doing at least one hour of homework every school day.
-Bonding to school: Young person cares about school.
-Reading for pleasure: Young person reads for pleasure three or more hours per week

Positive Values

-Caring: Young person places high value on helping other people.
-Equality and social justice: young persona places high value on promoting equality and reducing hunger and poverty.
-Integrity: Young person acts on convictions and stands up for beliefs.
-Honesty: Young person tells the truth even when it is not easy.
-Responsibility: Young person accepts and take personal responsibility.
-Restraint: young person believes it is important not to be sexually active or to use alcohol or other drugs.

Social Competencies

-Planning and decision-making: young person knows how to plan ahead and make choices.
-Interpersonal competence: young person has empathy, sensitivity, and friendship skills.
-Cultural competence; Young persona has knowledge of and comfort with people of different cultural, racial, and ethnic backgrounds.
-Resistance skills: Young person can resist negative peer pressure and dangerous situations.
-Peaceful conflict resolution: young person seeks to resolve conflict nonviolently.

Positive Identity

-Personal power: young person feels in control over “things that happen to me.”
-Self-esteem: Young person reports having high self-esteem.
-Sense of purpose: Young person reports that “my life has a purpose.”
-Positive view of personal future: Young person is optimistic about personal future.

Creating an Atmosphere of Collaboration

Necessarily invoking a collaborative effort reveals and incorporates the expectations of each stakeholder, staff and student alike, in the development of the performance standards. Conversations are guided to acknowledge previously unspoken and unfulfilled expectations that impeded performance and the development of healthy relationships. Every voice is heard and sense made common naturally brings stakeholders toward cohesive and cooperative efforts.

In the new models whether business, educational or social there are components that promote responsibility and transparency with no hidden agendas. Clarity of role responsibility and encouragement to communicate concerns openly tends to increase productivity. Organizational relatives take pride in their work at all levels. Leadership that examples organizational culture, mission and vision at every opportunity builds allegiance, loyalty and trust.

In all reality there are few organizations that apply these principles. The 40 Development Assets can apply to organizational relatives (employees, leadership, staff, stakeholders) as well. As we move into the 21st century companies like Mind Valley, for example, are demonstrating what effective company development can achieve. We are all striving to craft relation-ships on the ocean of emotion that thrive on the currents of faith, love and trust in our fellow human beings. The more we love and are loved, the more we grow and the better the world becomes.

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Zen Benefiel, Be The Dream LLC
1810 W. Maplewood Pl
Chandler, AZ 85286

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