VIE for Leaders and Facilitators
Back in 1964, Victor Vroom proposed an approach to understanding motivation and performance at work called Expectancy Theory, or VIE theory which stands for Value, Instrumentality, and Expectancy. Vroom suggested that for people to be motivated, three things needed to be in place. First, the individual should Value what the reward will be for their actions. Second, the individual should believe they have the skills and tools (Instrumentality) to complete the activities. Finally, the individual should believe that the rewards that have been promised to them for completing the work will be forthcoming (Expectancy). For example, if I tell you that I will give you a million dollars if you memorize the Hunger Games by tomorrow morning, it won’t be a motivator. The chances that you will be able to remember the book completely are low, and you would doubt that anyone would give you a million dollars for the task (this scenario lacks instrumentality, and Expectancy, but Value is high). Alternatively, consider that I offer you five dollars to read the book this week and then spend an hour relating the storyline back to me. Chances are you could do it (timeline and task seem reasonable), but you may not think the task worth five dollars (Instrumentality and Expectancy are in place, but Value is low.
Translating this to organization development interventions, when a group of people get into a room as part of an organization development or team development initiative, they are often presented with some kind of task (some simple examples would be the creation of a strategic plan or development of a social contract etc.).
When these tasks are presented, it is important to consider whether the Value, Instrumentality, and Expectancy are in place. For example, consider that past history of similar processes can color peoples opinion and judgment on the activities. If someone participated in a strategic planning process before, but subsequently the plan was not followed, the way they look at the Value of the process may be low. Similarly, if the process presented is too complex (contains too much irrelevant theory, or difficult to follow, the Instrumentality may be impacted). Finally, though, and perhaps most significantly, if participants believe that the plan will not be followed, or the newly created social contract would not be adhered to, then Expectancy related to the process will be low, and it may feel to them like the whole process is a waste of time.
So next time you are pulling a group together, either as a leader or a facilitator, consider these three questions:
- Will participants see (and value) the outcomes of the process?
- Is the process understandable, and easy to complete by the participants?
- What can be done to ensure (and reassure participants), that the results of the process will actually be enacted, used, or applied?
As with all theory’s, Vrooms has its critics, but I have found it practical in a variety of settings. It’s a great tool for a both leaders and facilitartors to do a quick check in on a proposed process.
Two-Step Performance Reviews
For many organizations March signals the end of the performance management cycle. Over the next few weeks, managers and employees will get together for a performance discussion, review last year’s objectives, and set new ones. Some managers, often for the sake of efficiency, provide performance feedback and set objective at the same meeting. Given people’s often hectic schedules, its seems like an efficient way to tackle the process – book time with an individual, review last year’s objectives, and set next years. Within an hour or so we can be all set – right? I think not.
Irrespective of whether the performance review is glowing or otherwise, it’s only fair to give people a chance to reflect on last year’s performance before objective setting the for the following year. For many, this reflection process requires some time and thought – more than just what is available during the performance discussion.
Booking a performance review meeting, and then a goal setting meeting two or three weeks later provides the time needed for team members to reflect on their performance and then set meaningful objectives for the year ahead. Yes, it will likely take more time and logistics to use this two-step approach, but saving time should not be the guiding principle for your performance review process.