Behavior-Based Performance Management

Discover how Dallas-based Lone Star uses Behaviors to hire right and groom their next generation of leaders

Behavior-based management is the ‘simple principle’ that People Perform Best when they know:

  • What they are supposed to do
  • How they are supposed to do it
  • How they are doing
  • And, what is in it for them

When looking at this simple principle, I really see no difference between performance-based management and behavior-based management except for the management styles used to achieve the corporate goals. The bottom line is still…how do we perform to increase revenue and keep customers happy?
The behavioral based model requires managers to elicit positive behaviors from their employees by placing emphasis on: collaboration, culture and ethics, mentoring and focusing on “team”, and strong employee relationship building. By practicing this model of organic leadership growth, companies can identify who makes the behavioral cut and who doesn’t. From this determination, new leaders are further groomed to meet the set of behaviors that reflect the company’s beliefs, values and priorities.

So, let’s start at the beginning… the hiring process. Many resumes reflect similar skills and education. But, how does one assess behaviors that are key to their company’s culture? In an article posted by Work 911, the Ford Group shared Fifty Behavior Based Interview Questions that are sure to add another dimension to the average candidate evaluation process. Although written in 2006, I consider these some of the best behavior-probing questions I’ve ever encountered.
Subsequently, how do we implement a workplace of behavior-based management? In August of this year, I attended a luncheon hosted by DallasHR, “What Your CEO Needs from HR.” During the session, it became apparent that the speaker’s management philosophy was different, “unique” as he called it. So, I introduced myself after the presentation and invited this unique CEO to lunch…… just to pick his brain.
A little bit about Steve Roemerman: Steve is the CEO and founder of Lone Star, headquartered in Dallas, Texas. Twelve years ago, after leaving a Fortune 50 corporation, Steve and two partners founded a company that provides tech-enabled services and advanced analytics software, including AnalyticsOS for the Internet of Things. In other words, Lone Star helps their customers become winners. Some of the same philosophies he shares about business operations flow directly over to how Lone Star guides its customers to success.
Steve also shared his Level Definitions of employee behaviors that are expected, starting at Level 1 and moving right up to the Executive level. Once you read through them, you will have a much greater sense of what behavior-based management in the workplace looks like. By the way, OMPF is an acronym created by Lone Star, meaning: Objectivity, Professionalism, and Management by Fact.
How has living by these behavioral definitions impacted his workforce?
“It is empowering.” says Steve, “Our folks know they are authorized to go and do good work, and that we are trying to catch them doing it”…You may not have a job with impressive authority, or a lofty position, but everyone can be a good influencer, and everyone can accept responsibility. We stress the power of PAIR, (Position, Authority, Influence, and Responsibility) and encourage our employees to grow into their ‘PA’ by using their ‘IR’ muscles!”
It’s all about Collaboration, the key to what Steve calls Lone Star’s “prized behavior.”
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“Star employees are expected to collaborate, supporting the efforts of others and acting as an ambassador in and outside our firm. They are expected to be aware and supportive of other company functions. Examples of collaborative behavior including taking the “we” not “I” approach, being flexible, working closely to conduct peer reviews and being willing to confidently offer alternatives in spite of potential rejection. This includes simple acts of courtesy like giving others credit and being grateful. This is contrasted by behaviors which are not appropriate, such as taking credit for the work of others, withholding support and information others need, or focusing only on one aspect of work.”
Some of the most challenging issues in today’s workplaces are retention of top talent, recruitment of the best resources in a competitive market, and growing your next leaders from within. When asked about the the most challenging objectives for Lone Star in 2016, Steve shared the following:
“We are a high growth company with exciting challenges for our bright people. But growth is hard to manage in a small firm. We have to keep the staff sized to our workload, have enough capacity for the next surge, and keep people challenged. This is really hard. It might be impossible except for folks are deeply invested in this, and have done amazing things so we don’t have to be perfect managers.”
So, what is the “Lone Star philosophy” on performance management? “We can’t manage performance because it is in the past. We can manage the behaviors which lead to successful performance. But, most firms don’t think very hard about this. It is hard; but it’s easier than trying to manage history… performance that has already happened is history.”  
The practice of managing historical performance is fading into the woodwork. Companies are throwing out their annual reviews and selecting tools that help them transition to the “simple principals” of performance management. Whether its a behavior-based culture or an execution-based culture, emphasis remains on outcomes. It’s not a secret that people perform best when they know what to do; how they are supposed to do it; are told how they are doing and understand what’s in it for them. Continual feedback, encouragement and reinforcement of values and expected behaviors is required to create the engaged workforce you need to compete in today’s marketplace.
So, Join the Performance Revolution today and get going in the right direction.
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