L&D/PI: Performance Competence – That’s What It’s All About

My Definition of Performance Competence

Your definition may vary.

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Stakeholders Set the Requirements

No one else. And Stakeholder Requirements in conflict – which does happen – can be balanced. And resolved.

Here is a 1995 article of mine about that:

The Customer Is King – Not! – 15 page PDF – the original version of the article published in the Journal for Quality and Participation in March 1995 – address Balancing Conflicting Stakeholder Requirements, and suggests that the Customer is Not the King of Stakeholders (despite the unfortunate slogans from the Quality movement despite Deming’s admonitions about slogans).

Slide2

Enterprise Provisioning Systems Deliver Outputs and Outcomes to be Used and/or Consumed By the Processes

Assuming that the Process has been designed to meet the Stakeholder Requirements – then that Process needs to be enabled.

Slide3

Determine the Outputs and Tasks and Then the Enablers

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What the Human Assets Bring to the Process Party

If the phrase “Human Assets” make you uncomfortable – don’t have a cow – change it.

The phrase was in use in the 1980s and I’m trying to be consistent with my prior writings since way back then. So as to not confuse those who read those writings.

Slide5

What the Environmental Assets Bring to the Process Party

These are the non-human/people assets necessary to bring a paper Process to life.

Slide6

Interventions of All Types May Be Found Appropriate in Improvement Efforts

It is not simple. It is complex.

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Some of My Related Books

Plus check other Resources in the Resources Tab and my Blog Posts.

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For more information about these 6 books and some of my other books – please go – here.

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L&D: Hungry Dogs Are Motivated

Note: The late Claude (Butch) Lineberry (1940-2003) was a fixture at NSPI/ISPI and I valued the lessons I learned … a lot from sitting in his conference presentations – and even more from his participation in the deep debates with other ISPI thought leaders at the hotel bar in the evenings. Ah, the old days. 

Something on Social Media yesterday about the media used in Learning triggered my memory of a quote from Butch – about a Hungry Dog. It seems we – in my SM circles anyway – are and/or have clients – who are not as hungry for learning in any mode/media nowadays. But I’m pretty damn sure that’s not a universal truth. 

This morning I dug through my files for this contribution from him in 2000 which I happily share with you today…

NOTES FROM THE RESIDENT CURMUDGEON

The Medium is the Massage…Not the Message

Claude S. Lineberry

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My problem, dear reader, is that having lived to within hailing distance of three score years on this planet, I seem to have lived too long. I can’t remember PIN numbers — any of them — so I have them written down on a card in my wallet, labeled “PIN numbers.” Making a call from a pay phone (they are still called pay phones, aren’t they?) has become impossibly complex, requiring the punching in of hundreds of digits that I have been no more successful at memorizing than my PIN numbers. Don’t even let me get started on e-mail, which everyone assumes I check every 83 seconds when in reality I only check it on Memorial Day and Labor Day, and then only with expert assistance from my 8-year-old son.

I am appalled at what people wear to the theater, and at their arriving late, and talking on cellular phones, and eating fat-free corn chips during the performance. I am nauseated at the salaries paid to 19-year-old professional athletes and 55-year-old CEOs, especially when compared to what we pay the 27 remaining truly excellent public school teachers in this country.

Someone ruined The New Yorker magazine while I was attempting to make a telephone call, and “customer service representatives” and “waitpersons” who are younger than my tweed jacket and whom I have never met call me by my first name. (“Well, you could do that Claude, but I don’t think coming down here and ripping the manager’s head off will help us with our problem, do you?”).

But enough about me! I catalog these tribulations only as context to what I’m about to say about us. ISPI. You. Me. Them, standing over there looking mildly interested. Having observed the evolution of human performance technology over the last 32 years while simultaneously continuing to observe the broader culture of which our technology is a small but promising component, I find myself, alas, no wiser. Only older and more confused.

I have reached one solid conclusion out of it all, however. Marshall McLuhan was wrong. The medium is not the message. Never was. Never will be. The message is the message. The medium is the massage. We seem, within our little community and within the world at large, to fail to understand this most basic concept and to confuse one for the other.

A global example. The recent death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in a traffic accident in Paris and the attendant public reaction to it which seemed, to me, unreasonable to the point of mass hysteria. Millions of people who had never met Diana, never laid eyes on her except in the print and broadcast media, never contributed to her charities, and in fact knew less about her than they do about the migratory route of the wildebeest were suddenly beside themselves with grief! A lynch mob was sanctioned in Paris, beatification seriously discussed, visions appeared, and within hours of her unfortunate demise, a half dozen “condolence” web sites were up and running!

To what was this emotional reaction; the death of Diana the person, or the death of Diana the cultural icon, created by the media and Diana over the last 15 years? To the message or the massage. I would suggest that it was to the latter, not to the real loss of Diana the person we didn’t know, but to the imagined loss of Diana the media creation, something that was never really there.

What, you rightfully ask, does this predictably pragmatic view have to do with ISPI? At last year’s Annual Conference in Anaheim, I attended a session on the future of performance technology featuring Dale Brethower, Don Tosti, and Danny Langdon — arguably two and a half or three of the best minds in the field, representing a wonderful mix of logic, thoughtfulness, tough-mindedness, vision, and humor. It was a marvelous session — delightfully disorganized, energetic, insightful, provocative, and challenging. The discussion and questions from the audience that followed brought even more richness, and I left it with some new ideas and things to think about.

Imagine my shock and subsequent horror upon overhearing several members of the session’s audience conducting a hallway critique in terms of the presenters’ overhead transparencies (“I can’t believe they didn’t use Powerpoint!”), their style (“Not one repeated the audience question, so I couldn’t understand the answer!”), and their handouts (“Only one had handouts, and they aren’t very slick-looking!”). I paused to inquire gently as to any relevance or value of the content of the session — you know, what was said and discussed — and met with an uncomfortable pause and looks of disbelief.

Message lost, a casualty of inadequate massage. Lost to a priority on cosmetics over content. My goodness, a Stephen Hawking special on PBS must drive people like this straight to the nearest mall to seek refuge in the Covey shop! Fondle a few coffee mugs… lick a poster… sip some herbal tea… whatever.

It is clear to me now why only a handful of the thousands who own a copy of Tom Gilbert’s Human Competence have actually read it, why we have enjoyed what Joe Harless has said over the years about public education but never given his message the attention it deserves, why Bob Mager’s elegant presentation of concepts and models may actually detract from their implementation, why we needed a Mike Hammer to “discover” re-engineering in 1993 when Geary Rummler has been quietly telling us about it since 1985, and why Tosti’s powerful models for developmental and motivational feedback remain largely unapplied. We pay so much attention to the cosmetics of delivery that we fail to hear or heed the real message!

It is also now clear to me how the Tom Peters and Stephen Coveys of the world can get $50,000 a pop for saying things like “Corporate America is dead… we’re all screwed… it’s your fault,” or “Go where your heart tells you but carry a bus schedule” to enormous groups of people who actually take notes!

Admittedly, Gilbert is a tough read, Harless is overwhelming and arrogant, Mager is disarmingly smooth and humorous, Rummler is deceptively understated, and Tosti’s mind continually outdistances his mouth. All are brilliant resources to newcomer and old timer as well.

What a pity for us not to hear and understand what they and others have to say because we find acquiring their message difficult, or worse, we don’t attempt to acquire the message because we find the massage — the cosmetics — inadequate!

Conversely and perhaps sadder, an alarming number respond with glassy-eyed obeisance to the current hype about such things as EPSS and multi-media which are, in reality, a big computer job aid and a combination of rather traditional delivery systems — relatively valueless in and of themselves.

This leads me, quite naturally, to the Eleventh Commandment: Quality is Quality and Crap is Crap No Matter What the Delivery Medium, or, as translated from the original Tibetan, “A hungry dog is not prevented from eating by the color of the bowl.”

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Just what are our priorities and responsibilities as learners and leaders, and how hungry are we?

Butch on Video

“Self-esteem does not build performance competence – but performance competence does a hell of a lot for self-esteem.”

We lost this curmudgeon way too soon.

RIP Butch – despite our continued fumblings. RIP.

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Social and Anti-Social Practices Within Processes – By Design

Where to Tune Up Social Capabilities & Capacities at the Right Time in the Right Place for the Right End-Purposes

An existing graphic I am using here to establish a visual framework for the 8 Steps (or Phases, or Tasks, etc.) for what follows.

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What follows is my attempt to list key activities where Social Capabilities and Capacity might be a key leverage point. And might be in need of examination and improvement.

EPPI Stage II - Complex Workstreams

Exploring 8 Typical Steps

This is an example project with 3 major workstreams – each having to come together at key points to insure final success.

  1. Macro Project Planning
  2. Analysis
  3. Design
  4. Design Integration & Test
  5. Development
  6. Development Integration & Test
  7. Pilot Test
  8. Revision & Release

My purpose here is to simply list the generic Activities within such as Step –  in one of two categories:

  • Social Activity
  • Non-Social Activity

What is Social?

In my view:

Social : is simply human interaction.

For a deliberate purpose – or – “no purpose at all” … or so said Chuck Berry in song as he cruised in his automobile.

Most of our concerns are with better processes and practices and tools to assist us in being more Social – in terms of our effectiveness and efficiency in achieving the deliberate purpose.

Socialis means to some end or ends. Social is a Practice – at various levels – within Processes.

How Do We Do Social? 

Sometimes actual face-to-face. And sometimes virtual face-to-face … or voice-to-voice … or email-to-email … or text-to-text – or some variation of those on some unique platform or set of platforms.

Some social means are better than other social means – to get to the ends – as situationally determined.

And sometimes we do these Social Interactions Synchronously and sometimes Asynchronously.

Sometimes – maybe even most times – we wish we could be more synchronous – as we tried to be more quick about our planning-doing-reviewing and transitioning cycles and subcycles – or whatever you call that pattern.

These are our bottlenecks – our inability to do everything with everyone needed … in real time/synchronously … and so we settle for asynchronous practices.

We want better – faster – cheaper. Like everyone else. All at once. When that is often not feasible.

How and where in our project efforts – and non-project efforts – should we deliberately work to improve our Social Capabilities and Capacity?

Use the general list and framework below to think about your own specifics.

Your might be workstream C.

EPPI Stage II - Complex Workstreams

Step-By-Step

  1. Macro Project Planning

    • Typical Social Activities
      • Getting Inputs for Plan Development activities individually and/or in groups; synchronously and asynchronously
      • Draft Plan Development activities individually and/or in groups; synchronously and asynchronously
      • Draft Plan reviews/commentary activities individually and/or in groups; synchronously and asynchronously
    • Typical Non-Social Activities
      • Preparing, Coordinating and Plan Development activities and schedule (the detailed level perhaps) alone and without additional inputs
  2. Analysis

    • Typical Social Activities
      • Preparation activities individually and/or in groups; synchronously and asynchronously
      • Coordinating Logistics activities individually and/or in groups; synchronously and asynchronously
      • Conducting some types of analysis activities individually and/or in groups; synchronously and asynchronously
    • Typical Non-Social Activities
      • Preparing, Coordinating and Conducting some types of Analysis activities
  3. Design

    • Typical Social Activities
      • Preparation activities individually and/or in groups; synchronously and asynchronously
      • Coordinating Logistics activities individually and/or in groups; synchronously and asynchronously
      • Conducting some types of Design activities individually and/or in groups; synchronously and asynchronously
    • Typical Non-Social Activities
      • Preparing, Coordinating and Conducting some types of Design activities
  4. Design Integration & Test

    • Typical Social Activities
      • Preparation activities individually and/or in groups; synchronously and asynchronously
      • Coordinating Logistics activities individually and/or in groups; synchronously and asynchronously
      • Conducting some types of Design Integration & Testing activities individually and/or in groups; synchronously and asynchronously
    • Typical Non-Social Activities
      • Preparing, Coordinating and Conducting some types of Design Integration & Testing activities
  5. Development

    • Typical Social Activities
      • Preparation activities individually and/or in groups; synchronously and asynchronously
      • Coordinating Logistics activities individually and/or in groups; synchronously and asynchronously
      • Conducting some types of Development activities individually and/or in groups; synchronously and asynchronously
    • Typical Non-Social Activities
      • Preparing, Coordinating and Conducting some types of Development activities
  6. Development Integration & Test

    • Typical Social Activities
      • Preparation activities individually and/or in groups; synchronously and asynchronously
      • Coordinating Logistics activities individually and/or in groups; synchronously and asynchronously
      • Conducting some types of Development Integration & Testing  activities individually and/or in groups; synchronously and asynchronously
    • Typical Non-Social Activities
      • Preparing, Coordinating and Conducting some types of Development Integration & Testing activities
  7. Pilot Test

    • Typical Social Activities
      • Preparation activities individually and/or in groups; synchronously and asynchronously
      • Coordinating Logistics activities individually and/or in groups; synchronously and asynchronously
      • Conducting some types of Pilot Testing activities individually and/or in groups; synchronously and asynchronously
    • Typical Non-Social Activities
      • Preparing, Coordinating and Conducting some types of Pilot Testing activities
  8. Revision & Release

    • Typical Social Activities
      • Preparation activities individually and/or in groups; synchronously and asynchronously
      • Coordinating Logistics activities individually and/or in groups; synchronously and asynchronously
      • Conducting some types of Revision & Release activities individually and/or in groups; synchronously and asynchronously
    • Typical Non-Social Activities
      •  Preparing, Coordinating and Conducting some types of the Revision & Release activities – by design

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What’s shared across all of this is a need for better synchronous and asynchronous tools PRACTICEs within our PROCESSEs that are enabled by shared TOOLs. for doing any upfront preparation and logistics coordination and the actual work and the reviews/updates to that work.

There Are Tools Aplenty

Lots of Tools exist that enable Social Practices.

That’s a bit of an issue at times – but only in making the down-selection choice. Once the Processes – to be enabled by better more Social Practices – are understood.

Processes Aren’t Planned/Designed for Social

But Processes may not reflect good Social Practices in getting the real work done. Or they may be planned for, but incorrectly/unrealistically/poorly planned.

Planners may need to change that. And their clients then need to buy that.

Practices

Social Practices.

These are either expected … and modeled from the top-down … and reinforced in big and small ways – or they are not. It’s all about the Culture & Consequence System after declaring the goals and means and enabling it all with the infrastructure required.

And that includes making some old non-Social Processes and Practices more Social … and some others all Social.

Reflecting Back

Reflecting back to my joining Motorola in 1981 – they were on a campaign to radically change their culture – from the typical top-down culture – to a Participative Management culture.

Which meant opening up communications channels – social communication practices – to speed processes up and getting things done right – or more right – the first time. Which required a change of Practices, Tools and then the Process Planning and Conduct.

Accomplished by getting inputs and feedback and requirements from the front lines and all the support organizations and processes – better – faster – cheaper.

Social Is Simply a Practice Means to “Better – Faster – Cheaper” Processes and Products for Improved ROI

Or why bother?

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L&D: An Organizing Scheme for Performance Support Items

A.K.A.: Knowledge Management

That is, if you believe that a Knowledge Management System should contain Performance Support items – which IMO – includes Job Aids and all Self-Paced Formal Instruction/ Learning Content. Or – the links to them.

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Using My L-C-S Model of Departmental Processes

Process in that model are organized by

  • Leadership Processes
  • Core Processes
  • Support Processes

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Those are further broken down into:

  • Leadership Processes
    • Stakeholder Relationship Management/ System Governance
    • Strategic Planning & Management
    • Operations Planning & Management
    • Results Measurement Planning & Management
    • Process Improvement Planning & Management
    • Communications Planning & Management
  • Core Processes
    • Planning Work*
    • Assigning Work*
    • Monitoring Work*
    • Troubleshooting Work*
  • Support Processes
    • Process Design/ReDesign
    • Human Assets Management
    • Environmental Assets Management
    • Special Assignments

*What Work? The unique work Processes of the Department:

Sales does Sales. Finance does Finance. Engineering does Engineering. Etc.

Performance Analysis & Systematically Deriving the Enablers

… is my methodology-set for this.

Then I organize the content into these 5 buckets…

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Free Resource:

Modeling Mastery Performance and Systematically Deriving the Enablers for Performance Improvement – by Guy W. Wallace, CPT – Chapter 11 of the Handbook of Human Performance Technology – 3rd Edition – 2006.  25 page PDF.

Note: This methodology was first published in this 1984 article in ISPI’s (then NSPI’s) PIJ in November 1984.

Books For Sale:

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For more information about these and some of my other books – please go – here.

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L&D: My Learning Style Preference: Osmosis Learning

My Learning Style “Preference” Is Osmosis Learning

Elusive since the days of Grade School. Waiting on Science… Waiting… Waiting…

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I’m also looking forward to the George Jetson flying car. Come on Science!

Come on Man! Come on Woman!

A Decade’s Worth of Related Past Posts on LS

This Week’s L&D Buzz… Bogus Learning Styles in L&D

Learning Styles & the Importance of Critical Self-Reflection

Besides Learning Styles – Other ‘Zombie’ Theories That Should Rest In Peace

Five Grand – If You Can Meet the Learning Styles Challenge

Uppin’ the Ante: The Learning Styles Challenge for $5,000

Why Is the Research on Learning Styles Still Being Dismissed by Some Learning Leaders and Practitioners?

Noooooooooooooooooo! Not More Drivel on Learning Styles!!!

Voodoo and Foo Foo in L&D and PI About Learning Styles

New eLearn Magazine Article By Me On That “Learning Styles Myth”

Learning Styles: Wisdom of the Crowd – Not

Foo Foo About: Designing Instruction for Learning Styles Differences

It’s “Learning Styles” Deja Vu – All Over Again

Comment About 2007 Post About 2001 Newsletter Article on: Debunking Learning Styles

Learning Styles Don’t Exist – Intuitive or Not

Designers BEWARE: More Learning Styles “Crapola” on About.com

Truth or Not: Learning Styles and Brain-Based Education???

Learning Styles – A Bridge to Nowhere?

E-Learning “Learning Styles” Challenge for $1000.00

What is the “gap” in Generational Learning Styles?

Debunking the Myth – There Is No Such Thing As “Learning Styles”

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L&D: Focus on Tasks Not Topics

Topics Are Indeed a Means to an End

And at times a Topic/Topics may be a valid End in and of itself/themselves.

For example: a Policy change – for people already proficient in the Performance probably don’t need Task Training. They need Policy Learning.

Newbies might need Task Training/Learning – if they don’t have the prior knowledge.

As Always – It Depends.

It depends on the prior knowledge/skill of the Target Audience.

I’ve often been involved in ISD efforts where the new stuff needed 2 responses – one for the incumbents … with a short shelf life – used until all the incumbents have been caught up to the change — and one for new hires with a longer shelf life – so to speak. Whether the Response is a job aid or a self-paced set of content – or a some group-paced set of content – or some coached content.

As Always – It Depends.

If You Are Given Topics vs Tasks To Address

Try to determine how they apply to authentic Tasks and Outputs – and the Measures for each – or provide guidance on how the Learner can figure that out for themselves and then what/how to Practice – and from whom to get feedback from during and/or afterward that Practice.

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Focus on the Performance – and Enable That.

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