In 1985 Joe Harless Taught Me and Others – To Always Say YES to a Request for Training!

I recall the late Joe Harless on the stage at a 1985 NSPI (now ISPI) Conference.

He was complaining about how some in attendance – and in general – were offering advice to others about saying “no” or pushing back to clients’ requests for training.

He said – something to the effect of – and in his own whiny voice …

“And when your client asks you for help in developing some training, do not, repeat, do not say (in a whiny voice)

“Are you sure it’s a training problem!?!”

Instead say,

“Yes – I can help you – and I can help you even more
if we can do a little analysis first!” 

That was his reply, his advice, to the client and to all of the assembled. At least that’s my cognitive recall so many years later – and we should all appreciate what that means.

He went on to say things to the effect that saying “no” would start off the relationship/effort poorly.

That saying yes started one on the right path in the relationship.

And that doing the analysis before design/development – should help that client and others see whether Training was the right approach, whether a Job Aid would be more appropriate, or whether knowledge and skills were not central to the need/opportunity/problem at hand and something else needed to be done.

Joe taught me to never say no. To always say yes.

And to include Analysis in the approach that followed. And to come to a shared understanding with the client – on that journey – to uncover the situation, the need, and the right solution-set.

The only time I ever missed a Harless session at NSPI/ISPI was when I myself was doing a session. Otherwise, his sessions were always the place to be.

Here is a 1985 article by Joe that reflects on his Conference presentation plus other Thoughts from Harless:

That’s how I have approached every request. I took it on, rationalized why and when and how – and insisted on doing analysis – quickly – using my Facilitated Group Process (which I’d been doing since 1979 when I could). And then – we’d let the “data chips” fall where they may.

I’ve written about this in another new book (with the editor at the moment) on “Performance Improvement Consulting” that I hope to have out sometime in mid-2022.

Basically – it addresses when an ISD effort – AFTER ANALYSIS – might: 1) continue as planned; 2) continue in parallel with a non-Instructional set of improvement interventions; 3) go on hold until a non-Instructional set of improvement interventions efforts were completed; or 4) pivot to exclusively address a non-Instructional set of improvement interventions.

I’ve had a number of projects do 2 and 3 and a couple that did 4. There’s always a need for performance-based Training for New Hires – so 2 and 3 have happened when 1 wasn’t the obvious route for continuation.

A Decade Ago

Here I am with Joe in 2012 at the ISPI 50th Anniversary Conference in Toronto. The camera caught me a bit off-guard – but not Joe.

And here is a past post about a novel by Joe Harless – a GREAT NOVEL IMO BTW:

"Black Warrior’s Curse" a Novel by Joe H. Harless

And here is a post regarding his impact to me professionally – one of 44 posts in my Blog Post Series: My First Friday Favorite Gurus:

Joe H. Harless – November 2012 – here. RIP

RIP Joe. And thanks for all of your lessons shared!


Go For Performance Short Video: Ideal Performance Analysis Data

Ideal Performance Analysis Data informs Lesson Mapping… and anchors the Lesson back to the authentic Performance required back-on-the-job – which is to Perform Tasks to Produce Outputs to Stakeholder Requirements. Ideal Performance Analysis Data guides the backward design of authentic Application Exercises, Demonstrations, and the minimal information required to develop the targeted Performance Competence levels.

Effective Lesson Maps are informed by Performance & K/S Analysis data. Efficient Lesson Maps are informed by Target Audience & Existing Content Analysis Data.

Go for Performance – in your Design of Instruction and Learning Experiences – to add value for your stakeholders rather than potentially subtract value.


Performance-Based Lesson Mapping for ISD/LXD

My 2021 book on Lesson Mapping…

Back in the late 1970s I learned about Backward Design – which we did after Backward Analysis.

Backward Analysis is when you start with the terminal Output and then look at Stakeholder Requirements & Measures, and then Tasks and their Stakeholder Requirements & Measures – and then look at enabling Knowledge & Skills.

Backward Design is when you start with Performance Objectives, then Learning Objectives, then the Performance Test, and perhaps a Knowledge Test, then Practice w/ Feedback, Demonstrations and then … finally … the K/S required (in as minimal amount as possible).

Oh – and Backward Development followed the same pattern as Backward Design.

And then Test, Test, Test.

Analysis Data Feeds Lesson Maps

Lesson Mapping – Book Review by Bill Brandon

Read Bill’s Review at The Learning Guild’s Learning Solutions – here.

A Couple of GIFs

Another GIF

2 Webinars on Lesson Mapping

This video is 1:04:17 hours:minutes in length.

This video is 40:38 minutes in length.

A Chat with Authors – Britz Interviews Wallace

This video is 1:04:06 hours:minutes in length.

Early Reviews

See all of my books on my Amazon Authors Page:


My 18th Book Has Just Been Published

The Kindle is up and available at Amazon ($20 USD). The Paperback is also available ($25 USD).

Matthew Richter
President, The Thiagi Group

“Coaching has become a driving support for performance management for decades now. Countless books, trainers, and thought leaders have preached heavily on the need to coach. But, as far as I can tell, none have broken down the mechanics of social learning structure (the grandparent of modern coaching) in a way that is so readily transferrable to the work environment as Guy Wallace has done in his latest treatise on performance support.

In STRUCTURED SOCIAL LEARNING, Guy breaks down the mechanics for how coaching in the workflow happens in various contexts, how you can adopt and adapt it into your workflow, and how to evaluate whether what you have done actually worked. The book is densely filled with practical and prescriptive formats you can readily apply to your own contexts. Buy the book! Please read the book!! And then give it to all your colleagues and friends.”

Sofie Willox
Senior Learning Architect
Owner of So We Grow

Social learning is one of the most powerful and oldest ways to learn. Organizations today are changing their focus (fortunately) from classroom trainings towards Social Learning. However, what we don’t always do, is doing so following a structured approach.

In this book expert Guy Wallace guides the reader step by step to a structured approach and takes structured social learning to the next level. By following this process, L&D professionals make visible and non-tangible behaviors and decision making processes tangible. This does not only lead to a more transparent and objective approach, but also maps out the ROI of social learning.

This is a book for both Talent Development professionals, working in generic functions as well as for learning designers dedicated to dive into the topic of structured social learning.

John W. Toups
Owner and CEO of eTracker

I am personally and professionally impressed with the thoroughness of this book!  This process will help the employee with clarity and support to develop the right behavior and critical thinking that the work and the environment will reveal.  It is sure to produce a fulfilling experience and win-win results!

Harijanto Tjahjono, EdD
Instructional Designer
Lecturer and Researcher in Learning and Development
University of Surabaya

A must have for learning professionals! Reading this book feels like walking next to an expert in performance improvement (which Guy Wallace is) and listening to him guiding you through every step of implementing a system of social learning (otherwise known as on-the-job training).

Mr. Wallace’s years and years of experience in guiding companies building their learning system shines through in this book. If you are an L&D professional this book is a valuable addition to your personal or company library.

There are so many gems and references on how to develop your learning system that you will check the book frequently for Mr. Wallace’s wisdom. I know I will!

Chuck Georgo, CPT,
Executive Director, NOWHERETOHIDE.ORG, LLC

“In my personal experience, Structured Social Learning (SSL) is the most natural of ways that humans learn; that being from other humans. It begins early in life when your parents taught you to hold a spoon or to ride a bicycle. Later in school, although you weren’t aware of the fact, SSL was how you learned to play a musical instrument or to kick a field-goal. In his 18th book, Guy Wallace lays out a comprehensive “how to” for bringing the SSL approach into your organization as a tool to increase the performance and fluency of your staff, in turn helping your organization to better achieve its financial and societal goals.

Matthew C. Day
Anthropology PhD Research Student
UK National Health Service

This book provides a complete guide for establishing systems of social ‘coached’ learning that enable an organisation to cultivate learning and expertise transfer for targeted performance competence. The text starts with a detailed introduction to ‘Structured Social Learning’. The reader is provided with a detailed breakdown of key categories for interpreting necessary performance variables, an outline of the system, its constituting roles, features, and functions, and how to identify and define desired outputs. This thorough introduction is supported by a rich and personal case-example from Wallace’s experiences developing and applying such systems of social learning.

The main body of the text builds on this introduction to sequentially guide the reader through processes of analysis, design, development, and implementation for developing social learning systems. This includes a sophisticated application of Wallace’s ‘modular curriculum development’ to construct ‘the building blocks of structured social learning guides’ along with a detailed range of modes and media for learning/instructional designs and tests for performance competence. These guides and tests are generated by, maintained, and organised through a phased process of clearly defined leadership, core, and support structures that enable transparent and credible governance and assurance models for concise communications, administration, monitoring, reporting, and change management. Wallace’s approach makes accountability clear throughout and ensures that the production of social learning is cohesive, economic, and measurable: ultimately targeting efforts to where rewards and risks are high for an optimal output from time and resources.

In addition to providing a detailed method to design ‘structured social learning’ through a systems approach, the book offers equal attention to the operation of such systems, the management of pertinent data, and the balance between legitimate continuity and continuous improvement. This book, like the other current texts in Wallace’s 2020s books series, requires no previous introduction to Wallace’s approach. However, I felt at substantial advantage having read Conducting Performance-based Instructional Analysis (2020), The 3 Ds of Thought Flow Analysis (2021), and Performance-based Lesson Mapping and Instructional Development (2021). Structured Social Learning for Enterprise Performance Impact is an excellent addition to the series. Wallace presents an authentic and pragmatic approach for developing structured social learning, particularly ideal for those leading, designing, or reviewing organisational learning and development strategy. This book provides proactive and tangible methods that are responsive to the popularising epistemological interest in ‘cultures of learning’, the increasing value placed on local situated leadership, and the importance of transferring expertise within the workplace.

Is This Book for You?

This book is for you if you are an Enterprise leader, L&D leader, or an L&D Practitioner interested in improving the performance competence of your Enterprise’s people in their WorkFlows via Structured Social Learning – a more formal approach than informal, Un-Structured Social Learning.

A Structured Social Learning System isn’t always appropriate for all situations – but it might be ideal as part of the mix in terms of how L&D is deployed and people are developed.

Large Target Audiences requiring specific, targeted Performance Competence development are probably served better by approaches other than by just a Structured Social Learning System – which is really a Structured Apprentice System or a Structured Coaching System or Structured On-the-Job Training System.

A Structured Social Learning System simply may not scale easily or practically enough to meet that level of need at speed.

But medium and smaller organizations, functions, or departments might take this approach to transfer and build Performance Competence in general, or combat the loss of knowledge, skills, and competence due to upcoming retirements, or expand capabilities and capacity due to growth projections.

See all of my books on my Amazon Authors Page:

Here’s some info on this website:


Video: Guy Presenting on Performance Improvement – Beyond But Including Instruction

Video of my session with the students of Harijanto Tjahjono, EdD, Lecturer, Faculty of Psychology, at the University of Surabaya, Indonesia – for his class focused on Training & Development. 2021-11-09.

This video is 1:49:55 minutes in length.

Get a PowerPoint Show of the slides used here:…

See all of Guy’s books on his Amazon Authors Page:


EPPIC Quick Thoughts Series eBook – 3 of 7

Conducting Performance-Based Analysis for ISD/LXD Efforts

Too often ISD/LXD Practitioners are asked to produce Content without the Analysis data necessary to ensure that what gets Learned gets Transferred back to the Job and has a Positive Impact on Business Metrics.

It might be their fault, but it’s more likely the fault of their leadership and clients.

This is number 3 in a series of 7 – planned for the first 7 Fridays of 2022.