The Power of the Voice of the Master Performers in ISD Efforts

1998-06 GWW flipchart

Here I am at the double-wide Flip Chart easel in my office years ago working up a “Straw-Dog” Event Map (of Lessons) for an ISD project. You can’t really tell from the photo if I am doing design work solo – or in front of a Design Team. But I am sailing solo here.

BTW – “Straw Dog” is a term that I learned as a replacement phrase from OD Consultant Tim Johnson (when at Amoco and later at Bandag) who taught me to use it instead of “Strawman” – due to the the latter being a reference to the “bayonet dummies” that are used in hands-on, hand-to-hand combat training exercises – or perhaps it was hands-on training after the bayonet training lesson – when you’ve somehow lost your tools. I didn’t have those kinds of lessons in the US Navy. But I digress.

While it was not the standard approach in the PACT Processes to design performance-based Instruction & Information, by taking the analysis data and pre-formulating an Instructional Design on your own as the ISDer, it was sometimes necessary due to the situational needs and constraints of a project. But it was something to be avoided IF feasible.

I always thought it best to do this ISD design work live in front of a group of Master Performers and Subject Matter Experts for real-time questions/comments/concerns. But many of the ISDers that I have trained over the past two decades (plus) in the PACT Processes methodologies were uncomfortable with that approach.

There is often a lot of “noise” in the room while you the designer are trying to think and design.

But that “noise” is Voice-of-the-Master Performers speaking on behalf of their constituencies and it pays to listen early and react sooner rather than later where there might be more to react to – such as the entire unraveling your design due to some not-so-obvious faulty thinking on the part of you the designer – way up early in the learning/training.

I have often heard, “Guy, that just won’t work – and here is why….”

And it was good to hear it, especially early rather than later. Of course, I had asked for the Design Team members to speak up ASAP when they saw me write something or say something that they felt inappropriate – for whatever reason.

“That’s why you are on the payroll today,” I’d tell them early, and often more than once, at the beginning of the Design Team meeting.

Once they “demo” giving me timely feedback or challenges to each other – they never needed reminding again. Especially because I never threw “that look” back over my shoulder to any Design Team member whenever they had done as I had asked.

Actions speak louder than words. So be careful!

You might be interested in a free PDF copy of my article: PACT Facilitation – available on my web site along with many more references related to my PACT and EPPI methodologies. Go to and look in the Resources tab! Use freely with appropriate attributions!

May the power of the “Voice of the Master Performers” be with you!

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