Step 2– Smoothly Segueing from Training to Performance

This is part 2 of 4 of a series of Blog Postings addressing “the segue” from training to performance…or from learning to performance. And how to make that shift more smoothly and successfully! The first Blog Posting was on published July 21 on: Step 1.

Segue : To move smoothly and unhesitatingly from one state to another (from: the American Heritage dictionary).

In my model, there are 3 steps in making a smooth segue from training to performance. Those three major steps are:

1st- Effective Instruction: being very effective in producing performance-oriented T&D in terms of reducing life cycle costs and increasing returns…Total ROI. If you don’t have credibility here yet, don’t move on to #2.

2nd- Aligned Instruction: being aligned with the enterprise leadership, and being used in the support of critical enterprise challenges, where there is significant return-on-investment, and value add, and/or for high-penalty risk issues are at stake. You need to do well in these highly visible arenas with communications and training & development. Here’s where being excellent at #1 pays off and enables you to take that final step to #3!

3rd– Beyond Instruction: being able to easily add to your analysis approach methods/tools to determine both “the requirements” and the “actuals/gaps” regarding all other process/human performance variables. Conduct your performance improvement consulting within instructional consulting efforts, all the while delivering excellence in response to instructional needs in critical high-stakes areas. Collaborate with other improvment speciality groups using a blended approach – yours and theirs combined. Leveraged.

Later, change the name of your department, to Performance Improvement or Performance Engineering – after you’ve earned it. Not before – unless you are real sure you can deliver on 100% of your efforts.

Step 2– Smoothly Segueing from Training to Performance

Step 2– Aligning with Enterprise Leadership, Management, and Master Performers. This is what I also call “Aligning to the Voice of the Customers/Stakeholders at 3 Levels.”

Once you’ve achieved the first step of having the processes, people and infrastructure/materials to effectively and efficiently deliver performance impacting T&D/ Learning/ Knowledge Management products/services, you are then ready for the deeper water of step 2: getting aligned and subservient to the stakeholders…including the customers, of your particular situation.

There are many paths to the goal of getting “at the same table” with your key stakeholders.

Informally you’d catch up with them whenever they can meet with you and you’d attempt to get “duly sensitized” to their situation, problems, implications, and the needs (from Neil Rackham’s S.P.I.N. approach to win-win sales as espoused in his best selling book: SPIN Selling) with large stakes/paybacks for the enterprise. Not aligned and addressing their low hanging fruit needs/desires.

Again, don’t make this move to the deep water prematurely – BEFORE you’ve accomplished Step 1.

It’s too risky for the unprepared.

But if you are really ready to be asked to be involved in the early planning for those major change initiatives that so many enterprises have and are embarking upon…the trick becomes less of getting invited to the table once you’ve got your reputation and support from your most recent clients – and more a matter of getting clear your goal priorities and then resource re-alignment – in a situation where perhaps there may be more goals for you than resources to accomplish them.

Hmmmm. Then it gets down to prioritization. Best done by the Customers/Stakeholders than by you yourself. For if you do it – you can only lose.

If you are prepared to contribute performance-impacting T&D where it really counts, where the stakes are high in terms of returns and investments, then step up to the challenge of Step 2 in the Segue.

But you must also be prepared to let the change initiative sponsor and teams use your T&D distribution channel for awareness-building communications where appropriate, and knowledge-building education where appropriate, and skills-building training where appropriate.

Don’t have just one approach (ISD process) for all three of these end-products. They are different end products and need a different “New Product Development” approach, which means “more or less rigidity” in adherence to “ISD” or “ADDIE” or whatever you call your approaches for Step 1.

You need to have lightening fast processes for communications product development. You typically have to have a bit more rigor for education product development. And for training product development, it typically must include deeper analysis and extended design efforts, and then prototypes must pass extra scrutiny in terms of their effectiveness and appropriateness before being unleashed onto the full enterprise.

And you must further instill the change by putting in the right “reinforcement” awareness, knowledge and skills building elements for the primary target audiences’ management and all other relevant stakeholders. You must tackle all of the key awareness/knowledge/skill gaps created by a change effort. Up and Down and Across the Enterprise.

But of course, all of this is very high risk to you. Very visible high risk. You need to proceed with caution, but you do need to proceed none-the-less. The enterprise doesn’t really want your best performance-based T&D if it’s not targeted where it can really have significant ROI and Value Add. You need to help management of the targeted areas for change with their cufrrent and/or future awareness/knowledge/skill gaps. To do this, I suggest “getting wired.”

The formal model below portrays a 3 level alignment diagram. I believe that you must get wired to your customer and stakeholders at each of these 3 distinct levels. Getting wired at each level is done for a different purpose, and is done differently.

You want to be wired at level 1 so that you work on strategically and/or operationally the most important efforts within your enterprise. The make or break opportunities and challenges. This is where the contributions of a strategically aligned T&D function can really have lasting impact. Without this you are probably working on mundane efforts that don’t really hold much promise for significant ROI and Value Add. And so you are more expendable.

I think the best way you can get wired at level 1 is by organizing your customers and stakeholders into a Board of Governors and provide them with a command-and-control-and-empowerment structure and mechanism to control and empower YOU! Appropriately.

And help them specify the data and results gathering and reporting mechanism, so that they might better assess and direct/re-direct you and your efforts as needed…all to insure measurable results that are meaningful to your leadership and to all of the other key stakeholders. If it is not meaningful to them, why bother?

Level 1 will give you your priorities and resources and a source for support and assistance when needed. With your marching orders from Level 1 you are now aligned with that level. But how to pull it off? Please continue…

You want to be wired at level 2 so that you really serve the needs of this level’s functional targets…the owners of the targeted “processes,” as well as all of their customers and stakeholders. You get wired at level 2 by forming advisory councils (or committees) to request resources and steer their investment into T&D that is meaningful to your customers and their key stakeholders. If you were sneaky enough you might have the ”chairs” at level 2 on the council of level 1. To faciliate better communications between the “levels.”

And then you want to be also wired at level 3 so that you aren’t dreaming in the details of your design efforts about what is possible as well as truly desirable, in terms of performance, process and enterprise level improvement changes. You get wired at level 3 by assembling the right Master Performers and other SMEs project-by-project to articulate an ideal state and then marching off “with them” to create it. Bring them along for the journey! Let them hold the reigns at the right times…when the decision is a business decision versus an ISD decision!

Let’s go further with alignment at each of the 3 levels.

Level 1 — Alignment with the Goals and Strategies of the Enterprise Leadership
The top, Level 1, is where you get wired with the executives and are being both directed and resourced by them to do things important to them. Again, being very good at Step 1 (as noted above) is extremely critical here. There is too much risk for everyone for you to be in this “step” prematurely, unprepared.

To get yourself and your T&D function (or learning or knowledge management functions) into these types of high risk/high payback situations, you need to get very “wired” with the leadership of your enterprise. You want to be in their hip pocket so to speak. You want to be used in their plans.

They are the ones working on all of the really critical business initiatives in response to major opportunities and threats. They need your involvement to help them see all of the key awareness/knowledge/skill implications of any and all changes that their improvement initiative will invariably drive.

You’re still sticking to T&D here in Step 2, remember? Don’t go off onto Step 3 simultaneously with Step 2, unless you know you are really prepared for that too. Again, due to the risk.

Back to Step 2.

If you talk to with all of your leadership of your enterprise individually, all you’ll ever get is a list of individual opinions. If you can “only lose” by trying to read the tea leaves yourself and then self-pick who/what you’ll support and respond to, don’t do it that way. Partner with your customer and stakeholders.

You don’t really want to speak to your customers and stakeholders exclusively one-on-one, as you’ll not develop enough “shared understandings/meanings” across the breadth and depth of the great customer-supplier divide. Tell them each something like that – the reason for getting together to determine where to expend your resources for the common good. Spin it – as needed.

When your collective customers aren’t aligned to “what really should be done” there is simply no way for you to win. You must help them get aligned first so you can get aligned, not to your vision and needs, but to their own.

You need to bridge that “divide” in some way that is acceptable to all. You might suggest to each that you all gather to meet together routinely, 2-days twice or three times a year a year, to focus on both resourcing priorities and results achieved.

For them– they “get control” to better insure that their strategies are successfully executed. For you– you’ll get a greater shared understanding of the goals, resources and constraints with your stakeholders. And a chance to “win” and create a greater win-win.

The formality with which you do this is entirely situational and dependant on the culture of your organization. Some cultural situations may limit you and require you to go “one-on-one” and practice stealth networking. Here you’ll need to be less formal – but not totally informal. But that “less formality” too has its risks. Proceed with caution!

Other cultural situations might already require you to “get everyone in the same room” and “come to a common understanding.” Here you can and should probably be much more formal in organizing your governance system.

Level 2 — Alignment with the Functional Owners of the Targeted Processes and All of Their Stakeholders
Level 2 has you wired with an organized grouping or segmentation of your customers.

The best schemes I’ve seen are functional or discipline (and not process) oriented for the individual contributors. The commonalities across disciplines (mechanical engineering, instructional design, quality assurance, welding, ) and functions (finance, sales, purchasing, etc.). Think, communities of practice, and not process.

The key functional owner of any major initiative will house the project in their “Advisory Council” at level 2 and would be joined by the other stakeholders from across the organization (and from external sources if needed) and would all cross-functionally “report in” there.

This Level 2 team would oversee those project steering teams charged with conducting your version of CAD and MCD instructional projects from my PACT Processes for T&D (covered in my lean-ISD book), or an EPPI project for improvement interventions beyond instruction.

The Level 2 Advisory Council would, or should, be willing to insure that you have exactly the right Master Performers and all other SMEs and resources necessary to get their priority T&D successfully accomplished (as measured by “performance impact” as measured by “enterprise metrics”). That then leads us to Level 3 in my Voice of the Customer/Stakeholder model.

Level 3 — Alignment with the Real World Performance Masters’ Reality Checks and Drives
Level 3 is being wired with the learners/target audiences’ Master Performers at their process level.

This means having them involved in meaningful ways, contributing to the instructional and non-instructional process and products. This is your source for most of your analyses, for your instructional design inputs and reactions, for your content development efforts, and for your developmental and pilot-testing efforts

Having the right, credible Master Performers support you in ADDIE/ISD/T&D efforts aimed at their turf is a huge key to your success.

They will not want you to fail, because then they fail. And failing is not something in the everyday experience of any Master Performer in any job that I’ve yet come across in over 300 analysis or design meetings where I leverage their expertise to improve my instructional products and improve their ROI.

Getting aligned to the Voice of your Customers and Stakeholders at 3 levels may be what you need to put into place in order to really have a significant impact on the performance of your enterprise. It is a collaborative approach between improvement customers and suppliers!

The Governance & Advisory Structure provided by levels 1-3 are covered in more depth in my book: T&D Systems View. The Governance & Advisory Structure is a component of the systems at 12 O’Clock:

Some quick explanations of the 12 sub-systems of the T&D System (or Learning System or Knowledge management System)…

The “clock-face” model is simply a different representation of the L-C-S Model – the Leadership-Core-Support model…

I often use the Clock-face model of an L-C-S set of Organizational Entities and/or Systems and/or Processes and/or Areas of Performance – as a visual tool (say on flip chart paper or a whiteboard) – to map “workflows” between any of them.

I’ve found it a very powerful tool to help everyone see the systemic, involved entanglements of the component organizations of the enterprise – the component enterprise systems and processes – and the component areas of performance – and whats really involved in improvement change.

This next graphic show the flow of “outputs as inputs” from the Governance & Advisory System (and its Processes) to other elements of the T&D System…

In the next Blog Posting in this series we’ll overview the next step:

Step 3: Being able to easily add to your ISD analysis approach methods/tools to determine both “the requirements” and the “actuals/gaps” regarding all other process/human performance variables.

Beyond ISD to Performance Improvement.

Other Relate Resources
Besides my 2 books lean-ISD and T&D Systems View, the EPPIC web site has many articles, presentations, 2-Page job aids related to this topic. Check under the Resources tab. Or “google” this topic along with with my name!

The following two books are availabe as free PDFs at

T&D Systems View covers Levels 1 and 2 of Step 2…

lean-ISD covers the 3rd level of Step 2…

Another set of newly available resources includes a PowerPoint Show and set of Handouts on: Aligning to the Voice of the Customer at 3 Levels at – plus many other related resources for free!!!

I hope this post and these resources are of benefit to you!

Please add your comments or ask your questions or share your concerns!!!

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