At Some Point SMEs and Master Performers Become Unconsciously Competent
And that’s when they cannot tell you, when asked, even if they really really really want to, what and how they do that Mastery stuff.
Beware the SME who has been an SME for very long.
SMEs being Subject Matter Experts – and known by other names as well.
I like to differentiate SMEs from MPs – Master Performers. But as we have no standard, agreed upon set of language and definitions – in the Learning Biz – translate my words to whatever makes you and your Context comfortable.
If you designed a Learning & Development Path – such as the example below – if might look pretty – but be garbage – given GIGO.
GIGO is either Garbage In and Garbage Out – or my version to put a positive spin on it: Good-Stuff In and Good-Stuff Out.
How to Get the Good Stuff In?
I prefer to facilitate a team of handpicked Master Performers and SMEs – handpicked by the client – so that what comes back from the Analysis Process is politically acceptable – otherwise “why bother” – to generate the Good-Stuff – Analysis Data – that then feeds the Design Process.
And then I like to facilitate the Design Team – the entire or a subset of the Analysis Team – in the Design Process. For immediate feedback and the avoidance of Foo Foo.
What’s in Your Approach?
But the trick is of course – to mitigate the reality that SMEs and MPs often get to the point in their Expertise and/or Mastery – that they no longer know what they know.
Nothing Is Perfect
But I like the Group Process – as what you can accomplish in a 2-3-4 day meeting – avoids the feel (and reality) of Analysis Paralysis – which is why most clients don’t want to hear about any stinkin’ Analysis effort.
They just want you to “Just Do It.”
They want you to ask “how high” when you’re already 3 feet in the air – after they demand: Jump.
But still – just because you can bring a Group to Consensus – doesn’t make them 100% right. But – who else would you ask?
Your option is the traditional interviews, observations and document reviews.
Good luck with that unless you come from that Performance Context – and will catch the nuances. For there are probably plenty.
And good luck with the tolerance of the client for the cycle time that that will take.
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