Walkin’ the Talkin’ – The Cult of Accomplishments vs. The Cult of Behaviors

This Post follows on two others – the first of which is here – and the second here, about Tin Can – and it’s Promise/Potential versus what’s more likely Probable.

BTW – the “Tin Can API” is now known as: Experience API – part of their Training and Learning Architecture (TLA) – see the announcement that came out late last week here.

Where’s Yours?

That was what a client asked me in the mid 1990s – about Curriculum Architecture Design.

Where’s yours, for the people in your firm (SWI – Svenson & Wallace Inc. at that time)? They – my client – were giving me a test. And I failed their test. My staff positions did not have a modular Development Path – a modular Training Blueprint.

This was a client I had been doing Curriculum Architectures for since 1986. I did their Product Managers, and their Sales Mangers and Sales reps and a few other Technical Roles – did them in terms of performance analysis and a design of a modular Curriculum Architecture – which generated a Path for each of the jobs – or levels in a job – to help speed their way to Performance Competence. One effort – for the Keystone Event (Module) – at the end of the 1st Phase (the 1000 Series) won an NSPI Award in 1989 – for the Results of work done years earlier (1987) where the client’s own Financial organization calculated a 457% ROI. Their numbers, not mine.

See the brochure that we created for our 1989 NSPI submission – for the Award received in 1990 – NSPI Award Brochure 1989-1990

Their Path at AT&T Network Systems

This was actually an update to the 1986 Path – done in 1989/90 while we were submitting for an award for the last Blue Box of the 1000 Series. All of the Blue Boxes (modular T&D Events) leading up to the last covered the enabling K/Ss that some in the target Audience needed, and either had already or they did not. That drove the modularity.

But I digress.

Back to “Where’s Mine”…

But my partners didn’t see the sense of eating our own dog food – so to speak – so I had to wait a few years to walk our talk.

So after the breakup of SWI – as divorces between partners in marriage most often lead to divorces of business partners when THAT overlaps – where I was a members/partner (1982-1997), I was then free to create a Path of Learning – for tracking – based on Performance Capability or Competence.

Although we called it a T&D Path (old school nowadays, I know) and many other names since first doing these in 1982 – and publishing on the methods and outputs in Training Magazine in their September 1984 issue. And my partners (at the time) also published on our Performance Analysis methods two months later in the NSPI PIJ.

CAD – Training Mag – 1984 – 6 page PDF – the first publication about Curriculum Architecture Design via a Group Process – published in Training Magazine in September 1984. Original manuscript (30 pages) – How to Build a Training Structure That Won’t Keep Burning Down.

Models and Matrices- NSPI PIJ -1984 – 5 page PDF – the first publication of the performance and enabler analysis methods for ISD, from NSPI’s (ISPI’s) Performance & Instruction Journal, November 1984.

When I could – in the very late 1990s – I had one of my consultants/partners take the lead on creating the Development Path (another name) and write it up for our quarterly newsletter: Pursuing Performance in between her consulting work. So it took a while to crank this out.

The newsletter article series was named:

CADDI Walks Our Talk

It’s a 2-parter – here and here – pages 28-30 and 41-43 respectively.

From the Winter 2001 issue and the Spring 2002 issue.

Not only did we eat our own dog food at CADDI – we shared our story.

Kicking the Tin Can – Or – Eating Your Own Dog Food From It

It’s tough to eat your own dog food, walk the talk, be true to your marketing claims and positions.

But I think necessary.

Simple is very desired – but not always appropriate.

Tracking Performance Competence – or whatever you call it – ain’t easy.

To paraphrase Harold Stolovitch – Activity Ain’t Accomplishment.

The Multiple Role Performance Competence Development Path – Check-Off Poster

See that column of red bullets – with the GWW initials – that’s mine. It’s larger in the graphic that follows this next one.

That’s my Path through a planned development of Performance Competence. Visible to all in my office. This is where I am at.

And lookie here – at your column – here’s where you are. Actual to Planned.

Hmm. OK or Not?

It was a manageable list of Performance Competencies to master. Some were big and complex, and others were smaller and simple.

Lots of Shared Performance Competence Requirements In Any Enterprise

Especially at the enabler level – if not at the Performance level.

Note 1: for each item on the list was a Performance Test – a set of criteria for the Product (Result) and/or the Process (Activity) – that needed to be met – when Performing. Most of the time it was all about the Product of Performance and not the Process of Performing – but not always.

Note 2: almost all of the things to be learned – the Performance to be mastered – was done Informally – although back in the day (2001) we called it U-OJT – Unstructured OJT.

As opposed to S-OJT – Structured OJT (which would be delivered/facilitated by a Coach).

Sometimes Coaches needed to be a “Certified Coach” vs. just any “Coach” – when you needed to control just who is doing the Instruction/Performance Competence Development.

We listed the Resources – when available – to help with the U-OJT efforts. No sense having everyone figure out what those were – on their own. Over and over again. Not efficient at all.

And efficiency is just as important at times as effectiveness.

Why Certified Coaches sometimes – and just plain old Coaches at other times?


As Always – It Depends.

I didn’t always think that totally unguided Instruction was a good thing.

I didn’t think that guided Instruction without the proper enablers (people and things) was always a good thing.

Did “other Informal Learning” happen in addition to what we were trying to manage? Did is happen Socially?

You betcha.

Same as it ever was.

What Will Your Response Be When Your Clients Ask You: Where’s Yours?

Or is your situation reminiscent of the Cobbler’s Children?

No shoes.

Resources to Help You Climb This Performance Learning/Performance  Curve

Learning Ain’t Performance.

And for Performance Support to be effective and efficient – it needs to targeted at authentic Performance Requirements.

Which will require Analysis. Or whatever you call THAT.

And that’s what I hope Tin Can – now the Experience API of TLA – would track.

But now the new name suggests even more that it’s about Activities – Experiences – versus Capabilities/Competence.

We’ll see.

# # #

2 comments on “Walkin’ the Talkin’ – The Cult of Accomplishments vs. The Cult of Behaviors

  1. Pingback: Reflecting on a Measured Results Commitment in Performance Improvement – HPT Treasures – for Evidence Based Performance Improvement

  2. Pingback: T&D: A Qualification Test From 1995 – On That New Thing: Email | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

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