Master Performers Are Not Just Subject Matter Experts

I Use the Group Process

I ask for Master Performers … and other SMEs as/if needed.

But if I can only have one group – make it the Master Performers.

Master Performers … by my definition … were doing the job performance to the highest levels of performance – yesterday and last week, month, etc. … and are people for all others to emulate.

Be like Mike.

I’ve been doing this approach in Instructional Design/Development efforts since 1979. I’ve published and presented on this since the early 1980s.


Why the Group Process?

It’s harder than the traditional approach – although much, much quicker.

But it can be painful dealing with the typically strong egos of Master Performers – especially when in a group with others … if you know what I mean.

Why go through the pain of facilitating a group?

Groups self-correct sooner rather than later – if facilitated well. Bringing greater accuracy.

And build on each other. Bringing greater completeness.

And … they “get real” real fast. In my experience. Bringing greater appropriateness.

Can It Be Learned?

I’ve also taught dozens of my own consulting firm’s staff and hundreds of clients’ staff and contractors in these methods, both groups since way back to 1983.

Here are 3 staff members … Brian, Alaina and Pete … just a few of the dozens of consultants that I have trained … from my prior firm CADDI and before that at SWI … back in the late 1990s and early 2000s … sitting in front of some of their facilitated Analysis Team’s outputs. It’s good to be done.


Note: In the key outputs produced – flip charts of data – neatness does not count, but legibility does.

In Analysis

I use the Master Performers as the core or exclusive members of an Analysis Team.

The reason to gather current state best performers together is to define the job requirements and the enabling knowledge and skills and to identify gaps and their strategies and tactics to avoid and response if unavoidable.


I use a Performance Model Data Frame. It captures data at the individual levels of performance and scales up as/if needed for department or team or process or functional or Enterprise performance.

But if a Process Map exists – I use that (if judged complete and accurate enough) and adapt and backtrack for missing details from there.


It’s all about the data needed downstream in Design. That would include what needs to be known at the awareness, knowledge and skill levels – again on flip charts.

In Design

In design I facilitate the same group of Master Performers – as a Design Team … to create a L&D Path or an Event design or a Module design or the design and/or development of Performance Tests. Or all of those.

In my experience – since 1979 – that use of the Master Performers makes the eventual Design output better, faster, cheaper in most cases – than if done by an Instructional Designer using document reviews and observations and interviews even with the “help” of Subject Matter Experts – who sometimes (too often) don’t do the real job day-to-day … and therefore cannot insure that the design is: authentic “enough” … and just “enough” and timely “enough” to have enough impact to performance to warrant the expense (investment).


The team owns the outputs. The facilitator owns the process.

There is work to do besides facilitation before and after each break for the team … and the facilitator’s breaks are therefore fewer and shorter.


It’s All About the Performance

It’s not about Learning – except as an enabler in some form or fashion.

Performance Competence graphic

Focus on the Performance Requirements – and enable them!

Some Resources

Other resources are available in the Resources tab.


Please go here for info about these 6 and several other books from Guy.

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