T&D: Paying It Back By Paying It Forward

I was invited to speak last week to the MA students in Nadia Naffi’s class at Concordia University in Montreal on Consulting in Educational Technology.

Back in the late 1990s I asked one of my main mentors, the late Geary A. Rummler, how I could repay all of his kindness and mentoring over the years. He had just reviewed my 1999 book, lean-ISD and we were meeting in his home office in Tucson.

He told me to do what he had been told to do by his mentors – pay it forward.

I spent 2.5 hours via Skype from “The Home Office” answering and expounding on their 17 questions – sent to me in advance. In reviewing their “initial” questions – I decided to put together a Handout with my initial answers to their initial questions – so as to save them some time in capturing my words – thus reducing their cognitive load.

This session was video recorded as well. See that – here.


Here is a copy of that handout: Consulting in Educational Technology Handout 2018-05-09 Final – which I sent as both a PDF and as a Word document – to enable the students to use it any way they wished – to take notes in a structured format.

The Initial Questions

  • How do you define performance consulting?
  • What are the steps to become a successful performance consultant?
  • What competencies should a performance consultant develop and what are the best ways to develop them?
  • How can a new consultant, with almost no experience in the field other than the school work, find clients and secure consulting contracts?
  • What are your strategies to build client partnerships?
  • How do you get the info you need from Subject Matter Experts?
  • Many of us in this program do not come from an instructional design background, while expertise in a new field is generally gained with time an experience, what are the a few valuable things we can do to have a stronger start as we enter the field?
  • As a consultant, you may have some unique strategies to ensure the work is done in a results-focused and solution-neutral fashion. How do you make sure there is no bias in your work? What are some of your strategies?
  • What are some recommendations/tips for dealing with clients that only want to see it their way and act as if they know it all? (like a Nancy know it all)
  • If the solution you provide is declined by your client, despite the fact that you are sure that it will be efficient to achieve the ideal result, will you negotiate to persuade your client to accept it? If yes, what are some of your negotiation strategies?
  • What is some advice that you wish you received when you first started out in the T&D industry?
  • What are your strategies to stay updated and engaged in the industry, or to continue to develop your practice?
  • What do you think are the most overrated and underrated trends in the industry?
  • What are your least preferred aspects of consulting and why?
  • What are your favorite aspects of consulting and why?
  • What was the biggest mistake you made as a consultant (or something you did that you would now change) and how did you learn from it?
  • How did you come up with PACT processes?

Photos by Nadia Naffi, PhD …


My captive audience…


I believe I was providing them with a famous Bob Mager quote when this photo was taken…


We took a break for 15 minutes near the middle … for what the late Geary Rummler would often refer to as a “Fluid Exchange Break.”


I did pause to take a breath every once-in-awhile – and the students were able to ask a few follow up questions…


The audio was a bit problematic at times – as it was difficult for me to hear the students’ questions and comments. But I guess it worked out OK.


Note taking on their computers…


A close up of the Handout in use…


Note taking on paper…


On the Handout…


Scary – me on the Big Screen – a Smartboard – a misnomer tonight…


A Baker’s Dozen…


It was a great experience…


I invite these students to connect with me on Twitter and LinkedIn …


Preparing for this session caused me to reflect quite a bit about my early days in the profession – back in 1979.

And all of the many mentors who guided me in my development. And how lucky I was in who I worked with and who and what they pointed me to.

And them proactively steering me away from Foo Foo/Snake Oil. And introducing me to NSPI (now ISPI).

THAT made all of the difference in my success over the decades, I do believe.

I wish for all of the success in the world to these students – wherever their careers take them.

Regardless of where that takes them – being grounded in a “Performance Orientation” in Training/Learning/Education – or elsewhere – will serve them well. I am sure of that.

The Video Recording

Note: there are some audio issues. Video is just under 2 hours and 2 minutes in length.

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One comment on “T&D: Paying It Back By Paying It Forward

  1. Pingback: T&D: Thank You For The Thank You! | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

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