T&D: A Proposed T&D Partnership Value Proposition

This Post Is For T&D/L&D Leadership

Pass it on to them if you think it appropriate.

Print it out and drop it on their desk anonymously if you think that’s more appropriate.



It strikes me time and again that the people doing the work of L&D/T&D – in the trenches, so to speak – are not very happy. They feel that they are simply order takers, adding little value, having little impact, just cranking out Content.

Of course this is not true across the board. But if you listen, you will hear the laments of discontent among many, not all. Just many. Some of us are happy. We enjoy what we do, what we are allowed to do, and the impact that we have with our clients.


Although most are not as happy as Jimi in my cartoon above. But in my Lessons in Lemonade Making cartoon series (2010-2013) Jimi was a student in an L&D/Performance Improvement program, climbing the learning curve, as they say.

Jimi didn’t appreciate that easy wasn’t the goal of client interactions. Client’s don’t always know the causes for Performance Issues – although it’s a good bet that the client’s people do.  But our clients have been conditioned to never bring a problem up without a solution – so there’s that.

Jimi didn’t get to do real performance-based Instructional Analysis – so as to have a prayer in making an impact. And to me – that’s key. But he’ll soon find out.

So I offer these 6 Value Proposition statements that you can liberate and rework as you and your organization see fit – to establish/re-establish a partnership with your clients. One at a time if necessary.

1)  Help the Client Define Ideal Performance and the Current State Gaps & Causes for Client Targeting

Training (or Learning as a noun) is intended to create Performance Competence – IMO.

Whether that’s looking at the total Instructional Systems Design (Instruction as a system – what a novel concept) across a job, team, process or department (or higher) – or at a single Task-set and Output – it’s all about Performance.


Performance-based Training involves imparting new knowledge (on top of prior knowledge) and creating new/changed skills, and behaviors – but those behaviors are simply a means to the ends of Performance – or what I term Performance Competence. So begin with the end in mind. Don’t get caught up in what the late Tom Gilbert called the Cult of Behavior. Focus on the ends, the terminal performance.

Work with the client and their request for Training – and always do what the late Joe Harless taught me and so many others back in the day – and say “Yes! I’ll help you with some Training. And I’ll really be able to help you if we can jointly do some Analysis.”

Or words to that effect.

And then depending on the scope of what said training was to cover – do it – your Analysis – As Quickly as Possible – or as we used to say, back in the day … PDQ.

Pretty Damn Quick.

And start with Performance Competence.

I frame my analysis by Areas of Performance (AoPs). Segments of the whole so that I can begin to understand the pieces in respect to the whole. Here is an example of the AoPs for a job.

AoPs Sales Rep

I capture the data regarding performance in a template that I call a Performance Model chart. Here is an example.

ABC Sales PM Chart Example

Note that besides the ideal performance on the left – we also capture side-by-side the current state gaps and their probable causes. Where measures of Outputs are not being met by the non-Master Performers.

We also attribute each cause to one of three types – so as to help establish that Training won’t solve anything – but to begin the dialogue of how we need to help newbies (a technical term) learn from the Master Performers “what the barriers are” – and”how to avoid them” – and “what do if they were unavoidable.”

2)  Help Identify the Enabling Knowledge & Skills Required and the Current State Gaps for Client Targeting

Once the Performance Competence goals are clear, we can use that anchor as the foundation for determining – or deriving – the Enabling Knowledge and Skills.

I use up to 17 potential categories.

K-S Categories

I capture the data in a template that I call a K/S Matrices. Here is an example.

KS Matrices

Note how each K/S Item is linked back to an AoP or to several. That effects the positioning in the overall design – be it for a T&D Path and/or for a modular T&D Event’s Lessons – or Performance Support item (standalone or to be covered in some form of T&D).

3)  Assess Existing T&D Content (Courses & Resources) from Anywhere in the Enterprise for their Reuse Potential and/or Need for Maintenance or Pruning

Using the two sets of data from above – in Value Proposition Statements 1 and 2 – I look for any and all existing content – call it T&D or whatever – that might be reused. You know – to avoid reinventing the wheel – as the saying goes.

I capture that in an Existing T&D Assessment Form.

I’ve found that most T&D – in my assessments as part of over 150 projects since 1982 – address Topics and not Tasks, address Enabling K/Ss and not Performance Tasks and Outputs.

4)  Design & Develop & Pilot Test Performance Based Instruction and Spaced Learning to Ensure It Will Help a Majority of the Target Audience Achieve Targeted Performance Competence Goals

Once you have both the Performance and Enabling Knowledge/Skills identified – and know what existing content you can use “As Is” or As a Source” – you can design the T&D (Learning). I use the Lesson Map format – which I created back in 1990 for a client’s project. Here is an example.


Then you – and perhaps others – develop the Content – per the Design.

Note that for each Instructional Activity on the Lesson map – there is another Design element – an Instructional Activity Spec. Here is an example.

I-Act Spec TMC

Depending on the Model of Delivery/Deployment (Group-Paced, Self-Paced or Coached — or some blend) and the Media used within those (or some blend) you should consider the following “stress tests” as engineers might describe them:

  • Alpha Test – where you and a fellow ID/ISDer look it – T&D components – over to make sure they make some sense and that the obvious bugs are addressed.
  • Beta Test – where you ask a Master Performer and Other SMEs to look over a/several components and help to debug them.
  • Pilot Test – this is what I call my Full Destructive Test – where both Master Performers and Novice/New Learners (THE Target Audience) are put through the paces and evaluations are conducted – and we deliberately stress test the design as developed. Of course you segregate the feedback data from these two group. And you might separate them – depending on your Mode/Media – if future deliveries wouldn’t have them mixed. That is more critical in Group Paced than the other two modes.

Pilot Testing is so critical IMO – that I broke it out in my version of ADDIE – MCD.

MCD 6 Phases

BTW – ADDIE and MCD are but project planning & management frameworks and do not guarantee good design. A common misunderstanding is that their use is Design. Not so.

After the Pilot Test – there some level of Revision and the Release of the Content to the LMS – or a shared folder/file – or some metal filing cabinets.

5)  Help the Client Identify and Resolve Barriers to Transfer Back to the Job Post-Training

In parallel – sometimes – with the development of T&D – we work with the client and their Master Performers to address the gaps and causes uncovered in the Value Proposition Statement 1 – or simply Step 1 – above.

Some times the fix is well beyond our own knowledge/skill domain. Here is my model of the variables.


But some fixes by others outside T&D might require T&D to get involved to communicate or educate or train people – or all 3 for different audiences – regarding the fix/improvement.

6)  Help the Client Evaluate the Results of Post Training Job Performance and Deploy Remedies As Needed

Continuous Improvement – and Discontinuous Improvement – requires measurement. Meaningful measurement. Sometimes the business measures in place will give you the ability to see any impact from your T&D.

Sometimes the performance context has too many other variables (sales volumes, competitor actions, the general economy, the weather, etc.) that may affect the business measures in place that won’t enable you to see your impact – and other measurement mechanism will need to be put into place.

I’d suggest that you get familiar with Will Thalheimer’s LTEM Model – and use that if you can – to see what’s working and what’s not – so you can get back to the drawing board, so to speak, and craft an appropriate remedy or remedy-set.


For more on this – please go to Will’s website – here.


Have at it – if you will.

And let me know what you think – in the comments section below.

My 1999 book – lean-ISD – will provide you with details about the methods I’ve presented in this Post.


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