T&D: Rotational Job Assignments

Assigned or Accidental

HR might have assigned some manager – High Potential or not – to a series of assignments to round out their experiences, knowledge, insights, etc., of the broader Enterprise. That type of Rotational Job Assignment should be planned and supported and not just a sink or swim exercise.

Job Aids can provide guidance in the way of Structured Interview Guides for use with management, peers, subordinates, customers, suppliers for each station in the rotation – to help the newbies see “what’s up” right now – as things might be in greater or lesser flux. SOPs can be pointed to as well (another form of Job Aid IMO).


As much as I dislike Sink or Swim Approaches – they are inevitable. Sometimes Jordan is out sick and Juan needs to step in and get the job done. Unavoidable.

The issue for me is for HIGH STAKES PERFORMANCE – where the Risks are HIGH and significant – and/or the Rewards are HIGH and significant. What can be done? What can be planned and executed?

Prior Cross Training might have mitigated those Risks and helped achieve the Rewards.

Process Maps might provide last-minute guidance where Cross Training didn’t occur.

Again, SOPs might provide the What To Do – but most do not provide the more detailed How To Do.

Using some sort of a Buddy System may not be feasible.

Management needs to be concerned – but not about every Task-Set. Their attention should be targeted on the HIGH STAKES PERFORMANCE – where the Risks are HIGH and significant – and/or the Rewards are HIGH and significant.

What To Do

Targeting and then defining the key Processes, then their key Outputs & Measures, then their key (tricky) Tasks & Measures – including – in my approach – defining the Typical Gaps of those Outputs & Tasks – and their Probable Causes – and finally How To Avoid them as well as What To Do if Unavoidable.

How To Do It

I use Performance Modeling to do this. But of course there are many other approaches – some similar and many dissimilar.

One of my examples – based on a consulting gig from the mid 1980s…

AoPs Sales Rep

The Areas of Performance above frame the work performance before detailing it – at some macro or micro level – in what I have called a Performance Model Chart since 1979.

The example Performance Model Chart below is more macro than micro…

ABC Sales PM Chart Example

This approach is covered in many of my Blog Posts and in many other free resources on this site. Here are 3…

Free Resources

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

Modeling Mastery Performance and Systematically Deriving the Enablers for Performance Improvement – by Guy W. Wallace, CPT – Chapter 11 of the Handbook of Human Performance Technology – 3rd Edition – 2006.  This methodology was first published in this 1984 article in ISPI’s (then NSPI’s) PIJ in November 1984.

Free Book PDFs

lean-ISD (1999)

Click on image to link to the download page.


Note: the cover design for “lean-ISD” was created by the late Geary A. Rummler.

Note: Guy W. Wallace’s book “lean-ISD” – was a recipient of a 2002 Award of Excellence for Instructional Communication from the International Society for Performance Improvement.

lean-ISD is also available as a $15 paperback book – and $7.50 as a Kindle – for more information and/or to order – please go – here.

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