T&D: Do Your Methods Average Performance Up or Down?

A recent study published in Applied Psychology has now confirmed that a collaborative work environment can make top performers–the innovators and hard-workers–feel miserable and socially isolated. See the article on that – here.

Perhaps you’ve been involved in a collaborative effort where you felt that the quality of the end product was averaged down, rather than up, due to the collaborative approach.

See the end of this post for some articles from 2011 and 2012 on Collaboration Myths.


I recall learning from Neil Rackham, of SPIN Selling fame, in 1981, before the book came out, that in his methods he observed Master Sales People only, not average or below average. He didn’t want to know the differences between masters and average performers, he just wanted to know what the master performers did. And in his approach, one was only a Master Salesperson if their boss thought they were a master, if their peers thought they were a master, and if their customers thought they were a master.

I adapted that in my Facilitated Group Processes for ISD efforts – for both Curriculum Architecture Design to create a T&D Path or Learning Path or Development Map, etc., etc., and Modular Curriculum Development (my version of ADDIE). I had experience using a team approach – but after learning about Neil’s approach, I assembled a Team of Master Performers for an Analysis Team and a Design Team. Master Performers were handpicked by the project’s Project Steering Team – the client and key stakeholders – those who would need to buy-in to the end results and fund the next efforts and send their people to the T&D. It was to get the best inputs to my processes and to align to the politics of the project.

Here are a 5 free resources about this available on this site:

4 Articles

CAD – Training Mag – 1984 – 6 page PDF – the first publication about Curriculum Architecture Design via a Facilitated 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 using a Facilitated Group Process, from NSPI’s (ISPI’s) Performance & Instruction Journal, November 1984.

Teaming for T&D GWW 1999 – 5 page PDF – on my story of inadvertently creating a team – out of frustration with too many revision cycles for a video script I was writing –  for training development back in 1979 – and liking the approach for using a Group Process to shorten cycle times and improve the quality of the output.

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.

Book: 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 $16 paperback book – and $7.50 as a Kindle – for more information and/or to order – please go – here.

More About Collaboration Myths

Here are some past articles on Collaboration that I curated a few years ago, in 2011 and 2012 – here – in my broader series on Foo Foo in ISD and Performance Improvement.

  • 5 Myths of Collaboration (2011)here.
  • Two heads are not always better than one (2012)here.

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