I think I learned that phrase while working construction as a teenager back in the Kansas City area in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It, of course, refers to anyone who has but one tool that they use for just about everything.
Kinda like me using the double-half-hitch knot for just about everything – as that is the only knot I remembered after having had to learn a dozen or so when I first became a sailor in 1972 in BootCamp.
In my 43 years in the ISD business – now perhaps known as the LXD business – I’ve seen a lot of Hammer Mechanics. Training, or Learning Experiences is their only tool.
They seldom think about what I learned as Guidance from Rummler & Gilbert in 1979 from their newsletter from 1970. Guidance was also known as Job Aids, and then EPSS, and Quick-Reference-Guides, and Performance Support, and WorkFlow Learning – although learning may have little to do with it.
Hammer Mechanics don’t look beyond their tool (the Hammer) for a variety of reasons. They may not understand how to look at a situation and ferret out the root need – and they might not understand what they or their clients should do about that root need.
But there have been models and tools to help in the diagnostics and design of solutions and solution-sets for a long time.
I created my own Improvement models and tools to fit with my Instructional models and tools – so that at what I have been recently referring to as The Pivot Point, my clients can make the Business Assessments and Business Descisions as to: What to do.
I have a book coming out from the brand new LDA Press – from LDA: The L&D Accelerator – a professional group for L&D professionals.
Clark Quinn is the editor – and he has my draft – for him to address and work his magic on it.
I had a chance to talk about The Pivot – or Shift – from Instruction to Performance Improvement – this past Wednesday – on the IDIODC podcast. See that in video form from YouTube here:
Or listen to it as an Audio podcast wherever you get those. You can start – here.
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