Generating Data & Insights Through a Structured, Facilitated Dialogue

Back in 1982 when I first became an external consultant – someone told me this joke…

Q: What is a Consultant?

A: Someone who borrows your watch to tell you what time it is.

That resonated with me because it was true.

The best consulting leverages the awareness, knowledge, and skills of others. What the consultant brings is a process.

I did that as an internal consultant – and so the segue was smooth moving from internal to external.

The Secrets in the Sauce

… include:

  1. Having a Process to address the issue at hand – one that is as structured and as Rigorous as Required and as Flexible as Feasible.

2. And a second secret – is facilitating a team of experts in that structured process to generate data and insights.

You can’t lose sight of the client’s issues and goals – but you cannot lose the group that you are working with. You need to be able to accommodate them.

This past week someone in an exchange on LinkedIn remarked that they were going to relook at their “process of engaging SMEs in unstructured task analysis/brainstorming” – to which I replied:

“I would avoid an unstructured approach. I’ve been using a very structured approach to analysis, and design, and development since 1979. Most of my books address doing ISD in that manner.”

Here are 3 articles on this – two from 1984 and one from 1999 about my shift in 1979 to as Group or Team-Based Process.

Performance-Based Curriculum Architecture Design via a Facilitated Group Process – 6 page PDF– published in Training Magazine in September 1984. –This was the first publication about Curriculum Architecture Design. Plus – the original manuscript (30 pages) – How to Build a Training Structure That Won’t Keep Burning Down.

Models and Matrices – 5 page PDF, published in NSPI’s (ISPI’s) Performance & Instruction Journal, November 1984 – This was the first publication of the Performance and Enabler Analysis methods for ISD using a Facilitated Group Process that I have been using since 1979 and as an ISD consultant starting in 1982.

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.


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