L&D: Learning in the Workflow?

Not Always the Best Approach

I Mean to Be Dramatic with This Post.

In the early-to-mid 1970s I served as a Journalist on the USS Okinawa LPH-3. I owned the CCTV System – Closed Circuit TV.

Well … the XO (Executive Officer) in charge of Ship’s Morale owned it – but he empowered me – and let me do my thing.

I did a 5 minute newscast and then showed entertainment every night from 1800 until 0200 (6 pm until 2 am for you landlubbers and other non-military types).

My captive audience included 600 sailors and 2400 Marines. We were a helicopter carrier. We sat off the coast of Vietnam waiting for the evacuation of Saigon 18 months before we actually did it, after rotating back to the US, and then back again to the South China Seas.

On Tuesdays we did School of The Ship for two hours before lunch. One day a chief asked me to turn on the system and show this film for him. I agreed to do so.

Just wow. If you do watch this you’ll know what I mean. 

My ship’s electric switchboard had this nasty habit of catching on fire every once in a while and we all went to General Quarters (Battle Stations) while the Damage Control Parties put out the fire. During the day, in the middle of the night.

So this film resonated with me the first time I saw it.

I showed the following film about the 1967 fire on the USS Forrestal (of John McCain fame BTW) every week and sometimes 3-4 times a week – when we were out at sea. I caught hell for doing so from my fellow travelers everywhere I went on the ship when I wasn’t working.

I won’t type out my response to them here. 

From Wikipedia:

 “On the one hand, there were damage-control teams spraying firefighting foam on the deck to contain the flames, which was the correct procedure, while on the other hand, crewmen on the other side of the deck sprayed seawater, washing away the foam and worsening the situation by washing burning fuel through the hole in the flight deck into the decks below.”

18 minute Film:

Narrator at the end of the film:

  • “We’ll never learn how many men were lost because some things were done the wrong way.”
  • “134 men were killed by this fire.”
  • “Learn or Burn Baby. Learn or Burn.”

Watching this now – for the first time in over 40 years – I now know where I got one of my catch phrases:

“I’ve been burned and so I’ve learned.”

May you learn to think about what can go wrong and how bad it might be – as you decide what should be learned in the workflow – or not.

It’s not always the best approach. The US Navy showed this film for Learning purposes in boot camp to all sailors – according to Wikipedia. But my job in my boot camp company (Master at Arms) had me hanging out in the barracks for its daily inspection to crawl under the 75 racks (beds) to see if the deck (floor) was clean or not and to determine how many demerits we would receive that day and how many laps we’d then run with our rifles in the air on the grinder (parade ground) that evening.

Fun times.

It’s also where I met Bill Brandon. At boot camp at the NTC in San Diego in early 1973. On Worm Island. But that’s another story for another time.


Me in 1974 on the hanger deck of the USS Okinawa.

For more about this fire – from Wikipedia – please go – here.

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L&D/PI: Beware of False Prophets Called HR People (A Warning from Rummler)

The Wisdom of Geary A. Rummler

Advance the Video – from the ISPI 2009 Conference Tribute to Geary Rummler – to the 43:17 mark… where Bill Wiggenhorn relays to us the wisdom of the late Geary Rummler :

“Beware of False Prophets Called HR People. They’re coming in with whiz-bang tools, they’re going to rank and rate you, they’re going to assess you, they’re going to tell you what you should be doing. But they don’t understand the organization.”

Bill was the leader of Motorola University – and MTEC – Motorola Training & Education Center. He brought Rummler in to help orient the new staff of MTEC, in April to a Performance Orientation. That full day 1981 session – that I was fortunate enough to attend, one week before my official start date – was also recorded and a 46 minute excerpt is available – here.

Also – in this video above – after Bill – is Alan Ramias, my co-worker when I worked for Bill at MTEC (1981-1982) – where he tells of Rummler’s impact to that thingy called: Six Sigma. Maybe you’ve heard of it. (Just thought while you’re here on this video….)

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L&D: Bolt an APPO Onto L&D Modes & Media That Cannot Provide Them

Sometimes the Chosen Deployment Mode Just Cannot Provide the APPOs Needed

And sometimes it isn’t needed – so … no harm/ no foul.

BTW – APPO – is my PACT Processes’ shorthand for Application Exercises.


Sometimes a Chain of INO-DEMO-APPO Is Needed

DEMOs and APPOs in addition to INO(s) are sometimes critical to help people Learn. You need to go beyond Informing them.

And sometimes not…

  • Simple tasks do not typically need DEMOs and APPOs
  • Straightforward tasks typically do not need DEMOs and APPOs
  • Familiar tasks do not typically need DEMOs and APPOs
  • Tweaked tasks typically do not need DEMOs and APPOs

But sometimes they do.

Understand the incoming education & experiences of the Target Audience – and the variances from one learner/Performer to another.


The INFO – tells ’em.

The DEMO – shows ’em.

And the APPO – is where they tell it and show it back. To confirm that Learning has occurred. Or begun. And should lead to additional APPOs that get harder and/or address different nuances from the authentic Performance Context.

Some Modes/Media Can Provide both Practice and Feedback


*These Modes/Media options typically can handle the APPOs needed.

And if some of the Target Audience will know these – including leveraging/using that in the design of the APPO.

So some won’t get bored. And some will get to demonstrate what they already know and help others. And that will validate your content for those who may not be so sure that what is being taught is real.

Some Modes/Media Just Cannot Provide both Practice and Feedback

Some Modes/Media sets cannot provide both DEMOs and APPOs. Some can handle DEMOS OK – but not the APPO.


Bolt-Ons Blended In Will Require the Use of an Appropriate Mode/Media

Bolt on what you need to accomplish enough Mastery to go back to the job – and continue the Learning there. With enough confidence that they won’t revert back to what they did prior. A.K.A.: Backsliding.


PACT Resources Available for DIY Learning

And, of course – these resources – will not provide you with the Authentic Practice & Feedback that might be necessary or not for your development – depending on your Education and Experience.

But perhaps you don’t/won’t need that. As always – It depends.

  • For Sale: Books – 13 books – some available as hardbound, and others as paperbacks and Kindles.
  • For Free: Audio Podcasts – including 12 on lean-ISD, 4 on T&D Systems View, 4 on Management Areas of Performance, several done with Thiagi, and others of Guy done by others – and shared here on their behalf.
  • For Free: Publications: Chapters, Articles PDFs – many of Guy’s chapters (in others’ books), and articles going back to the early 1980s available as PDFs.
  • For Free: Book PDFs – several books offered as free PDFs – and please note: most are also available “for sale” in either hardbound and/or paperback versions.
  • For Free: School of PACT Video Short Series – 55+ “video shorts” on my PACT Processes for T&D/ Learning/ Knowledge Management. 
  • For Free: Video Podcasts By Guy – on various human performance improvement topics, concepts, models, methods, tools and techniques, from Guy’s toolkit.
  • For Free: Presentations – many of Guy’s presentations going back to the early 1980s available as PDFs.


Shortcut to focused resources about strickly PACT:

  • PACT Resources – a list of links to the many free and for a fee resources about The PACT Processes for ISD – Training – Learning – Knowledge Management. Mostly free stuff.

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L&D: In a Learning Culture

IMO: A Learning Culture Isn’t the Responsibility of L&D Leadership

It’s the responsibility of all of the executives. And only a small part of that culture has anything to do with Learning/Training Content. It’s a mindset, expectations, inquisitiveness, openness.

Thanks to Trish Uhl for tangentially getting me going on this – from our Twitter exchange on December 2, 2017. Follow her at: @trishuhl


A Learning Culture is What Defines a Learning Organization

But first – before my views – a look at Four Views from others…

View One:

Adapted From Wikipedia

Likert’s management systems are management styles developed by Rensis Likert in the 1960s. He outlined four systems of management to describe the relationship, involvement, and roles of managers and subordinates in industrial settings.

Exploitative Authoritative System (I)

In this style, the leader has a low concern for people and uses such methods as threats and other fear-based methods to achieve conformance. Communication is almost entirely downwards and the psychologically distant concerns of people are ignored. People are supposed to work more than specified work hours. The top management forced to carryout extra work load, but the wages, monetary benefits and work satisfaction would be lost. people found highly demotivated due to exploited by owner/ management.

Benevolent Authoritative System (II)

Less controlling than the exploitative authoritative system, under this system motivation is based on the potential for punishment and partially on rewards. The decision making area is expanded by allowing lower-level employees to be involved in policy-making but is limited by the framework given to them from upper-level management. Major policy decisions are still left to those at the top, who have some awareness of the problems that occur at lower levels. This creates mainly downward communication from supervisors to employees with little upward communication, causing subordinates to be somewhat suspicious of communication coming from the top. The managers at the top feel more responsibility towards organizational goals than those employees at the bottom, who feel very little responsibility. This contrast in feelings toward responsibility can result in a conflict and negative attitudes with the organization’s goals. Subordinates in this system can become hostile towards each other because of the competition that is created between them. Satisfaction among workers is low to moderately-low and productivity is measured at fair to good.

Consultative System (III)

This theory is very closely related to the human-relations theory. Motivation of workers is gained through rewards, occasional punishments, and very little involvement in making decisions and goals. Lower-level employees, in this system, have the freedom to make specific decisions that will affect their work. Upper-management still has control over policies and general decisions that affect an organization. Managers will talk to their subordinates about problems and action plans before they set organizational goals. Communication in this system flows both downward and upward, though upward is more limited. This promotes a more positive effect on employee relationships and allows them to be more cooperative. Lower-level employees are seen as consultants to decisions that were made and are more willing to accept them because of their involvement. Satisfaction in this system improves from benevolent authoritative as does productivity.

Participative System (IV)

Likert argued that the participative system was the most effective form of management. This system coincides with human-resources theory. This system promotes genuine participation in making decisions and setting goals through free-flowing horizontal communication and tapping into the creativity and skills of workers. Managers are fully aware of the problems that go on in the lower-levels of the organization. All organizational goals are accepted by everyone because they were set through group participation. There is a high level of responsibility and accountability of the organizational goals in all of the employees. Managers motivate employees through a system that produces monetary awards and participation in goal setting. Satisfaction among employees is the highest out of the four systems as is production.

View Two:

Adapted From Wikipedia

The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organizatio(Senge 1990) 

The five disciplines of what the book refers to as a “learning organization” discussed in the book are:

  1. “Personal mastery is a discipline of continually clarifying and deepening our personal vision, of focusing our energies, of developing patience, and of seeing reality objectively.”
  2. “Mental models are deeply ingrained assumptions, generalizations, or even pictures of images that influence how we understand the world and how we take action.”
  3. “Building shared vision – a practice of unearthing shared pictures of the future that foster genuine commitment and enrollment rather than compliance.”
  4. “Team learning starts with dialogue, the capacity of members of a team to suspend assumptions and enter into genuine thinking together.”
  5. “Systems Thinking – The Fifth Discipline that integrates the other four.”

View Three:

The late W. Edwards Deming said: “I should estimate that in my experience most troubles and most possibilities for improvement add up to the proportions something like this: 94% belongs to the system (responsibility of management) with 6% special.”

He also said: “Money and time spent for training will be ineffective unless inhibitors to good work are removed.”

Deming’s System of Profound Knowledge – 14 Point:

  1. Create constancy of purpose for improving products and services.
  2. Adopt the new philosophy.
  3. Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality.
  4. End the practice of awarding business on price alone; instead, minimize total cost by working with a single supplier.
  5. Improve constantly and forever every process for planning, production and service.
  6. Institute training on the job.
  7. Adopt and institute leadership.
  8. Drive out fear.
  9. Break down barriers between staff areas.
  10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations and targets for the workforce.
  11. Eliminate numerical quotas for the workforce and numerical goals for management.
  12. Remove barriers that rob people of pride of workmanship, and eliminate the annual rating or merit system.
  13. Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement for everyone.
  14. Put everybody in the company to work accomplishing the transformation.


View Four:

The late Geary A. Rummler said (long before the Rummler-Brache Improving Performance book came out in 1990 BTW):

Put a good performer in a bad system and the system wins every time.


And in 1967 Rummler wrote:


See my Post and a PDF about this 1967 Rummler “We can’t Get There From Here” viewpoint – here.

With those 4 View in mind… 

Back to Us – We in the L&D/T&D and Knowledge Management Professions…

L&D: In a Learning Culture

A Learning Culture isn’t about the Enterprise consuming more of your Learning Products/Services. Nor are you responsible for creating and sustaining the Learning Culture. It is hardly about you – L&D. A Learning Culture is created by the overt expectations of and consequences provided by the top management, middle management, supervisors and peers of every individual and team.

In a Learning Culture individuals and teams work hard and smart to advance the Enterprise’s strategic and tactical goals – openly learning and sharing, effectively and efficiently – what works and what doesn’t – and reaching out for support when needed without fear. Contentious Debate is replaced by Curious Dialogue.

In a Learning Culture top management communicates enough and often enough, without violating their fiduciary responsibility, the strategic and tactical goals to all, and steps up to proving the support resources necessary to each team. And bottom up communications are valued and rewarded – especially those communications.

In a Learning Culture measurement data, reflective of the past and present and predictive of the future, is the lifeblood of sound planning and plan adaptation – and is never used to punish others. It is used to learn from and to improve with.

In a Learning Culture all Enterprise processes are as rigid as required and as flexible as feasible, and are resourced and measured appropriately, and are continuously improved, consistent with the strategic plans of the Enterprise.

In a Learning Culture the learning needs of Novice Performers are fully met in a just in time manner, without overkill, or invalid content, with adequate practice and feedback and reinforcement as needed. Incumbent Performers are given the time and resources to pursue extended learning, consistent with their current assignments and the future possibilities of where their products/services – internally and/or externally consumed – might go – for R&D purposes.

We Have Been Given Our Guidance

Our challenges are seemingly not so new – but our response are seemingly too often so old.

We have failed all too often in learning from the past, and the experiences and lessons learned from our professional predecessors. That just makes it harder to move forward.


Yet we carry on.

But being better informed or not while moving forward is your choice. Dropping the baton and not going back for it is also your choice.

Are you a Learning Individual?

Who Else From Our Profession’s Past Do You Take Counsel From?

And who from outside the Profession?

Many – not all – of the people who influenced me – can be found in my First Friday Favorite Guru Series (42 of them) – here. The monthly Blog Post Series ran from July 2012 until December 2015.

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L&D: Clarify Learning Needs via Performance Tests

No Learning Need Apply

That’s what happened. The client decided that a Curriculum Architecture Design (CAD) effort wouldn’t be needed after administering over 2000 Performance Tests to over 20 technical populations as as a central part of their new Pay Progression Program.

The year was 1987 … 30 years ago.

The location was the cold cold cold (did I mention that it was cold?) Performance Context of the oil fields of the North Slope of Alaska in Prudhoe Bay.


No MCD (my ADDIE-like Project Planning & Management Framework) efforts to follow the development of the CAD efforts’ T&D/Learning Paths where existing T&D/Learning was to be rationalized and gaps identified and then prioritized after the administration of the tests.

I was brought in to develop the methodology to be used by my two business partners and staff and several sub-contractors we brought in for what would be (at the time) our largest consulting engagement to date.

2007-11-01 004

I was up-to-my-neck with another client implementing a large scale Content development effort, post-CAD.

But as I was the firm’s expert in CAD – advancing the methods and tools and techniques – and this was an effort to both define the Performance Expectations, define the Performance Competence requirements across the 20+ populations (the number changed during the project as reorganizations were going on simultaneously with our effort) with our team – and consistency our consultants’ efforts from one Target Audience to the next had to be close enough to perfect that Tests that could be shared would be shared – one of the things I strive for in all my efforts.


My small role in the project was to create the methodology – structure the Analysis Meetings for use 20+ times, and structure the long post-Analysis Design Meeting (5 days if I recall correctly), design the Test formats (so we could begin with the end in mind) and then Pilot Test the methodology.

My Methodology Pilot-Test group did the maintenance of all vehicles on site – where we let our assigned trucks run 24/7 so that they wouldn’t freeze overnight – did I mention that it was cold out? – where they had an entire Fire Engine in spare parts warehoused because ordering a needed part would result in a 8 hour delay as things were shipped from Anchorage – and that would be unacceptable as it would mean less ability to fight any fire – at an oil field.

A Souvenir In My Collection

2007-11-01 008

Over 2000 Performance Tests Developed

These Tests were Open Book and each followed one of three types:

  • Real Work
  • Simulated Work
  • Talk-Thru-Troubleshooting

The Test method preference followed that order.

Perf Tests

The Target Audience – it should be noted – were all seasoned veterans in their Technical Disciplines. Our client had a need to prove that and build that in to their Pay Progression Program.

Open Book meant that the Tests were available for review before any Testing occurred – and that any reference tools that could be used on-the-job would also be allowed during testing.

And because the effort “had everyone by the wallet” so to speak – the success rate was very high – negating the need for both the post-project Curriculum Architecture Design and then the follow on to that for Instructional Content development efforts.

An Aside

This project and another for that other client that had me otherwise occupied during this effort led me to create a similar (subset) methodology that I labeled IAD – Instructional Activity Development/Acquisition. The intent with IAD was to build some components of Instruction and later (perhaps) wrap those components with a complete package of Instruction.

The other client wanted a bunch of Performance DEMOs – from my INFO-DEMO-APPO Instructional Design framework for Lesson Design – for a National Sales Meeting they had coming up – and we knew we could not build all of the Training needed in time – but could build the DEMOs – which were centered on applying the SPIN methodology of Neil Rackham.

I had introduced Neil and SPIN to the client – as I had really wanted the client to embrace his (and John Carlisle’s) approach to Win-Win Negotiations that I had experience with back during my time at MTEC – Motorola’s Training & Education Center (the forerunner to Motorola University) in 1981-1982.

Early Book Reviews

Darlene Van Tiem:

Svenson and Wallace provide a definitive guidebook complete with sound advice and a wealth of examples, covering everything you need to establish and sustain a successful qualification/certification system!


Joe Durzo:

This whole book is like a road map to unexplored territory. Some practitioners have been there before but left no maps to guide those who follow. You have mapped out a complex territory that has had little systematic attention but which is very important.

This book is a very useful contribution to the practice of performance development and improvement. Most of the professional literature focuses on elements of the system—test development, feedback, etc. and NOT on the design and management of a whole-company approach to qualification and certification. Most of the really difficult issues are not in the individual blades of grass, but are in the overall landscape which you describe so well.

This book should be required reading for anyone who is venturing out for the first time to create a qualification/assessment/certification system.

Anita Augustine:

I like the questions approach used at the beginning and end of each chapter. I very much like the preface. It “sets” the book well regarding expectations. Emphasis on project plan criticality is GOOD! For some reason, establishing a strong agenda, for meetings, seems to be very difficult for most; these samples should be most helpful! The case studies are strong and I’m glad you incorporated those; most helpful. I really liked the work overall; it is thorough and well done.

Mark Graham Brown:

Thanks for sending me the book! You guys have done an amazing amount of work to document all this stuff and present it using beautiful pages. It looks very professional.

If the goal is to give someone step-by-step directions on how to design, develop, and maintain such a system, there is a lot of great detail here. Chapter 1 is interesting reading, addresses key questions a reader should have, and is clearly written. The book is clearly based on some valuable real-world experience. The Alaska examples are good case studies. The book is a great documentation of the process and lessons learned on these two projects.

Louise Leone:

In my opinion the first few chapters are written in a way that does interest people like myself. I think you guys have done a nice job in grabbing the audience early.

Jim Russell:

I like the 9 part cover diagram! Clear, simply written, easy to follow. The book format and layout look good – eye appeal! Excellent introductory chapters. Chapters 3-6 provide a good overview of the system. Chapters 7-10 provide more detail about the system. Excellent lists and tables. You’ve hit the target and are on the mark!

John Swinney:

This is a manual for building a bullet-proof, performance-based qualification and certification system. As complex as a project of this magnitude could be, this book provides the fundamental “how to.”

Very well done! I like the conversational style. You’ve taken a relatively complex and detailed process but have handled describing it with plain business language. The one thing I really like about all the work you guys have done together is that you are always aware of the needs of the business at every point of the process.

The project plan for the TMC Stores case study is worth the price of admission. It provides very good picture of how it all comes together. Nice addition! If I was charged with that responsibility, this book is where I’d start! Given the book as the operating guide, I think I could take the project plan and begin to do it!

Written in 2007 and Released in 2008

This 2007 book is available as a FREE 226 page PDF – here.

2008 PB EQCS Book Cover

But – what’s the cost of your printing and binding? 

Click on the title below to buy a $15 paperback copy…

Performance-based Employee Qualification/ Certification Systems (2007) – as a Paperback

The Kindle version is: $9.99

My 1987 Video Tour of the Prudhoe Bay Living Quarters

In a series of trailers – constructed on stilts over the permafrost/tundra – just over 15 minutes in length … where I just might have invented the Video Selfie via a Mirror.

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L&D: Your Leadership Foci: Alignment

Being Aligned Is Important

Alignment to What?

To the priority needs of the Enterprise.

Align What?

Your current efforts, your Strategies, your Tactics, your Measures and your Improvements.


I organized my model using two views – both using my L-C-S – Leadership-Core-Support framework.

Here is the non-Clockface view:


Back to the Clockface View.

12 O’Clock

This is the place to start – right now. Formally is your stakeholders are complex. Less formally if not so complex.

As always – It depends.


1 O’Clock

Is your L&D Strategic Plan aligned to those of your Stakeholders?


2 O’Clock

Is your current Operations Plan and Budget aligned to your Strategic and Operational Plans of your Stakeholders?


3 O’Clock

Is your Measurement Plan aligned to your Strategic and Operational Plans of your Stakeholders?


4 O’Clock

Are your own internal Improvements Plans and activities aligned to help you meet and enable the Strategic and Operational Plans of your Stakeholders?


An Overview of the T&D Systems View Model

It is complex. But here is a relatively simple view.


Past Posts on the Leadership Areas of Performance of the Model

Part 1: 12 O’clock: The T&D Governance & Advisory System – January 2015

Part 2: 1 O’clock: The T&D Strategic Planning System –  February 2015

Part 3: 2 O’clock: The T&D Operations Planning & Management System – March 2015

Part 4: 3 O’clock: T&D Cost/Benefits Measurement System – April 2015

Part 5: 4 O’clock: T&D Process Improvement System – May 2015

All Covered in My 2001 Book


Assessment Tool – Right Out Of The Book

Here is a 31 page PDF to conduct a fairly quick assessment of the current state adequacy of those 47 processes:

TDSV Preliminary Assessment PDF

Book Review From 2001


2 Presentations

T&D Systems View – ISPI – 2000 – 46 page PDF – from the 2000 ISPI Conference – covers the T&D Systems View from Guy’s eventual 2001 book of the same name.

TDSV – ISPI Fall Conference – 2004 – 84 page PDF – covers assessing the T&D System to identify targets with worthy ROI potential.

5 Day Workshop Presentation

TDSV Assessment – 5 Day WS – 2007 – 372 page PDF – created for a 5 day workshop in Russia that never happened. Originally an aggressive/fast-paced 3-day workshop – it was extended due to anticipated language/communications issues.

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