My most recent post addressed the concept of ACCESS to working knowledge at the Moment of Need and often at the Point-of-Work as being essential to drive tangible business results. In that post I included a list of 7-Right Things that, in essence, provide a road map of sorts to accomplishing holistic discovery and support for intentional design. Unlike the narrow scope of a Training Needs Assessment, tracking down the truth behind the 7-Right Things enables us to include the entirety of the learning and performance ecosystem we should be embracing with our solutions. This practice is critical given that training alone cannot drive performance – only potential.
The response to “Is Managing Learning Enough…Or Is Broader ACCESS the End-Game?” was very positive, and in particular, many responses gravitated to the 7-Right Things. So…I said to myself, “Self…expand on the 7-Right Things!” And here we are…
The road map to which I reference is the core of a Point-of-Work Assessment – PWA; some may be more comfortable looking through the lens of a performance consultant and refer to the process as a Performance Diagnostic. Matters not what you choose to call the process; the focus is on Performance that is accomplished at the Point-of-Work.
Addressing the Point-of-Work as ground zero is important, but it goes a bit deeper…what’s actually happening there…and…what Moments of Need surface within the workflow. Defining ground zero is only the beginning. The scope of Discovery during a Point-of-Work Assessment requires we examine much more than knowledge and skill requirements. We need more details to clarify the 7-Right Things and they fall into six categories as follows:
- ENVIRONMENT – What are working conditions like? Urgency to perform? Business risk? Mission criticality? Prioritization?
- PEOPLE – Who is doing the work? Who supports that effort? Who harvests the results?
- PROCESS – What is the work? What are task-centric, role-specific attributes at the Point-of-Work?
- CONTENT – What content assets are consumed to accomplish the work? Where are they? Are they accessible?
- TECHNOLOGY – What enterprise systems, business applications, and end-user devices are used to accomplish the work?
- METRICS & MEASURES – What are the measurable data that reveal evidence of business impact from accomplishing the work?
Why these categories? Simply put, somebody(s) must DO the WORK using ASSETS designed intentionally to support that effort at the Point-of-Work and Moment of Need by way of some sort of TECHNOLOGY(s) interface(s) to produce tangible RESULTS accepted as evidence of impact. Truly, not rocket science is it?
The list above represents the core of a Point-of-Work Assessment. The call-to-action for L&D is to have staff capable of operating comfortably and effectively in the domain of the Point-of-Work exclusive of being a SMEOEDT…SME of Every Damn Thing. This mission… should you choose to accept it…is to seek out individuals possessing the expertise of a performance consultant. Find one or develop one. Methinks having one in the mix is no longer an option if the L&D function has a prayer of breaking free of the limiting blinders of the traditional Training Paradigm.
Could there be more than seven? Could be, but what is more important than how many there are, is what the seven I’ve chosen to build upon represent in the context of PERFORMANCE at the Point-of-Work. Don’t get caught up in the number or you could be the type of bloke to blow a seal if your 70:20:10 turns out to be 85:12:3. I’m giving you the guiding road map…not the journey.
In that earlier post I mentioned the pivot point for these 7-Right Things was ACCESS. Of the three criteria of ACCESSIBLE – BUSINESS RELEVANT @ POINT-OF-WORK – EFFECTIVE @ MOMENT OF NEED, I believe ACCESS is the BDD…big damn deal.
If you cannot get to [the ASSETS(s)] when needed, the rest of the recipe components are wasted ingredients; kind of like trying to get to a Fire Safety course on the LMS when the moment of need is…Hair On Fire.
Okay…so here they are…
- The RIGHT ASSETS
And what, pray tell, might they be? Well, go back to the five categories of the Performance Assessment listed above as the source for this answer. Are the right ASSETS a stand-alone compliance course, a micro-learning object, a checklist, a video clip, an insight of wisdom, collaboration with a SME over IM? Who knows without diagnosing the POINT-of-Work and Moment of Need?
- Accessible by the RIGHT USER
Go back to the categories above. The Assessment needs to define the PEOPLE involved with the work. The obvious person(s) is/are those actually hands-on DOING the work. But there are more. Who is tasked with supervising, managing, mentoring, and/or coaching? Who is in a support role outside of direct contact…like Help Desk, SMEs, Oracles, and/or Gurus? Ever developed a course and excluded the secondary support folks. I have. Many times. Why? Because I focused on a training event hundreds of miles away from the Point-of-Work. Don’t forget…it takes a village to sustain workforce performance.
- At the RIGHT MOMENT OF NEED
The single-most validating concept that connected the dots between a background of performance consulting and the L&D discipline was drinking the Kool-Aid of Dr. Conrad Gottfredson’s 5-Moments of Need.
- NEW – Learning something new or for the first time – Excel – perfect for a training solution. *
- MORE – Learning more of something, enhancing knowledge, complexity – Pivot Tables – also perfect for a training solution. *
- APPLY – My personal favorite because it manifests down-stream, post-training, and at the Point-of-Work. More specifically, this is the Moment where knowledge and skills gained in #1 & #2 and/or from intentionally designed performance support assets critical to DOING the work are APPLIED. This would be ground zero I described earlier.
- CHANGE – Another post-training scenario where a workflow or process or policy or promotion or product or competitive scenario has CHANGED and the work at the moment of APPLY has a new wrinkle. And here’s the “gotcha” if following a Training Paradigm; any of what I just listed might default to yanking the workforce off task to endure an emergency training course/class. “Defaulting” to training may be the familiar path…but…is that in the absence of having a viable performance road map? Just sayin’!
- SOLVE – Now we’re talking workforce agility and resilience when things come off the rails. What do I do when I need “Plan B”? This is the classic break-fix moment where a deviation to a new/different workflow may be required at a moment’s notice. Yes, we trained on disaster recovery, but now that I’m up to my ass in alligators I can’t remember what to do first. Failure to perform in an agile manner or demonstrate resilience on the spot may be the ticket when business value and/or liability and/or creation of material waste hang in the balance of the decision to DO SOMETHING.
I became a performance consultant years before I drank the 5-Moments Kool-Aid. So Conrad, thank you…and your colleague Bob Mosher…this is your fault. Your Moments evolved my thinking and my approach that facilitated my ability to effectively posture the critical need to adopt a Performance Paradigm in my last four corporate L&D roles. My advice for those reading this post…become familiar with these 5-Moments because the conversation with those locked into an old-school training paradigm must change sooner than later.
- In the RIGHT AMOUNT
Here’s another component design decision that can be largely driven by the PROCESS findings of the Diagnostic. Does “Hair on Fire” Moment of Need get resolved effectively with a 30-minute Fire Safety course locked up on the LMS? Or would a Job aid stating Stop – Drop – Roll be the correct AMOUNT of support? Truth is if you have no clue about the attributes defining Point-of-Work and Moment(s) of Need, you likely have not considered the URGENCY to PERFORM either. Add BUSINESS RISK into the equation and you have another consideration based upon TANGIBLE VALUE associated with an intentional design decision.
- In the RIGHT FORMAT
Recall those three ASSET criteria regarding Access, Relevance, and Effectiveness. Format is aligned with accessibility…and ultimately effectiveness and shapes decisions made during intentional design. It has to do with the TECHNOLOGY either in the hands of the Performer [Smart phone, Tablet, Desktop, Grease pencil, Hollow log, and/or whatever DEVICE is used to “pull from” or “push to” the Learner/Performer at their Moment of Need. Another consideration to keep in mind is the infrastructure of the Point-of-Work; example, if Wi-Fi bandwidth is an issue, would choosing a video format make sense? That example shines the light on TECHNOLOGY as a driver/restrainer of making the RIGHT FORMAT decision. I rest my case.
- To/From the RIGHT DEVICES
Now we’re looking at mobility at the Point-of-Work environment was well as in-place computers or POS (Point of Sale) TECHNOLOGY confirmed in the Diagnostic. The technology may not be bleeding edge and it will serve you well when making intentional design decisions that at some locations they use smoke signals and hollow logs to communicate. What’s more important to consider is the direction in which the assets flow. Are Performers “pulling” assets at their Moment of Need or are the Product people “pushing” drug efficacy information to a mobile sales force with instructions of what to say and not to say? Product people? What do they have to do with our L&D functions? Maybe nothing, but should we hog technology for our L&D functions or DISCOVER that the TECHNOLOGY already in use is compatible with what we [L&D] need to do in our own discipline? My point – There are synergies and interdependencies at the Point-of-Work we cannot ignore and a Performance Diagnostic will reveal those opportunities.
- With the RIGHT EVIDENCE OF IMPACT
Sorry…too much time in healthcare where EVERYTHING is evidence-based. What evidence are we looking for? What is the current [AS IS] performance data benchmarks? Without this little nugget how can we hope to measure impact? And if we cannot measure impact we have nothing to show for our efforts at Levels 3 or 4…and kiss ROI at Level 5 goodbye unless you are blessed with a bean counter who does NOT realize you may have cooked the books to manufacture evidence of your solution’s success. The Diagnostic enables identification of key performance indicators [KPIs] that are accepted by the stakeholder as viable evidence of performance. Without them we can only prove how wonderful we are at Level 1 and effective at enabling POTENTIAL at Level 2. Oh and we can always brag about how busy we are with course count, butts-in-seats, hours and hours of unproductive time off-task…wait…scratch that last bragging point. Just busy. Busy as hell. Need more budget to keep up.
I suppose there could be an 8th RIGHT THING to lay on you in closing…but it’s a stretch, and it would be…#8 – Make the RIGHT DECISION to adopt the 7-RIGHT THINGS as your road map guidance methodology. That said, don’t get wrapped around the axel of how many right things or what your 70:20:10 ratios turn out to be. Always step back and consider what we are doing and why we are doing it – To efficiently and effectively sustain workforce capability.
Yes, training is part of that equation…always will be…though I see the face shrinking and sliding into a secondary role to handle some HR and compliance type check-the-box training. To be honest, with xAPI capabilities, ever those venues may morph into smaller and smaller wastes of productive time.
When you hear your leadership say, “I don’t care if we ever develop another course!” that you realize you are in the right job…and…not the only one who drank the Kool-Aid.
Gary G. Wise