DRIVER – Avoiding the Paralysis of Fear & Loathing of CHANGE


This post is somewhere between a rant and a ramble…just a courtesy heads-up…

In the last several weeks I’ve launched posts on an L&D CHANGE Discipline called DRIVER. The response has pleasantly been positive as indicated in comments, “likes” and shares. What blogger would not like that kind of response to suggesting CHANGE? Funny thing though, if there is only one response that is not positive or stoked fear or concern in a reader, I look in the mirror and question “What did I miss?”

Maybe it’s more of “What did I not position sufficiently?” more than “What did I miss?” I believe it is the former as I’ve experienced similar reactions as well when something new threatens to complicate the routines and familiarity of my work world.

My bad…I did not give adequate attention to the fact that shifting to an evolved discipline like DRIVER was nothing like upgrading Captivate, or buying into the latest version of Storyline, or deciding that micro-learning is the silver bullet so long awaited. Adopting DRIVER as an evolved L&D discipline is, in many cases, a transformational CHANGE event. There…I’ve said it…I used the “C” word that evokes fear and loathing in heads and hearts of people comfortable with status quo.

I have no intentions of offending anyone with this post, but likely will get a few of you all raked up in a pile over it. I’ll take that eventuality as my risk. The reward in considering this evolution is not mine to enjoy; rather, it is the power L&D teams will gain by simply shifting the starting point to a different ground zero – Point-of-Work.

I read years ago about CHANGE having about four tiers of participants within the same organization. I apologize for not providing a resource, but it’s not that important as I’m going to paraphrase (butcher) what my brain retained after reading it…Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve not withstanding

EnthusiastsThe group or individuals eager to line up as early adopters and give CHANGE a shot

Spectators The group or individuals who want to see how the CHANGE game is played before joining in and rushing the field to willingly support play

Skeptics Those convinced CHANGE is likely to fail and will not budge until seeing that it really works, and they are shamed into participation still harboring injured feelings for being shamed in front of peers

Walking DeadThose fit for working as extras in Zombie movies and unable or unwilling to buy-in to CHANGE at any price! My best advice…move on…unless they are senior leaders…then your task just got flanked by indecision and a shrinking budget. Options? Go Ninja…or continue to rearrange “status quo deck furniture”…or step away and update your resume and go find an organization not wrapped around the axle of an outdated, outflanked paradigm based upon training.

There ya go. That last tier should just about torque a few traditionalists with the Walking Dead description…and no…most of that was not exactly what I remembered from years ago; instead, it’s first-hand experience of dealing with that kind of resistance. When confronted with it, I’ll gladly move on.

Addressing resistance to evolve beyond status quo training strategy led to this CHANGE discipline I’ve called DRIVER and has evolved several times since the first design iteration six years ago. DRIVER is designed to be as dynamic as the learning performance ecosystem it enables.

One key evolution in the past few years involved positioning DRIVER as a Discipline rather than a Design Methodology…and there’s more to that statement than just word play. Why choose those words? Because there are already some powerful, proven methodologies in place…why re-invent the wheel? Why specify a new flavor of AGILE into the mix? DRIVER is a strategic re-think capable of utilizing many existing skill sets and adding a few new ones.

Mosher and Gottfredson’s 5 Moments of Need found at APPLY Synergies is a proven agile methodology (and has an excellent certificate program). The 5 Moments of Need gave me my most profound learning moment that there really cannot be a separation between learning and work. Even before discovering the Moments of Need my focus was locked onto the concept of a learning continuum from Point-of-Entry to Point-of-Work, but those five moments provided a framework that change my world and gave validation to Point-of-Work as the ground zero we need to visit to build any solution.

Also, consider 70:20:10, one of the most abused and misused models I’ve run across despite 70:20:10 providing the most accurate description of how we learn. And…70:20:10 is compatible with any flavor of AGILE you choose to use as well. Heck, the spirit of 70:20:10 framework is compatible with the 5 Moments of Need.

The 70:20:10 ratios get in the way in my opinion. They are not a recipe for what portions your learning solution should contain; rather, the ratios define how people learn best. 70% comes from hands-on engagement…a.k.a DOING the work…and what makes me all giggly about that is where that happens – yup…Point-of-Work.

20% is social collaboration with peers, managers, help desk, etc. And then we see the remaining 10% representing the formal training piece of the ratio.  Sadly, we often spend 80% of our resources on the 10%. I’m no genius but that seems a wee bit odd.

AS a side note, I will admit; however, it is hugely entertaining when a 70:20:10 designed solution winds up being 85:12:3 or even 95:5:0 if discovery was done correctly…or when discovery reveals a single checklist performance support object is sufficient to close the performance gap, and the ratio becomes 100:0:0. Some designers freak thinking they’ve failed the formula. Have you ever seen a seasoned ID self-combust? Not pretty, but truly, no rules were broken, and no developers were harmed in that blasphemous outcome.

As I said, “Why re-invent the wheel?” Either of these two methodologies (and there are others) have been proven time and again, and I’ve integrated both in different team efforts in the past. But…somebody had to be willing to CHANGE. That said, methinks both could be more effective if there was a front-end driver that boosted the deliverables to include sustained workforce capability.

And that’s why DRIVER is positioned as a discipline…it’s a CHANGE…a thinking protocol…a strategic re-think versus a tactical methodology that kicks in when somebody somewhere in the organization pops up and pulls the WE NEED TRAINING alarm and L&D scrambles to deploy ground forces to discover what should the learning objectives be…what competencies are we trying to fix or introduce as new…how much training is needed to satisfy the request (because we know there were tons of science behind the urgent request for an hour of sales training)…shut up…take the order…and then…out of habit…decide how do we ram this into Storyline?

Consider the graphic below…only the “D” Discovery …the “R” Road Map…and the “R” Replicate have the greatest potential to require CHANGE from what you already do; even then…none of it is rocket science…just not routine.

See DRIVER – A Repeatable, Agile, Discipline to Generate Learning Performance Guidance for details…

You can still use just about any authoring tools you already own. You can be as AGILE as you want with any methodology like 5 Moments or 70:20:10 you choose to adopt or a homegrown DIY variety. You can use SharePoint as a repository. Someday there may be a need to address performance guidance technology as the Skeptics add to end-user volume and you cannot keep up with changes and update maintenance and rumors begin to surface that you’ve lost people in SharePoint never to be heard from again.

The biggest CHANGE is on the front end. My emphasis is squarely on what you ask during “D” Discoveryand it ain’t your daddy’s training needs assessment…and then use those Point-of-Work findings to produce a “R” Road Map that prioritizes performance gap solutions at Point-of-Work BEFORE the first training storyboard is created. And who knows, if it’s a 100:0:0 ratio look at all the time and precious resources saved and how rapidly you responded with an informed, intentionally designed solution…and you used whatever design methodology floats your boat during the I-V-E parts of DRIVER.

The final “R” for Replicate is new because the objective here is ultimately to ensure that if there is going to be a 10% formal training component the content represents consistency of process and the opportunity to introduce technological application that will be utilized at Point-of-Work. In a sense you are embedding Point-of-Work into training.

Closing Thoughts

Okay, this may have been a little repetitive from a previous post, but I really do have a point…and it’s based upon the phrase “Stuff Rolls Downhill” or something less HR-appropriate does the rolling. Funny thing though…the same is true with CHANGE. It rolls downhill too…if it is sanctioned and sponsored appropriately. But…I must ask, “Where does CHANGE get that little nudge to get it rolling downhill and by whom is it nudged?”

You got it…somebody who bought into CHANGE…and is high enough in the organization to nudge…or gain permission to nudge.

THAT my friends is where DRIVER should first surface…high enough in the organization to get the nudge.

Trust me, pushing the CHANGE stone up the hill can indeed be hazardous to your career especially if there are Zombies at the top and the convenience of a reduction in force event blossoms before you’ve even reached base camp. It’s risky rocking the status quo boat if your assigned task is merrily rowing the damn thing.

DRIVER is not a transaction…it’s a journey to integrate a strategic re-think around where L&D should be when existing strategies and tactics get flanked by velocity of demand and continuous change.

Alright, this ramble is complete. I welcome comments and thoughts as you are so moved. Sorry if I tweaked anyone’s safe place, but methinks it time for a new discipline that can keep pace with the reality we find pressing in on us.

Take good care!

Gary G. Wise
Workforce Performance Advocate, Coach, Speaker 
(317) 437-2555
Web: Living In Learning