POINT-of-WORK:  Productivity Waning?  Accelerate It with Technology

This morning I sat on our deck enjoying my coffee while casually surveying our little ecosystem when I noticed the mammoth sunflowers bowing toward the ground. These gorgeous plants grow to twelve feet in height and as they become more and more productive they generate flowers as big as dinner plates. As they grow, the blossoms get heavy and if left unsupported, productivity bogs down. It seems my attempts to accelerate growth and seed production for a radical flock of goldfinches by fertilizing with Miracle-Gro was doing more harm than good.

That observation this morning poked my muse into action and here I am drawing a parallel with my professional life. In my head, the growth of those plants represents what’s happening with the growth of Digital Transformation in the workplace. I know…I know…it’s probably a stretch, but that’s how this twisted brain works. Consider this question – “At what point do we reach diminishing returns in workforce productivity by complicating existing workloads with more work to learn new systems?”


I’m certainly not suggesting we back off the trend of moving technology to the cloud, but we cannot overlook the impact of change on the workforce. “Digital fertilizer” in the form of cloud-based systems may be well-intended to accelerate productivity, but at what cost? Transitioning from familiar workflows and system processes will slow productivity as the workforce struggles to survive the new technology learning curve to reach full adoption.

How long is that learning curve and how much time does it take to reach competency? How many mistakes and errors are made to learn by doing? Are we relying upon Training to deliver competent system utilization that delivers increased productivity? Can Training keep up with the pace of acceleration of digital transformation integration across the enterprise? Yes, digital transformation must happen, but we cannot ignore the human capability transformation that must happen to ensure full adoption.

My point is this…we cannot sustain an accelerated pace of digital transformation without a parallel effort to accelerate effective user adoption of the new technology, especially if we seek increased productivity at Point-of-Work. Having survived countless enterprise system implementations; hours of unretainable knowledge transferred into my head; and fighting through the ensuing byproduct of Help Desk chaos, I’m convinced that accelerating competent technology adoption requires an aggressive tactic to converge learning and support at Point-of-Work where moments of need manifest. If we hope to accelerate productivity we must be as purposeful to accelerate workforce capability through creating readiness to perform at Point-of-Work.

Training is still part of that solution effort; however, training must become reflective of the work environment where moments of need surface…and shorten the learning curve by bringing Point-of-Work into the learning cycle at Point-of-Entry where first time learning opportunities are delivered.

How do you bring Point-of-Work into Training at Point-of-Entry? You integrate a Productivity Acceleration tool into the learning continuum where three things happen:

  • Learners utilize the same learning and support assets during Training that they will use as Performers at Point-of-Work.
  • Learners experience the same work scenarios during Point-of-Entry that are relevant to their Point-of-Work roles through experiential exercises and simulations
  • Learners utilize the same Productivity Acceleration technology during training activities that they will rely upon at Point-of-Work.

This tactical approach embeds a thread of continuity throughout the learning experience that has proven routinely to improve time-to-competency while reducing the down-time spent off-task for formal training.

The productivity acceleration technology is not just for the primary performers however. There are other functions that need to deliver outputs supported by productivity acceleration. Consider these supporting work functions:

  • Content Creation – Why not accelerate rapid content development of learning and support assets from multiple creators through collaborative authoring?
  • Content Maintenance – Why not accelerate additions, updates, edits on multiple content types by leveraging single-source documentation and onboard content management.
  • Contextual Delivery – Why not accelerate accessibility of both learning and support assets directly into business applications at the moment of need and synchronized within live workflows?
  • Utilization Data – Why not accelerate acquisition of performance data and asset utilization to speed decisions to rapidly fine-tune learning and support assets for effectiveness?

You’re probably wondering…or not…how would productivity acceleration apply to the sunflowers in our little ecosystem?  Tomato stakes and string; certainly not a digital solution…analog is more like it. But hey…enabling the plants to stand upright by whatever means and remove the additional burden of strain on the twelve-foot stalks fighting to remain upright under the load of their production I the objective. I will support productivity acceleration by a support system designed to off-load an unnecessary burden brought on by well-intended fertilization. In this simple solution the mantra of choosing the “right tool for the job” holds true. And I know one thing for a fact…the gold finches will be very happy when the productivity of those massive blossoms is accelerated in delivery of tasty treats.

Told you it might be a stretch…but I hope the message came across – to optimize digital transformation adoption there is a workforce productivity acceleration requirement involved to rapidly build and sustain user competency at Point-of-Work; you just need the right tool for the job.

Thanks for reading. As always, love to hear your thoughts if you care to share.

Take good care!


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