POINT-OF-WORK ASSESSMENT: Perceptions Vs. Realities

After completing my most recent workshop, another round of fine-tuning has begun; in fact, I suspect each and every workshop will spawn the same reaction. I say this because every organization has a unique mix of Perceptions and Realities that frame restrainers that limit productivity and performance results within their learning performance ecosystems. That makes every workshop as unique as the gaps between Perceptions and Realities. Those gaps often represent blind spots in solution design decisions that traditionally default to Training. What if Training is not the optimal solution? What if Training is only a small part of the solution, and not nearly enough to optimize and sustain performance results? What are Realities telling us of what ELSE we need before optimization manifests at the Point-of-Work?

The Point-of-Work Assessment (PWA) methodology is agile enough to handle unique iterations of a mix of core discovery questions consistent as common denominators with additional unique questions defined by the gap(s) between Perceptions in a Top-Down discovery cascade to Realities only found at the Individual Contributor level at the Bottom. Training may be the routine, default solution…but what if the performance restrainers pit Perceptions of Training as the default solution against the Realities that Training will NOT deliver the impact required?

The PWA methodology is a “pre-design” discovery effort applying a performance consulting approach. The methodology has four distinct phases: (See Figure 1)

  • Phase 1 – Leadership Commitment, Alignment & Prioritization
  • Phase 2 – Point-of-Work Self-Assessment Survey (PWSAS)
  • Phase 3 – Iterative Discovery, Validation & Benchmarking
  • Phase 4 – Prioritized Solution Road Map for Agile Intentional Design
PWA Workflow

Point-of-Work Assessment Workflow – Figure 1

Phase 1 – The PWA is a Top-Down/Bottom-Up methodology that begins at the Leadership level (Top) to establish buy-in commitment while clarifying current mission, vision, and goals as they relate to learning strategy and tactical priorities. Additionally, Performance Restrainer Perceptions are discussed and include:

  • Known sources of performance challenge
  • Educated guesses
  • Assumptions, and/or hypotheses

Whether known or unknown, the Perceptions combine to support prioritization across targeted roles, work units, and/or business functions.

Phase 2 – Utilizes an online Self-Assessment Survey where Perceptions from Phase 1 are compared to Realities at Individual Contributor role levels (bottom). This comparison either validates or invalidates assumptions and hypotheses made during Phase 1 alignment and identifies gaps between Top-level Leadership Perceptions with Bottom-level Individual Contributor Realities.

Phase 3 – Analysis of these gaps identified I Phase 2 enable creation of business-relevant core question sets used in PWA discovery with targeted, task-centric, role-specific challenges at the Individual Contributor level. These findings identify what compromises productivity and/or impedes performance outcomes by identifying where to find true root cause(s).

Phase 3 also identifies critical performance analytics potential (KPIs) and current state benchmarks necessary to demonstrate measurable impact of any solution blend deployed. Also, the environmental drivers framed by workflow urgency to perform highlight where alternate delivery technologies may be necessary to ensure optimization of Workflow Learning and Performance.

Phase 3 findings are shared back upstream (Bottom-Up) with Leadership to compare initial Perceptions with the actual Realities revealed at Point-of-Work. Phase 3 is completed at the Leadership level to:

  • Reconfirm commitment to proceed
  • Re-validate and/or update assumptions based on Point-of-Work Realities
  • Target role-based workflow priorities that lead into Phase 4.

Phase 4 – Represents a collaborative interaction between the performance consulting role with existing agile, intentional design, production and delivery resources deployed in L&D. Additional collaboration may be indicated to include other affected business unit functions whose ownership has been identified by root cause sources out of scope for L&D.

Closing Thoughts

The PWA is not intended to deliver a detailed design solution that is storyboard ready. The PWA is intended to provide accurate targeting intelligence that tells us “which rock to look under” for root causes and the details necessary for building a solution design document. The objective is to reduce effort building solutions that will not deliver sustainable results and focus instead on quick solutions not typically part of the L&D solution set.

An agile design methodology like the Five Moments of Need will enable critical task analysis essential for defining the appropriate mix of resource assets to optimize a blend of Training (if necessary) with rapid deployment of Performance Support assets.

If this short posting resonates with you, I welcome a brief conversation to answer questions you may have and/or clarify PWA methodology in the event there may be a good fit in your L&D team. I welcome your visit my website – Living In Learning – for greater details on the PWA, the newSelf-Assessment Survey, PWA Workshop, PWA Coaching options, and an informative blog.

Thanks for reading and take good care!


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