Point-of-Work (PoW) is where measurable business outcomes are generated…or they are lost…or if not lost…compromised. I am an advocate that, at the core, Workforce Transformation has a direct line to optimization of sustained productivity and profitability, and these outcomes require measurable performance outcomes manifesting at Point-of-Work That single fact seems straight-forward to this camper and that if we truly seek positive business outcomes as our endgame, shouldn’t we focus our discovery and solution designs there first? It only took me 20 years to shift my thinking…adopt a new performance DRIVER…and solution results.
Maybe we really DO need training solutions…but then…maybe not. Do not rely exclusively upon a Training Needs Assessment as it only addresses 1/6th of a dynamic learning performance ecosystem in the People/Capability bucket. Use a PWA to include performance attributes of the remaining 5/6th of the ecosystem for developing holistic learning performance solutions…many having little to nothing to do with a training solution. Why task precious resources to build on the premise that the workforce needs training; especially when there are five other sources besides People/Capability at PoW that may reveal the true root causes restraining performance. (See Figure #1)
There is a gap in that approach, and we have all been guilty of it. Our stakeholders are conditioned by L&D to believe Training Drives Performance…ummm…no…that is a myth. Training contributes to potential…not performance…and last I checked; potential does not pay the rent.
My own gap for the first 20 years of my L&D career, I never considered there was a need to engage at PoW. Training WAS the standard solution, so why look beyond the obvious? Obviously, our L&D team were order-takers and more focused on efficiently and effectively transferring knowledge which is/was what we were scoped and compensated to do. The blind spot of never considering the PoW prevented us from taking our status-quo-methodology and solution design downstream to include sustaining workforce capability at PoW. Can you also say “Cultural Blindspot?”
Despite over thirty years in corporate L&D…only my last dozen or so focused on PoW. Things changed radically when I cut my performance consulting teeth at the hands of Joe Harless and Dana Gaines Robinson to name only two key influencers. After certifying in the Human Performance Improvement (HPI) discipline (ATD’s precursor to CPLP) my “aha moment” struck and motivated me to shake things up a bit and evolve my standard practice of relying heavily upon a Training Needs assessment upon receiving stakeholder requests. I felt compelled to dig a bit deeper into the requests for training…something a bit more holistic…something scoped for ecosystem-wide consumption…not just training. What resulted was an evolved pre-design discovery methodology called POINT-of-Work Assessment – PWA
One thing led to another and the PWA output immediately clashed against existing training paradigms where every performance solution knee-jerked its way to becoming a training solution. Training solutions are often exclusively accepted as relevant…and always will be…at times – Training is not now…nor never was…scoped to be efficiently and effectively applicable at PoW. Certainly, training helps, but training alone does not represent a sustainable solution due to rapid degradation of retained knowledge. Add in velocity of demand and continuous nature of change, and neither L&D resources nor the training solutions they create can keep pace.
If our endgame is sustained capability of our workforce at PoW and enabling rapid engagement in value creation, we needed an evolution in our approach – a new DRIVER focused on performance. DRIVER fits hand-in-glove with Workflow Learning (See Figure #2)
The DRIVER discipline is based upon an expanded hybrid of pre-design discovery, performance road mapping, followed by agile design methods/tactics and technologies that extent reach to PoW to address task-centric, role-specific needs that manifest real-time within workflows at moment of need. Foundational technologies include Digital Adoption Solution (DAS) Platforms…formerly known as Electronic Performance Support (EPS/EPSS). The components of DRIVER have requirements for refined discovery skills (Performance Consulting) and agile design/development tactics (Intentional Design). More importantly, methinks we find cultural mindsets locked and cocked to fire training at every performance challenge also require a strategic if not tactical shift in thinking.
Let us take a closer look at DRIVER:
- “D” Discovery – Holistic Point-of-Work Assessment (PWA)
- Investigate All Six Performance Restrainer Categories of the PWA
- Strategy & Business Goal Alignment (Stakeholder Leadership Defined)
- Mapping Ecosystem Interdependencies (Ripple Effect)
- Business Issue Prioritization (Stakeholder Leadership Defined)
- Complete Task-centric, Role-specific PWA Performance Restrainers
- Identify Root Cause(s) Contributing to Sub-optimal Performance Outcomes
- Complete Evidence-of-Impact Criteria/Target Planning (Level 3 & 4 Analytics)
- “R” Roadmap – Ecosystem-wide Learning Performance Road Map
- Competency Alignment if/when Appropriate
- Holistic Performance Continuum Mapping from Point-of-Entry to Point-of-Work
- Map High-Level Pre-Design Aligned with Identified Performance Challenges
- Map Change Management and Communications Planning
- Leverage PWA Discovery to Support Agile Design/Development/Delivery
- Identify the Characteristics of 7-Right Things Critical for Agile Design
- “I3” Intentional Design – Evolved Scope for Holistic Learning Performance Continuum
- Utilize Agile Design & Rapid Development tools for Incremental Solution Testing
- Address the 7 Right Things Addressed in the Performance Road Map
- Integration of Solution Assets into Workflow(s) Utilizing DAS Technology
- Include User/SME Feedback Loop for Iteration Refinement Best Practices
- Iterate Based Upon Pilot Feedback from End-Users and/or SMEs
- “V” Validate – Confirm “7 Right Things” Are Addressed at PoW (See Figure 2)
- Right Access to Effective, Efficient and Relevant Solution Assets
- By the Right End-User Population (Role-Specific& Task-Centric)
- At the Right Time (Accessible @ Moments of Need)
- In the Right Amount (Designed for Efficient Workflow Consumption @PoW)
- In the Right Format (Designed for Effective Workflow Application)
- Utilizing the Right Technology (To Optimize Access Within the Workflow)
- Yielding the Right Evidence of Measurable Impact (@ Levels 3 & 4)
- Confirm all 7-Right Things Through End-user/SME Feedback
- Utilize Feedback as Source Data to Support Asset Refinement Iterations
- Deploy/Implement Validated Solutions to Appropriate Target Users
- “E” Evidence – Performance Impact Analytics Acquisition
- Execution of Business Impact Evaluation Plan Defined in “Discovery”
- Acquisition of Data Targeted for Levels 3 & 4 Impact Evidence
- Identify Potential Integration with xAPI Performance Dashboards
- Analytics to Confirm Business Impact for Leadership Reporting
- Leverage Impact Evidence for Potential Future Asset Refinement
- “R” Replicate – Support “Create Once – Use Many Times” Development Tactics
- Define Content Management & Maintenance Protocols
- Leverage Agile Content Assets for Rapid Re-Use/Re-Deployment
- Seamlessly Re-Deploy Assets Across Ecosystem
- Embed Solution Assets in Formal Learning as Well as Workflows
- Enable Asset Scalability That Is Seamless, Frictionless and Ubiquitous
Notice in Figure #1 the “I3-V-E-R” portions of DRIVER represent the foundation for enabling and maintaining a Dynamic Learning Performance Continuum…meaning the integration of the critical 7 Right Things (See Figure #3) provide a thread of continuity for Learner/Performer experiences from Point-of-Entry through to their Workflows at Point-of-Work.
Yes, I have just tossed a change in thinking squarely into your lap. So…what now? What do you do with this? Where do you begin?
This is a call-to-action to see beyond the prevailing myth that Training Drives Performance to the accepting the reality of Potential as the only provable training outcome until our Performers graduate to their respective Points-of-Work where they actually generate measurable value and business outcomes. Sadly, we do not fail during Training…we fail at Point-of-Work. Should we not build solutions that zero in on performance challenges at Point-of-Work and Moment of Need?
The 7-Right Things defined above are compatible with any Agile Design methodology. My personal preference is the Five Moments of Need that are essential for designing Workflow Learning Solutions. At first glance, it may appear that the PWA is redundant when compared with Five Moments of Need; however, it is important to note that the PWA is only a pre-design discovery discipline as opposed to an agile solution design tool like Five moments of Need. That is precisely why “D” & “R” (Discovery and Road Mapping) of DRIVER are pre-design activities and separated from the “I-V-E-R” where any agile solution design methodology can benefit from the PWA’s Discovery and Road Mapping elements of DRIVER.
The strategic re-think to consider addresses this primary question:
Do you have a Dynamic Learning Performance Ecosystem in place today?
Frankly, every organization has one. The more relevant question is…
How optimized is it?
Followed by the question…
Do you have the L&D discovery skillsets and methodologies to optimize performance at Points-of-Work with agile workflow learning solutions?
Additional questions to consider are these:
- Does your L&D team have the performance consulting chops to effectively address the “Discovery” in DRIVER…to accomplish a PWA?
- Does your L&D team build Road Maps scoped to embrace an “Ecosystem-wide Learning Performance Continuum” from Point-of-Entry to Point-of-Work?
- Are you equipped to “Intentionally Design” content components to address attributes of “7 Right Things” at PoW during initial design/development efforts?
- Do you have the right technology mix to address Workflow Learning at the Moment of Need within live workflows?
- Are you piloting/testing components to validate accessibility, relevance, and effectiveness from End-Users in advance of launching the final solution?
- Does the evidence of business impact you seek align with Levels 3 & 4 evaluation data points?
- Is your content sustainable and scalable and capable of rapid replication?
Some readers of this post may feel like I am suggesting a huge task equivalent of eating an entire elephant. I know…too big to eat all at once, so grab a fork and just take a single bite. Bite off a Benchmark of Current State and head to ground zero (Points-of-Work) and find out what ELSE is happening…or not…within your Ecosystem.
I would be happy to have an exploratory conversation with any organization interested in adoption of the DRIVER discipline or simply taking a step through a PWA process to define Current State.
Thanks for reading! I welcome thoughts and ideas as always in your comments!