New Book – Confessions of a Performance Ninja

Point-of-Work Dynamics


For my LinkedIn family and blog followers, I would love to have you with me on this journey as I write this book. I would be honored to have you offer feedback on short pieces I write. This short piece today is the second draft of a Foreword.

In return for your time and insights, I will provide you a copy of the book at no charge when I cross the finish line in a couple of months.

Drop me your email addy at, and I will add you to a target list of 50 travel companions.

Thank you in advance for your participation!

Gary G. Wise

Draft Foreword

There is a prevailing myth that “TRAINING DRIVES PERFORMANCE,” which represents a false narrative that limits effectiveness when we depend on training as our default solution. The myth prevails because we in Learning & Development (L&D) have done an outstanding job of setting false expectations for our operational stakeholders that all performance issues default to training as the standard solution. They bought it, and sadly, so did we. This book is about overcoming the myth through a proven process called Point-of-Work Assessment (PWA). The intent and output of a PWA are to Change the Conversation.

In reality, Training only contributes to POTENTIAL. Why? Because performance only happens once our workers return to their respective Workflows, and those Workflows are at multiple Points-of-Work. Last I heard, potential does not pay the rent, nor does it deliver the mail.

Before we accept a routine training request from a stakeholder and dive in to build a Training solution, we should dispel the myth with a different conversation, which leads to a change in thinking, which leads to a change in behavior and tactics.  What can we do about dispelling the myth? Three things:

  1. Offer compelling proof that a change in tactics is essential and urgent for business sustainability
  2. Change the Conversation that is compelling enough to promote a strategic re-think
  3. Embrace tactics to integrate an assessment of crucial Points-of-Work within Workflows to enable a prioritized solution design Road Map (Notice I did not say Training solution design…)

 This book addresses why and how to do those three things successfully. This book is not an instructional design guide per se but speaks to a broader spectrum of what elements the design function should consider beyond simply grinding out a training course solution. I must quickly add that determining those things that restrain performance at Points-of-Work that have nothing to do with training should be identified and communicated to the appropriate business function that cares…like HR, Marketing, Operations, or [insert affected business function here.]

After 35+ years in L&D, my core competency, regardless of formal leadership role or job title, is performance consulting. I am defining WHAT is restraining performance and WHY as the main emphasis behind my discipline and the impetus for writing this book. Currently, I am struggling to accept retirement concepts, meaning I am primarily unsupervised with enough time to share a vision and proven tactics to implement POINT-of-WORK ASSESSMENTS (PWAs).

I intend to keep this book short and actionable. I cannot brag about a long list of clients because my work has been concentrated in-house for the companies I’ve been fortunate enough to work for, like AT&T, Sprint, Winstar Communications, Roche Diagnostics, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Xerox, Macy’s, and my consultancy to fill in the gaps after three downsizing in seven years. I shared those companies because they span multiple business disciplines, which matters a lot because the PWA methodology described in this book is portable across various disciplines. For that matter, the skill set of performance consulting is equally portable. That fact saved my bacon more than once. More on that later.

I plan to share worksheets and templates related to the PWA showing examples for actionable “How To.”

As a storyteller, the opening chapter starts with a backstory of where the PWA came from and my reliance on being a performance consultant, first and foremost, regardless of job assignment. Some might call that a curse; for me, it was a blessing that made me portable across numerous business disciplines.

It is essential to remember that adopting the Point-of-Work methodology represents CHANGE, and as we all know, implementing Change is a lot like pushing a stone uphill. My advice, keep your methods to yourself and GO FOR IT. Just “doing it” means you might need to go covert with the finer points. Is it a lie to say that a PWA is just part of training? Answer: Nope, call it Training. Nobody needs to know we’re hiding the change pill in the cheese.

To stay under the radar of those hardcore traditionalists that drank the Myth Kool-aide, you may need a pair of black pajamas for the period you need to go covert like a NINJA.

I welcome conversations with any of you on ideas and feedback you’d like to offer.

Dig in and enjoy what I hope are insightful confessions of this Performance Ninja.

Gary G. Wise
Performance Ninja – Writer of Things – Business Advisor/Coach 
(317) 437-2555
Web:  Living In Learning