I’ve just launched a Quora site to support interactive Q&A activity from the new book “Confessions of a Performance Ninja: Optimizing Workforce Performance@ Point-of-Work.” I sent out a few invitations directly, but I welcome anyone who would like to participate in Q&A with a largely unsupervised, retired (sort of), performance consultant to join the site. Here is a sample of a recent Q&A exchange with a client who purchased the book for their Center of Excellence Learning team.
Since the PC [performance consultant] role does have a lens to performance, not just training, our recommendations may cross into other disciplines, e.g., OCM, Process Improvement, and Communication. How have you established your role with these other groups so as not to be viewed as overstepping into their discipline?
This is a most excellent question, and the answer is foundational to the PC role being seen and accepted as a collaborative liaison versus a distrusted interloper. That may sound harsh, but if the organization tends to package different disciplines into silos, much work must be done to break through and establish an environment and culture of collaboration. Part of the challenge returns to the Myth that “training drive performance.” Not only have operational stakeholders bought into the Myth, but so did OCM, PI, Comms, IT, etc. As such, NONE of those entities ever get the call that defaults to Training…because of the Myth. When that happens, whoever may be a rightful owner of a contributor to a holistic solution will never know about their role…of course…unless someone tells them. And that would be a liaison type person…a PC.
As a PC, we are tasked to break down the barriers by establishing non-threatening lines of communication with these groups. You could do that one at a time or something as radical as a PC Open House, where potential collaborators are enticed to attend and hear your team’s PC mission with food and drink. That may be a bit tongue-in-cheek, over-the-top tactic, but the truth is that the liaison role of PC MUST make the first move.
I’ve accomplished this by meeting with the affected collaborators before the collaboration is necessary if that makes any sense. Meetings of that nature focus on the fact that we received a request for Training. The requestor expects a Training solution. Nobody else received the call, as is often the case. Why? Because of the Myth, therefore, it’s time to liaison with the group(s) you sense may be involved. Try this approach when you reach out…
“We just received a request for Training from the “X” stakeholder group. Frankly, we think the solution is only partially Training, if at all. Other variables may overlap with your team’s expertise. I’m asking for your help, which could take on several directions. Our role in Training has changed because what we do does not always move the performance needle. We’re good at what we do, but if a solution is not Training, we end up pushing a rope.
We will investigate further and would like to know what red flags you would look for to validate what part(s) of the solution would be best handled by your team. On a higher level, where we partner in discovery, I welcome someone from your team to join me as I further investigate root causes to either rule in or rule out Training as the solution.“
Seriously, who would not want to work with a team that approaches in such a non-threatening and collaborative frame of mind? If you can establish what the PC role brings to the organization as a whole, there should be no reason to view your role as one of a disruptive interloper. Now the black ninja pajamas and cheap sunglasses may be an issue you still need to address.
I hope this is helpful! [Client and participant names have been removed]