Thursday, September 26, 2013

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Growth Opportunities

This is the way I currently visualize and categorize the activities around our roadmap.

Read more.....

Thursday, September 19, 2013

System vs Personal views

When we compare the activities performed with and without the aid of a reminder list, we see that the conclusion one draws depends on the point of view being taken.  To the outside observer (who takes the system view), the same actions are intended to be performed with and without the list, but (usually) they are carried out more accurately and reliably with the list.  To the individual user (who takes the personal view), the list is not a memory or planning enhancer, it is a set of new tasks to be performed, with the aspects of the list relevant to memory and planning separated from the aspects of the list relevant to performance. - Donald Norman, 2007  (Thanks Clark!)

Many of the process improvement activities I've seen recently have consisted of creating artifacts (checklists, tools, applications) where there are none.  Formalizing "known" processes.

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

An Example of Needs Assessment

Many organizational processes look like this.
During a recent project, one of our SMEs kept INSISTING "Everyone KNOWS the process!"
Then in the next sentence she complains about how they are doing it wrong.

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Thursday, September 12, 2013


As far as your fans know - you are only capable of hate.
I don't hate golf....

A couple members of my team have just finished one of those trainers nightmare implementations.
As a follow-up, the subject-matter experts are doing further sessions on process and workflow.
From experience, I know this is a good thing.
My colleagues aren't so sure and feel like they fell short.

Previous managers spent years drilling into my head that “image is important,” and I just can’t help but feel that ...the need for these sessions damage our credibility and image in some way. 

For years, I knew the feeling.
The lot of the IT implementation trainer is to be the scapegoat of all that is wrong with the product and the project.

Be the rescuer of the ill-advised, the ill-planned and the ill-executed.

Make sows ears look like silk purses.

My initial response to my colleague was something along the lines of "We're OK. The SMEs aren't out to get us or make us look bad this time, so we're ahead."

But the more I thought about his comment, I realized that there was something else that bothered me...
A lot of leadership advice is filled with "fake it till you make it."
Watch your body language.
Wear the appropriate costume.
Use x words.
Apply x tone.

What I have observed is that I get real uncomfortable when I run into someone or something that practices all of the "right" things.

Tutorials that are too polished and pretty.
Voice-overs that are too professional.
Salespeople and executives that look and sound "just right."
Trainers that are a textbook example of "good trainer."

I find myself looking for the catch.
Over the past few months, I've received some interesting feedback about my work.
The telecommuters seem to be responding to the unpolished nature of Tuesday Morning Telecommuter.
My colleagues have informed me that they appreciate my "honesty" when I train.
Other peers tell me they like my voice-overs - with the dropped letters, slight slurring, popped Ps and breathing noises.

When I look at my favorite trainers / bloggers / mentors / vendors / people - they all have authenticity about them.  There's something messy, human and integrated that makes me trust them more.

This perspective is likely the result of me being terrible at "image control."
My moods are written all over my face (despite my best efforts).
I tend towards the rumpled.
I get obviously uncomfortable if I have to skirt issues or not answer questions or withhold information.

But I also wonder if we are doing people a disservice if we keep preaching "Image is important."
How about "Authenticity is important."
"Connection is important".
The hypothesis I am currently playing with in my own life....

If I am as open, honest and above-board as I can possibly be...
Image takes care of itself.

I'll let you know what I find....

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Optimum Compliance Training

This is from a conversation Steve Flowers and I had during a dinner a month or so back. I am totally stealing his idea.

Assume that this is completely reportable (SCORM / AICC / TinCan / whathaveyou).
Wonder how I can implement this....

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Learning Under Stress

----------- As some of my previous posts hinted, there's been a lot going on in my life. My big problem has been focus. Which gremlin do I tackle first? Between the distraction of the work gremlins (walking colleagues through a trainers nightmare, renewing an important vendor contract, preparing for the new academic year and the resulting badly planned "emergency politically-sensitive" projects), a sudden call for jury duty, and worrying about Mom and's hard to tell where to start. --------------- The personal emotions around the topic of accessibility right now has made it even harder for me to learn the disability support tools I am currently investigating. It's not just basic "stress". It's fear for the worst. Hope for the best. Wishing that the people I love didn't have to go through this hardship. Finding ways to help. I find myself distracted. Unable to absorb the information I'm learning. Even less able to apply the information. That doesn't bode well for being able to teach it. -------------- This is yet another reminder about the importance of what people bring into any learning situation. Where is their head at? Is there something else going on in their life that is 15x more important than learning a new project management tool? Or how not to harass people in the workplace? Or HIPAA / FERPA / OSHA / etceterA rules and compliance? Or any number of things we force people to learn in the workplace that have nothing to do with business objectives OR personal growth? Because if their head is not in it.... If they too are fighting their own, personal, multiplying gremlins... If what you are teaching and how you are teaching it brings its own emotional charge... Even if they are highly motivated to learn.... It will take a lot more "selling" of your idea. In the grand scheme of their life, your topic is not that important. And that is just as it should be.