Methodology Matters: Answers to Hot Topics and Common Questions

By: Dr. Conrad Gottfredson

This post has been excerpted from it’s original content, Episode 18 of The Performance Matters Podcast. 

In this episode Con answers questions submitted from our good friends at ttc Innovations.

What is broken with traditional learning and how do we fix it?
Well, it’s kind of important to see ourselves with where we really are. Unfortunately, in traditional learning, the focus is on learning instead of on performance, making sure that people can perform effectively on the job, all the time, anywhere. The mindset in Learning is really quite narrow. Many years ago—1984 actually—I became very much aware that there were five moments of learning need. Two of those are traditional learning moments—the moment of learning new and the moment of learning more.
But I also became convinced that there was a very important moment that if you don’t take care of it, everything that you do in learning new or learning more is moot. And that’s the moment of apply, when people have to take whatever it is that they have learned and perform effectively at the moment of apply. Then there is the moment of change that is also in the workflow, and the moment of solve, also in the workflow.
Those five moments of need are very important for us to address. Unfortunately, in traditional Learning, we take a very narrow view and focus in on the learning without taking into consideration what needs to happen at the moments of apply, solve, and change.
So what’s broken? It’s really our mindset, where we’re thinking about learning rather than performance. And we’re very narrow in that view of what we do.
What does a 5 Moments of Need Solution look like?
It’s a blend of learning and performance support. The discipline of performance support is really the discipline of providing just what you need, at the moment of need, to help you get the job done.
A 5 Moments of Need Solution assists people not only in the learning, where I learn to be independent in the workflow, but also across that learning through the Transfer phase and into the Sustainment phase. That is, transferring what I’ve learned to my job and then sustaining me in an ever-changing work environment. A 5 Moments Solution addresses all of that, as I move from Training to Transfer to Sustain across all five moments of learning need.
How does a 5 Moments solution deliver measurable results?
You know, Gloria Gery wrote an interesting article in the 90s. As she was being asked to report on traditional learning metrics, she asked, “Why don’t we just weigh them? Why don’t we just bring in cattle scales and weigh our students?” She understood then that most learning metrics don’t really get at what really matters, which is how people can perform effectively and our ability to measure that.
When you build a 5 Moments Solution, you extend your reach into the workflow. You build a performance support solution that supports people as they do their job in the flow of work. Because it’s extended into there, because we have tools helping people in the performance of their jobs, we have the ability to gather metrics in ways we have not been able to gather metrics in the past. So our ability to reach in and know that people are actually performing on the job to be able to ask very brief questions about that performance and gather that data allows us to truly measure business impact. Like time to effective performance, or reduction of time wasted as people are searching for the resources they need to do their job.
There are really five areas of business impact that we can now measure. Those include 1) the ability to measure how we are able to optimize performance in the workflow; 2) increase profitability; 3) reduce operational risk; 4) cultivate a dynamic, engaged workforce; or 5) reinforce organizational mission and values. We’re able to gather data in all five of these areas because we have reached into the workflow. We intentionally have solutions in the workflow supporting people as they do their jobs.
What is the difference between adaptive and personalized learning?
Personalized learning is a broader view of learning. Adaptive learning is a type of personalized learning. It’s very knowledge-based, frankly. It’s adaptive. It’s smart. It pushes questions to you. As you answer those questions, you may have access to resources to help you in the answering of those questions. And as you learn adaptively, the system is able to understand and determine of whether you have really mastered that piece of knowledge or not. It will use its algorithms to push those questions to you over time so that you learn over time and have it reinforced. It’s very nice learning system. A lot of the gaming technologies that are in place to help us learn through gaming is really adaptive learning being applied that way.
Personalized learning is really broader than that. Adaptive learning is a part of personalized learning. But if I have you learning in the workflow on tasks that only you need to know, and I have everything you need supporting you as you do that, that in a sense is personalized learning. Particularly if you have access to on-the-job coaching and association. Even in a classroom, I can have personalized learning where I turn you lose to use a digital coach—an EPSS—to work on learning that is personalized to you. So personalized learning is a broader engagement in learning. It’s anything we do to make sure you are focusing only on what is important to you in your growth and development rather than the generalized learning where I’m listening to things I’m learning and practicing on things I need to know but the person next to me doesn’t need to know.
How does artificial intelligence impact the speed of change?
Smart performance support is really important. Mobile technology is enabling us to know who you are, where you are, what you are doing, what is around you. This data allows us to become very smart in what we’re pushing to you based upon what you and others are doing and what [data] you’re using and how you’re using it to be able to impact your work.
Artificial intelligence is an exciting frontier but it is a frontier. We need to move into this with great speed and attention, but also care to make sure that what we are doing is allowing us to learn from the performance of others and adapt and change based upon that learning.
For the complete list of questions and responses, listen to the full episode. And be sure to subscribe to The Performance Matters Podcast to stay up-to-date on all the latest conversations and guests in the 5 Moments space.

Copyright © 2022 by APPLY Synergies, LLC 

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Leading Change

By: Drs. Conrad Gottfredson and Timothy R. Clark.

The following is an excerpt from The Performance Matters Podcast Series, Episode 15.

Dr. Timothy R. Clark is the founder and CEO of LeaderFactor, a three-time CEO, earned a PHD in Social Science from Oxford University, and was an academic all-American football player while at BYU.

Here, he shares his counsel on how to effectively take on, and lead, change within our organizations.

Con: Leading change is one of the many areas where you’ve had deep experience and remarkable insight. Please do share some of that experience with our audience.

Tim: I look at leading change as a gateway competency. With the twenty-first century being so dynamic, I don’t know a leader who is being paid to maintain the status quo. I don’t know that I’ve met one. I just don’t.

So what are we being paid for? We’re being paid to maintain competitive advantage in a highly dynamic, unforgiving, hyper-competitive environment. And what does this mean? By definition, it means that you are going to be leading change. So, if you can do that, you’ve got a chance. If you can’t do that, I don’t know how you survive.

Con: If you could choose any one quality that a leader needs in order to successfully navigate change in their organization, what would that be?

Tim: I think I may surprise you a bit in my answer. And this is really the subject of my latest research and my forthcoming book. I’m going to say, “the ability to create psychological safety.” And the reason I say that is because—here’s what I’ve learned over time. If you go into an organization and you see evidence of fear, that’s the first sign of weak leadership. You have to think about that for a minute.
Not only is it symptomatic of weak leadership, but it’s the thing that really shuts people down. It’s the thing that neutralizes their performance and stifles creativity and innovation.

Leaders have to be able to draw out people, draw out their motivation and their capacity and if he or she can do that, then we have a chance to do some special things.

So, I think that regardless of the industry you’re in, regardless of what your technical skills may be, and regardless of what the source of your competitive advantage may be; you have to be the architect of the culture.

You set the tone. The vibe. And the working environment. And that is what becomes the great enabler of collaboration.

Here’s the way I look at it. In any organization, you only have two processes going on. You have execution, which is the creation of value today. And you have innovation, which is the creation of value tomorrow. That’s all we do, just those two processes.

If you step back and look at those two processes, those two processes are primarily social processes. They are both reliant upon rich, high quality collaboration. Well, what do you need for that? You need psychological safety. It’s really that important.

Con: So when you say, “psychological safety,” what does that look like in an organization?

Tim: I think it means four things:

1. You feel included.

2. You feel safe enough to learn. To ask questions. Give and receive feedback. Even make mistakes.

3. You are able to contribute. To the team or the organization. To contribute to their purpose and to contribute to the value creation process as a full-fledged member of the team.

4. Safe to be able to challenge the status quo. That’s the culminating stage. That’s the ultimate stage. 

Now, all those things you have to feel that you can do it without what? Without being embarrassed, without being marginalized, and without being punished in some way.

Con: I can certainly see how that influences a group, a team’s ability to navigate change, to bring about change in an organization. You have to have that.

What are the key challenges that a team faces when approaching a change initiative?

Tim: Often there are many, but let me cite one that I think is universally a challenge that we see over and over again. And that is: the leaders who are charged with leading the change initiative, whatever it is, they are na├»ve to the disruption they are going to cause. They just don’t understand it. They don’t understand the breadth and depth of that disruption. They know it’s going cause disruption. They know that they are knocking the organization out of its orbit, but they don’t understand really the full scope of what they are doing.

So, because they don’t understand that and because they haven’t really done high-quality analysis to understand the magnitude of the disruption, they don’t count the cost and they are not prepared.
Look around at organizations across the board and what do you see? You see organizations that are littered with the failed remains of change initiatives that didn’t quite work out. Now, go look at those change initiatives and you realize most weren’t flawed, they were good. They failed on execution. They failed because they didn’t understand what they were really getting into. And they were not prepared for it.

You’ve got to go in and do what we call a disruption analysis. You have to think very clearly and carefully through different categories of disruption about what this proposed change initiative will cause in the organization as it moves through the organization on several levels. And we don’t need to get into all the details but that is an area that is a challenge we see over and over again—going in unprepared, not understanding the extent of the disruption—and not being prepared for that. And what happens? It’s a false start.

Con: That’s very interesting. Any other challenges?
Tim: Let me give you a lens to think about this, and all the listeners. I want you to think about any change initiative that you may be working on. And I want you to think about the way that change initiative sinks into the organization. Change means that you are taking an organization that’s in a state of equilibrium or relative equilibrium and you’re disrupting. So it goes into a state of dis-equilibrium. And then you are going to try to get it back to a new state of equilibrium but better—after the change. Well, think about how change settles into that organization.

For Tim’s explanation of changes’ three phases, drop into the podcast and start listening at the 10:47 marker.

Con: You know, Tim, for a long time I’ve been working with organizations and their whole change approach has been to just have a communication strategy, you know? That’s how we go about it. Clearly, there is so much more to it, if you really want to have change work, to navigate that journey of change.

Is there anything else you want to share with our listeners before we close today?

Tim: Well, to that point, Con, maybe build on that a little bit. What’s funny and ironic about change is that people resist what they agree with. Now you have to think about that a little bit.

When it comes to change, people resist what they agree with, what they think makes sense from a logical, rational, intellectual, strategic standpoint, you can get them to agree with a course of action that you’re going to take or you are taking. And they will say, “Yeah, it makes sense. I think we should do that. That’s the logical thing. This change makes sense in so many ways.” And you can go through the analysis, you can go through the rational, and they will nod their heads and they are going to say, “Yeah! I agree. I agree. I agree.” And yet they will resist what they are agreeing with. Why is that?

Because they are processing it on an intellectual level. But they are also processing it on an emotional level. It is disruptive to them. So, think about the ways the change is disruptive. It’s disruptive in so many ways—socially, economically, politically, geographically. It’s disruptive in every way. So even though we agree with it, we often can resist what we agree with. Having a communication strategy for change is fantastic, but there is a lot more to it because there are three units of analysis when it comes to change. There’s the organization, which we understand. Then there’s the team. The team is the basic unit of performance in every organization. And then there’s the individual.

The change leader in the 21st Century has to become competent—perceptive and competent—at all three levels to help people to move forward. The individual level, the team level, and the organizational level.

Con: Tim, thank you so much for sharing your insights and remarkable experience.

We look forward to all that lies ahead. This is Con Gottfredson and Dr. Timothy R. Clark, founder and CEO of Leader Factor. Thank you, Tim, for being with us today!

Listen to the full episode and be sure to subscribe to The Performance Matters Series for all the latest conversations.

Copyright © 2022 by APPLY Synergies, LLC 

All Rights Reserved.