Your Road Map to the Future

This blog is excerpted from episode 34 of the Performance Matters Podcast where Conrad Gottfredson and Bob Mosher continue the Maturity Model conversation with Carol Stroud, senior consultant at APPLY Synergies.

Bob Mosher (BM): Friends, welcome back to yet another Performance Matters podcast!
We are going to go into one of the more important strategy matters series we've ever done. I’m excited for you to hear the experience of two dear and respected colleagues of mine, Carol Stroud and Conrad Gottfredson.

A lot of great reactions to our last episode, which was on the overall understanding of, and need for, a Maturity Model. 

As promised, we're going to go a bit deeper.

So, let's get right down to this. In your opinions, why is it so important that a Maturity Model has materialized for the industry and frankly even more so in the times we’re living today? 

Carol Stroud (CS): I have always been tactically focused. What I have found over the years is a lot of conversation about good ideas, but a lack of tactical road maps to actually do something about it. I have listened to the same conversations, repeatedly, in the elearning world for probably eight to nine years. They just didn't go deep enough in the tactical way of, “here's how you actually make it happen” in an organization. 

When I learned The Five Moments of Need methodology, I was seeing a similar sort of conversation happen. While at a conference, I was speaking to someone at a coffee break and the individual said, “Well, I get it. I get it's a great idea and I'm really keen on doing it, but I don't know how to do it and I'm not hearing anyone here talk about how do I actually make this happen in my organization”.  I went, “Oh… I think we have a gap”, because certainly I was living that when I was out working with different organizations and trying to help them implement this different way of doing business.

So, over the years as I have worked to help organizations implement the principles and methodologies around the 5 Moments of Need, I began aggregating those “tactical” lessons in an effort to turn this into something that would be usable by other people who are going down this road. So, collaborating with Conrad and bringing his number of years into coordination with all these ideas, it's given us, I think, a very solid grounding in terms of how to actually do this. It's no longer just a good idea. We now explain “how to do it” at several different levels.

BM: This Maturity Model to me really talks about how to do it and how to do it clearly it has a tactical level. But, Con, there's so much more to getting to where you are 'doing it' than that, isn't there? How does this move beyond the tactical to you?

Conrad Gottfredson (CG): Organizations have a natural resistance to change. People naturally worry about the impact any change is going to have on them.  Organizations also have work systems in place that often get in the way. Over the years, we've helped organizations build and implement magnificent solutions that do great things at the outset, but then as we step away and think that they're doing great and it's going to keep growing, it fizzles out due to the resistance and challenges within the organization.

When we transform how an organization learns it requires the organization to change. And what we've been missing is what Carol has been talking about. It is the ability to provide an organization a pathway for navigating that change, and to have it be sustained over time so it can make its way into the cultural fabric of the organization.

We don't want to just be a flash in the pan. We want to really impact the organization and make it last because we know what it can do, not just short-term but long-term.

BM: So, the model pushes us beyond tactical into strategy. Why should we listen to this, you guys? What is this grounded in that makes this maturity model worth the effort?

CS: So, what makes this different is we have looked at the scope of essentially all the barriers that we find in an organization and we’ve looked at what are the right ways to come up with solutions to move through those barriers. So, in that context, we actually look at this from three levels; strategic, tactical, and a technical component of what are the systems and infrastructure that need to be put into place to support this change.

This just isn't a general description, but a very specific view of the organization’s capabilities it progresses across four levels of maturity. It's the comprehensive picture of how everything can be brought together to ensure that the bigger picture is an ecosystem and all the pieces are finely tuned to work fluidly together in the “performance zone” where employees are able to appropriately respond to whatever situation they are in and have all the resources they need in order optimize their work production.

So, ultimately the value that comes back out to the organization is a streamlined, optimized, and well-oiled machine that is able to achieve the objectives of the organization.

CG: This maturity model isn’t theoretical.  We've drawn upon decades of experience to develop it. We've worked with many hundreds of organizations, applying and evolving methodology and practices. We’ve benchmarked with many organizations over the last few years. This has provided us a clear view of where organizations need to go and the capabilities they need to get there.

CS: The other aspect of it is this is founded on The Five Moments of Need Methodology and ensuring that we are getting those resources into the hands of the end performer—at the time they need them. There are other industry standards out there that help support us and roll this out in an organization. For example, we looked at project management and what are good project management methodologies and standards that need to help us ensure that these projects move forward? What are good change management strategies from both a change management and change leadership perspective? What are good measurement and business impact components that need to come to the table to support all this? So, we take our grounded thinking and methodology of implementing performance support and the full Five Moments in Need solution in an organization, and then we wrap the other components around it to ensure success throughout the organization. So, it's not just a one single little micro view of how this works in an organization, it is the broader perspective.

BM: So, team for many people listening this sounds Herculean. These are words we've not used in our industry a lot. We mire ourselves understandably in ADDIE and some change management and technology, words like that. But for those listening, what kind of a mountain is this like to climb? Who’s best to be involved? Is it something that they can do in a week, a day, a year? What's the expectation on their side to get this done in your opinion?

CG: Our benchmarking with trailblazing leaders and organizations revealed this need for a clear road map. These early adopters have made their way, learning through trial and error. So, overall, the time, effort, energy, and cost has been prohibitive for too many organizations. This is what has really prompted us to develop this maturity model.  We see it as a way to help organizations move more quickly and safely to where they need to be. The climb can’t be too steep, especially at the beginning, or it fails, right?

The initial current and future state assessment takes about 12 hours of virtual worktime with the leadership team that has responsibility for supporting through learning and performance support, the work in a specific part of the organization. It doesn't have to be for the entire organization. It can be for a business unit or for a cross-functional area of work. It's just got to be an area where there is need for a road map to gaining and sustaining effective job performance in the flow of work.

Following this assessment, there's some interaction that goes back and forth to transform the data into a detailed road map, prioritizing what to do, and when to do it.

Listen to the full episode to hear how this model and approach is more than a one hit wonder. Learn how it can bring true change to an organization.

Don’t forget to subscribe to The Performance Matters Podcast to stay up-to-date on all the latest conversations and guests in The 5 Moments space.
To try your hand at empowering the flow of work with an actual project, join us at our upcoming Summit.

Why This Maturity Model Matters

This blog is excerpted from episode 33 of the Performance Matters Podcast where Conrad Gottfredson and Bob Mosher take a look at The 5 Moments of Need Maturity Model, how the model originated, it’s growth, and the importance of it’s use to improve organizational performance.

Bob Mosher (BM): Greetings friends, and welcome back to another Performance Matters Podcast. I am honored to once again to be joined by my dear friend and colleague Con Gottfredson.

Today’s is going to be an interesting podcast because what we’re trying to do is add some clarity to the journey toward The 5 moments and Workflow Learning in general. There’s so much buzz out there about doing this, which is wonderful, but at the same time with buzz comes noise and confusion and this pandemic has really challenged traditional learning approaches like never before.

We’ve received a lot of feedback around, “I want to join this journey…my organization wants to be a part of this.”  And then almost the very next thing that follows is, “uh… how do I start?”. Starting is one thing, but everyone doesn’t start from A. Depending on where you are as an organization, depending on your efforts in Workflow Learning, depending on your efforts in The 5 Moments of Need—if you’re just familiar or have the certificate—you’re not starting at A; you might be starting at L, or F, or S! So, part of starting is knowing where you are on what we are calling “A maturity model journey”.
Con can you get us started on what we mean by ‘maturity model’? And why one, frankly, matters when it comes to successfully starting and then making this journey?

Conrad Gottfredson (CG): Well, if we don’t know where we are, and we don’t know where we are going, how in heavens name will we ever get to where we need to be?

That’s what a maturity model is all about.  It’s a map, so to speak, that helps us see where we are and also chart a course of where we need to be based upon the unique circumstances of an organization when it comes to learning. The model provides the means for getting to where we need to be, starting first with an understanding of where we are.

There’s never been a time where we have needed, as you said Bob, the clarity required to chart and make that journey—where we’re impacting an organization’s ability to perform is at the speed of change. Enabling effective performance in ever-changing work environments really does matter. The maturity model we’re talking about today is that gift that helps us know where we are and where we need to go to accomplish this.

BM: Let’s clarify a word that we’re going to use throughout this, and it is ‘Capabilities’. A lot of maturity models are based on competencies. As we will outline the model in a bit, we have taken an intentional pivot on capabilities.

Why is that word rather than competencies, so important to us and this model?

CG: Well, for us the word ‘capability’ is more tactical. Competency tends to have a broader meaning that’s more difficult to target and measure. So, capability is where we’ve determined that we need to focus on because that is something we can tactically pursue, achieve, and measure.  

BM: To ensure we’re all comfortable, let’s put the stake in the ground here. This maturity model is not something we have created out of thin air, there is a lot of rich history behind it; it started as far back as June 2015! When we first started talking about this and many of you, if you are not familiar with it, we’d love to have you join, we have this very rich performance support online community which has been around for well over 15 years, and along the way the organizations that were members of that struggled with this challenge of knowing where they are, where they want to be,  and how to get to get there. The model we developed then was more immature relative to now, in many ways because we were so focused on performance support and we failed to address the entire learning and performance ecosystem. But, we had a performance support advisory council made up of five wonderful industry professionals that were heads of very large learning organizations. They worked together, as practitioners, to come up with ways in which we could look at this. So, that was the beginning of putting this into some form of order, and as you’d hope it has matured quite a bit since then.

Con, let’s talk a bit about the benchmarking data that we’ve also worked on. How has that come into play as an important part of the effectiveness of this model in your opinion?

CG: In January of this year we looked at the work that had been done on the maturity model by the performance support community and we also began to look at the rich data that we had gathered over the two years of benchmarking work that we’d done against The 5 Moments of Learning Need and it’s broader view of role learning and performance support can and should play in organizations. This includes, of course, Workflow Learning.

So, we began in January with real intent looking at the benchmarking data that we have gathered from two benchmarking summits, and with some significant work created what we now have as a model for determining where an organizations is and needs to be to adapt, learn, and perform at the speed of change.

BM: And the key thing, I think out of this, is it spells out the next steps you would take in your journey to level-up.

On that note, Con, could you please share the fundamental layout of the maturity levels?

CG: We’ve identified four stages of the journey.



Stage 1 is where most organizations are today in the traditional learning model, looking at Workflow Learning, but not quite being where they need to be with all those capabilities—all the way up to the summit, the 4th stage, which is where every organization ought to strive to be. Certainly, it’s a daunting summit to just go after and climb to, so the model presents levels of capabilities, if you will, to reach that summit to the degree that organizations see that they need to get there.

The good news about all of this is that the maturity model allows an organization to realistically and systematically make their way along this journey, because that’s really what it’s all about. It’s a journey of developing capabilities in a prioritized way based upon the readiness of the organization to allow you to get to where you need to be.

Listen to the full episode to learn more about the three categories of capabilities, how best to assess your current state, and one of the most critical capabilities needed in today’s landscape.  
Don’t forget to subscribe to The Performance Matters Podcast to stay up-to-date on all the latest conversations and guests in The 5 Moments space.
To try your hand at empowering the flow of work with an actual project, join us at our upcoming Summit.