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.
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