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.

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