To the newly minted and seasoned performance consultant, the answer is NO. But for your client, internal customer or the VP of Quality, or whomever is your requestor, it still may look like “a training solution”, so don’t argue with them. You do however, want to be able to explain why it is more than a classroom instructor led session or a quick and dirty PPT slide with audio recording.
If it looks like, smells like, tastes like training …
Then it must be training, right? Not exactly, but nod your head anyway; at least they are still engaged with you! Any one of the elements of a Robust Training System is “training related”. So for the less informed, this connection makes sense to them. If your client/sponsor/requestor is more comfortable with calling it training, let them do so. Don’t push the HPI label at this point. First we work on raising their awareness with our early projects and successes. Understanding and hopefully appreciation will come later.
What’s your company’s definition of training, anyway?
Most folks will envision instruction either classroom based, virtual instructor led or even formal eLearning course. Their reasoning is that the gap must be a lack of knowledge and training is used to close that gap. Is closing a skill based gap also considered training? Most companies would define that as OJT. What about “awareness training” and communication “training” sessions; are these considered training? It is a form of closing a knowledge gap, the depth of the gap and the degree of required proficiency is the differentiator. Again, what’s your company’s definition of training?
Closing Performance Gaps with the Right Solutions
The essence of HPI methodology is all about the right solution based on the data (evidence) and making an impact on the bottom line when the performance gap closes. Is this training, you tell me? How would you explain it to your sponsor?
Talk about using knowledge to improve KPIs for a business unit
A team of site leaders met to discuss (problem solve) what to do about lagging metrics for a business unit. The idea of studying SMEs (aka key performers) to learn what they needed to do to meet or beat the numbers was brought up. I applaud them. In fact, conducting Key Performer Analyses is part of the HPI methodology and is an excellent way to gather real data from experts. However, the outcome was already biased with a set of “knowledge based” assumptions unbeknownst to the Performance Consultant (PC). During the Key Performer Interviews, it turned out that those assumptions were brutally flawed and put this HPI project and another highly visible project in serious jeopardy. The PC was able to uncover the right knowledge from the SMEs and successfully deliver a solution. However, it was far from a traditional classroom training session. Yet, it had everything to do with capturing secret sauce learned on the job.
Is this still training? You tell me after you read the impact story. -VB
NOTE: A more detailed version of this case –“Capturing Secret Sauce of Senior Equipment Operators?” is available.
Next blog: “If it’s not training, then what is the right fix?”