In the beginning…

Hello.  This is my inaugural post in what I hope becomes a useful learning tool for you and for me.  For my part, I hope to share approaches and ideas that I have developed over 20+ years working and consulting in the learning and performance profession.  If I peak your interest (or provoke your disagreement), I hope to hear from you through comments to the posts or private communication.  Through the conversation we can shape some new ideas and help each other be more effective in our day to day work.

Is the blog for you?  Is it worth a bookmark or addition to your feed reader?  Here’s what I think it will be about and why you might be interested.

Learning@Work

Yeah, it’s a big topic but hey we have lots of time.   It will be about how we can get better at organizational training and learning in all it’s incarnations.  Here’s a word map  on the topics I think will find their way into the blog over time (try Wordle, it’s an addictive little application).  If your professional work is concerned at all with these topics then you will find the blog useful and informative.  If some topics generate more interest than others we can stay there until it’s time to move on.

Performance Design

By “performance design” I mean efforts to collaboratively change and improve the performance of an organization.  There are endless approaches to organizational change and an equal number of consultants that advocate them–think Six Sigma, Total Quality, process re-engineering, organizational development, team building etc.  I believe that when these approaches work,  it is learning that is driving them.  I don’t mean the structured learning offered up by most training departments (not that there’s anything wrong with that :))–I mean teams of people working and learning day to day using proven tools and approaches to continuously measure and improve what is important to them and to the business.

So this blog is also for people who are in one way or another involved in the design of work processes and human systems that are at the heart of improving business performance in the modern workplace.  That will include Organization Development Specialists, Human Performance Consultants, Business Mangers, Quality and productivity specialists and performance oriented learning specialists.  Here’s my Word Map on topics that you will likely see in future posts on performance design.

I hope to straddle both these areas and still maintain your interest.  They are not as disconnected as what most organizational structures would lead you to believe.  Learning needs to become more focused on impacting real performance.  Similarly performance improvement efforts need to be grounded in a better awareness of how people learn and grow in their day to day work.  If the blog starts to move people to greater integration of methods and approaches for improving performance in the workplace then I think it will be making a contribution.

The blog will be pragmatic, and include methods, tools and business approaches I have found successful over the years.  But I believe the most useful methods are grounded in sound theory and principles.  Kurt Lewin, the pioneering organizational researcher said “there is nothing so practical as a good theory”.  I buy that.  So you’ll see some discussion of the science and action research behind the methods from time to time.

If any (or some) of this appeals to you, I hope you’ll come back and make a comment when you can so I and other readers can learn from your experiences.  I hope to avoid adding more word smoke to an already noisy blogoshpere.  But, alas, you’ll be the judge of that.

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4 thoughts on “In the beginning…

  1. Hey Tom ,

    Congratulations on your public foray into industry commentary, given your range of associates do I see a new CLT on the Horizon? 🙂

    You’ll certainly be a welcome change and addition!

    Cheers
    Tony Mark

  2. Tony;
    Great to hear from you . Thanks for the encouragement. Yeah, we’re going to set up shop on the third floor again :). I’ll be in touch.

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