Archives for the ‘Performance System Design’ Category

Forget About the Learning Curve, Learn About the Forgetting Curve

The Learning Curve It is (or should be) well understood in the training business that trying a new technique will result in an initial drop in performance. Coaches often need to encourage learners to continue using the new technique until they get up the learning curve. In other words, keep chugging and eventually your performance […]

Millions of Tiny Transactions

Work  Breakdown A key principle of lean manufacturing is creating smaller batches, ideally, batches of one unit. It reduces inventory and enables a greater degree of customization. The same thing has been happening to a lot of information work. Think about it. You get an email for which you need to provide a quick response. […]

Understanding the Work

There are really three keys to designing and developing solutions that improve capability Understand the work Understand the knowledge, skills, information, and traits needed to perform the work Design effective strategies for enabling performers — in this case, effective means taking the shortest path to performance Understanding the work is the most important and first step. […]

Getting from Multiple Causes to Focused Action

Here is a model we have used for performance improvement efforts that works well as a group activity, leads to actionable, quick decisions, and is scalable to the resources you have available to build solutions. It starts by a detailed performance or process analysis. You need to identify outputs or deliverables, key criteria or measures, […]

Does “Lean” Work? Can Anything Work Well Enough to Avoid Eventual De-Bunking?

I just read an article that seems to indicate that “lean” may be starting to suffer the same type of fate as “TQM” and “re-engineering” and pretty much every other approach or solution that gets lots of attention, then gets widely implemented because everyone is doing it. Fads always die out. Great ideas become lame […]

Capability Model vs Capability Development Path

We have been using a tool we call a “capability model” to display in a “one-pager” format, the key tasks and supporting knowledge, skills, and characteristics needed to perform the tasks…in other words, what the employee needs to be able to do a job or job. Since it is on one page, it is distilled […]


Put Up Your Hands and Move Away from the Smartphone… There has been a lot of interest in multitasking lately. People argue that it is impossible…that it is really nothing more than rapidly switching between doing two individual tasks. Others argue that it may be impossible for “older people” but that today’s “wired” generation can […]

If Less is More, Nothing Must Be Everything

In his book “The New Brain,” Richard Restak describes a study where scientists first taught a monkey how to move a cursor (to get food). Then, they implanted an electrode in such a way that, after some practice, allowed him to move the cursor only by thinking about it! He controlled a cursor on a […]

How Long Does it Take to Become an Expert?

The answer is simple — 10,000 hours, or about 10 years. In his book, “This is Your Brain on Music,” Daniel Levitin summarized the  results of a study by Anders Ericsson (Florida State). Ericsson researched a number of types of experts, from chess players to musicians. His team defined “expert” as someone who has achieved […]

Practice Makes…Really, Really Good

Recently I was reading about what it takes to become an expert….also, about what differentiates a good performer and an exceptional performer. In a previous post, I mentioned the estimate that it takes about 10,000 hours, or about 3.5 hrs a day over 10 yes, to become an expert. There was another difference mentioned in […]