Sunday, November 25, 2007

Solutions by Design; Lessons That Enable Average Performers To Excel

Improve customer satisfaction - improve safety performance - increase productivity, stream-line work processes - reduce the cost of formal training time and shorten the time to competence - produce exemplary quality in your products and services - reduce employee turnover - reduce the cost of rework - attract and retain employees by improving employee satisfaction - prepare employees for fierce global competition - accelerate time to productivity - prepare employees for technological change -improve your bottom-line - and increase long term profitability.
Exemplary business organizations focus employees on accomplishments and understand the importance of knowing how things work within their system. They understand that they need to shorten and accelerate time to global markets and promote product quality and regulatory compliance. Exemplary organizations focus on critical choices regarding:
  1. WHAT they want their employees to ACCOMPLISH and DO to achieve the business goals.

  2. The most cost-effective INFLUENCES needed to obtain and sustain the accomplishments and behaviors of their employees.

  3. Design and development of programs needed to carry out 1 and 2 above, such as training - work design - work environment engineering - and motivation-incentive programs.

  4. Implementation and evaluation of the programs selected and developed.

Exemplary organizations understand the importance of work process balance and flow. An analogy is the Yin-Yang symbol that represents ancient Chinese understanding of how things work within the universe. The outer circle represents "the total system ", while the black and white shapes within the circle represent the interaction of two energies, "yin" (black) and "yang" (white), which cause systems to perform at some level of performance. The yin and yang shapes cannot exist without one another. The shape of the yin and yang sections of the symbol, actually provide a sense of the continuous movement of these two energies causing everything in the Universe to happen. The two shapes represent two energies that create and harmonize the Universe by their interaction. These two opposite, conflicting energies are found in every action and reaction. They symbolize the two polar energies that, by their fluctuation and interaction, are responsible for our dynamic universe. Reality consists of relationships between opposite principles, Yin and Yang. Two opposites that form a whole system only in combination.

Example of Balance and Flow

Focus on operational efficiency and agility. When you implement new software systems, ensure balance between the implementation of the new software system with the the need to shorten time-to-competence for employees who need to perform new tasks required by the software implementation. It is very important to identify the most cost-effective training methods that enable employees to know how-to work with the new software. By doing so you increase the probability that employees are motivated to enter information in the new software accurately and in a timely manner. In addition it is important to provide employees with the most appropriate work environment; tools and hardware required to operate the new system.

In God We Trust, Everyone Else Bring Data

The concepts of Yin and Yang provide the intellectual framework of much of scientific thinking in fields like biology and medicine. The organs in our bodies are interrelated and are best understood by looking for correlations and correspondences. Work processes are also interrelated and are best understood by looking at correlations and correspondences as well. New performance planning analysis identifies potential sources of imbalance and accurate diagnosis of current sources of imbalance, such as skills/knowledge/information, work environment, motivation, incentives, and/or worker capabilities.

Proper Analysis on the Front-End Minimizes Re-Work on the Rear-End of New Implementations

The principle of Yin and Yang is the foundation of successful business. The Front-End Analysis (FEA) process contributes to ease of implementation of new systems by analyzing the origins of optimum work performance (the outputs and behaviors of accomplished performers). If you focus too much on new technology systems alone, without planning for changes required in human performance, then the new technology cannot possible perform at an expected level of performance.

It is important that not to rush to premature solutions of human performance issues

Exemplary businesses teach selected employees how-to produce Front-End Analysis data to ensure employees focus on valued accomplishments, and not bend their will or ambition to the achievement of empty ends. Exemplary businesses learn how-to carefully observe what exemplary performers produce and the tasks they perform and learn what accomplished performers do differently than average performers. By observing their outputs and behaviors, exemplary businesses gather knowledge about the most cost-effective solutions to work performance issues. When average or deficient behaviors are treated correctly with the appropriate blend of interventions, the danger they pose dissipate. Physicians in examining patients judge their general appearance; they feel their pulse and determine what causes the disease. When businesses choose to balance new technology software with cost-effective human performance systems, Yin and Yang are in proper harmony enabling organizations to ensure balance and flow between work processes resulting in exemplary business results.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Make a Maximum Business Impact with Job Aids & Performance Support

Moving from knowledge in the classroom to knowledge anywhere/anytime!

A client of mine recently asked me how-to improve retention of training and increase transfer-of-training to-the-job. The stimulus for his question was that follow-up training evaluation data revealed that there was often a rapid and dramatic loss of retention of the skills/knowledge after his organization's training courses had ended. His training team had determined that no matter how great the learning gains during training, and no matter which media and teaching strategies they used, they still were realizing a dramatic loss in retention and transfer-of-learning to the job. I shared with him that retention of training is a primarily a function of time and frequency of exercise. Classic studies show that we lose what we don't use, and the loss is significant very soon after learning. The common method of solving skills/knowledge deficits (including instruction-for-recall) is expensive and doesn't work most of the time.

We completed a Front-End Analysis to determine the best course of action to improve their training performance. Front-end analysis data revealed that the most appropriate intervention was blending job aids into their training curriculum.

The result of implementing the recommendation continues to be profound. One significant organization output has been the cost-effective duplication of the performance of the organization's best employees. The training manager's team learned how-to develop well designed performance support job aids. Employees now use job aids to perform some of their job tasks by first reading a step, then performing the step. Job aids don't forget. Organization's around the world, large and small, are learning that well designed job aids are simple and cost-effective to design and use.

Most of us are familiar with gaining knowledge from classrooms and on-the-job through co-workers. This type of knowledge is difficult to retain and transfer to-the-job. Now performance support through job aids provides anywhere/anytime knowledge.

What is a job aid? A job aid is a tool to guide job performance in real time. Job aid formats include; checklists, decision tables, flow charts (algorithms), worksheets and cookbooks. Job aids are a repository for information, processes, and perspectives that inform and guide planning and action on-the-job. Job aids for performance are storage places for information other than in the memory. They should provide stimuli and responses and reduce the quantity of information needed to be recalled by the performer.

Job aids provide a detailed description of exemplary performance. Therefore it is critical that job aids are developed by observing and documenting how exemplary performers perform their work. Job aids should capture both the overt behavior (Actions that can be directly observed) and covert behavior (Actions that must be inferred from overt behaviors) of exemplary performers. Job aids need to be tested by target audience performers to ensure they are very easy to follow.

Job aids save time and money. Job aids are less expensive to develop than instruction-for-recall. Job aids often serve to dramatically reduce formal training time. Job aids often yield more accurate and reliable job performance. Job aids force the developer, subject matter experts and accomplished performers to define desired performance. The time it takes to develop a job aid is three to five times shorter than with traditional instruction. Implementation time is three times shorter. Job aids reduce formal training time, minimize the need for experience and are easier and less expensive to change than formal training.

Most importantly job aids focus attention on what performers are expected to do and produce.

Job aids solve retention problems and result in more accurate performance. Job aids are more reliable than memory and quicker to develop than formal training. Job Aids provide clear and easy-to-follow instructions for employees to use on-the-job.

Learn how-to take complex information and make it simple for employees to follow. Learn how-to design cost-effective job aids to use immediately upon returning to the organization after training. Organizations that use job aids are achieving optimum performance from their workforce. Job aids are cost-effective, have short cycle times, and make a maximum business impact. Job Aids can be low or high tech. There is a lot of fresh thinking on how-to format job aids. They can be electronic, hard copy a wizard, reference card, poster, or a laminated job aid for use outdoors for people who work outdoors exposed to the elements. There are some good books available that explaining more about job aids.

There is also a workshop available that can be delivered in-house and provides hands-on-learning to help transfer job aid development skills to-the-job. Learn more at:

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Human Performance Technology; Improving Results, Enhancing Knowledge and Producing Know-How

For the first time in history, scientists are uncovering astounding evidence about improving human performance. Performance Technology is about improving how we put our knowledge to work and increase our ability to produce valued results. Performance improvement continues to shape the future of many individuals and organizations around the world through learning, sharing, working together, and networking.

Human Performance Technology (HPT) , with all its potential, has so much to offer, including business, government, military, health care, universities, non-profits, and other large, medium and small organizations. This blog is about sharing information to help move the field forward and helping others improve their performance and achieve or exceed their goals. The knowledge available in our field is dynamic and growing. Our thought leaders are constantly adding to the foundation of that knowledge. There is an annual Performance Improvement conference being held April 5-8,2008, in New York City. During the conference, participants will come together to learn and share so that we can build on what we know already, improve our skills at applying that knowledge; and facilitate the creation of valued results for ourselves, our clients, our organizations, and society in general.

Learn more about the field of Performance Improvement and the Performance Improvement Conference at the International Society for Performance Improvement; and at

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Improve Business Results with Exemplary Human Performance

"When the juice is there, when everything is clicking, there's such a thing as an organizational hum -- that thing you sense when you walk into an organization and you can say, "Yes it's happening here!" You feel the drive of the place. I love that feeling. As a leader you have to be able to feel in our bones that it's working or that it's not, and feel that way before anyone else does" Lorraine Monroe. Principal of Harlem's Frederick Douglass School.

Hello my name is Doug Mead and welcome to my home on the web. The purpose of this web site is to provide information, resources and best practices to help improve individual, organization, and enterprise-wide business performance. My associates and I employ the proven science of human behavior to help you select, analyze, design, develop, implement, and evaluate programs to influence job performance cost-effectively.

Tom Gilbert, an early mentor, showed many of us that teaching could be approached as a science; and, who taught many of us to concentrate on outputs and accomplishments before considering processes. Use these learnings for your own professional development or as resources for working with others.

There are many rich and well-respected approaches to improving human performance. I have sought out the most effective and efficient performance system available that considers training as one of many components that influence exemplary performance. Harmony in performance means not simply choosing training as a single solution but to ensure you have the right attitude, awareness, motivation, support, and the right relationship between yourself and your people. An effective Human Performance system addresses the logical, emotional, and physical needs of the organization.

Learn How-To Design Human Performance Solutions to Achieve Your Business Goals

In today's competitive global marketplace, it is essential that organizations optimize the performance of every individual and team to achieve desired business results. Generally the performance of individuals and teams vary greatly across the organization - whether measured in quantity or quality of output, or the impact their results have on the bottom line. Today's Executives, Managers, and Supervisors need to prepare for tomorrow by ensuring all employees are in the right positions and with the right skills and tools to ensure they can perform at an optimum level for the assignments at hand. Do you need executive coaching services with personal attention that helps you find solutions and gain a competitive edge by putting improvement theory and practice to work? Learn how-to improve your effectiveness within today's global information-based business environment economy. We guarantee client privacy and satisfaction. We bring experience, focus, and an outsider's perspective to helping clients discover the best solutions to their specific situations.

A Celebration of Exemplary Human Performance

Exemplary Performance works in a wide range of applications. The Exemplary Human Performance Improvement process works for both large and small organizations. The more people work together, the better a business performs. Exemplary Performance help clients work together more efficiently, more easily, and more inexpensively resulting in improved human interaction throughout the work system. Exemplary Performance has assisted clients in the development of, and implementation of, numerous cost-effective integrated solutions including job aids and cost-effective training curriculum.

Improving our Education System

Working together we can increase exemplary performance throughout the world by supporting a better exchange between business and academia, so that the academics are putting their substantial intellectual powers and resources to work better preparing students for exemplary workforce performance. Are you interested in what citizens can do to cause educational reform? Then I strongly suggest you read " The Eden Conspiracy"; Educating for Accomplished Citizenship by Joe Harless, ISBN 0-9665010-4. It is available on This is an excellent book that explains how-to cause dramatic improvement in our children's schooling. This book provides a common sense approach for local educational reform by one of the nation's leading experts in human development. In his book Joe explains how to motivate students, how-to improve the curriculum and how-to bring about higher levels of learning for almost all students. Joe explains what we as citizens can do to cause education reform including how to motivate our students and how we can bring about high levels of learning for almost all students. Joe suggests that our focus for education content be a purpose-goals-accomplishment-behavioral processes sequence that is preferable for these overlapping reasons:

  • Increased value and relevency of knowledge/skills/ information learned
  • Increased attention and effort by the student
  • Allows more in-depth learning
  • Increased probability of transfer
  • Illuminates the need for meaningful basic skills
  • Allows for more meaningful evaluation of learning

In his book Joe also suggests the basic education issues are:

  • What is the ultimate purpose and goal of education?
  • What are the student accomplishments desired as a result of the education process?
  • What is the gap between current accomplishments and desired accomplishments? What are the root-causes of the gap? What solutions (interventions) are indicated?
  • What content should be taught?
  • How should education be designed and delivered? How should education be evaluated?

I also recommend you read "Education' Myths" author, Jay Greene. This book was featured on 20/20 on Jan. 13, 2006 — In his special report on public education, "Stupid in America," John Stossel speaks with Jay Greene regarding; What Special Interest Groups Want You to Believe About Our Schools and Why It Isn't So." Greene takes on the conventional wisdom that pouring more money into public schools leads to improved education. Citing national statistics on education expenditures, Greene argues that inadequate spending is not the problem behind poorly performing schools and students. Greene also rebuts some popular assumptions about the roles race and socioeconomic status play in student performance.

What Bill and Melinda Gates Want You to Know In their first interview together, Bill and Melinda Gates say they're terrified an entire generation is failing in school. Stand up to change America's school crisis.

Stand Up -

Are You Responsible for the Design and Development of Effective Training and Development Curriculums?

Many of the top Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and non-profit organizations are satisfied alumni of the Human Performance Improvement Workshops. Examples include; Microsoft, Federal Express, Consumers Energy, U.S. Coast Guard, BellSouth, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Ford, Proctor & Gamble, Sandia Labs, Bell Canada, Chase Manhattan, Home Savings, M&M Mars, Allstate, Boeing, General Motors, BellCore, Duke Power, American Express, Sprint PCS, Motorola, U.S. Marine Corps, MascoTech, and Georgia Pacific.

Build a state-of-the-art training and development organization with the award-winning Accomplishment-Based Curriculum Development System, called the ABCD System. Now your training organization can design and develop training they can guarantee will work. Increase training's value and credibility in your organization. Tie training and development directly to organizational goals and improvements in productivity------a true performance-based approach to curriculum planning and training design. Joe Harless, a member of the prestigious Human Resources Hall of Fame, designed and developed these workshops that will revolutionize your business. Often referred to as the "trainer's trainer" Joe Harless has received the coveted Member For Life award from the National Society for Performance Improvement (now, The International Society for Performance Improvement). In short, he has a unique genius for solving performance problems.

  • Establish a one-to-one link between the training and development you provide and the measurements of trainee’s job performance.
  • Produce, as a subject-matter expert, high quality training immediately upon completion of human performance improvement training. Master essential development skills.
  • Learn the secrets of successful curriculum development. Guarantee your training to provide job-relevant skills.
  • Reduce training costs.
  • Document the value of your training.
  • Make performance measurable and observable and give a base-line from which to measure how performance has improved after training. You can quickly show how performance has improved and demonstrate the value of what you do.

The Peak Performance System is perfect for e-learning media because the methodology enables you to select the best, most effective delivery media for any type of training. The Peak Performance System is extremely well suited to training delivered through technology because it enables you to break training into smaller segments which trainees can take as needed. Tailor training to your audience's needs and design training you can guarantee will work for any medium. There is no better way to acquire these skills than by attending these workshops. Become qualified to present these workshops personally to your organization.


Getting Started

Do you have personal, business, and/or organizational goals you want to accomplish? Are you having a difficult time achieving your goals to-date?

Clear Expectations and Purpose

Increase the probability of realizing your goals by starting with the end in mind. Clear purpose significantly affects motivation to succeed. What is your goal? A goal is something worked toward or striven for. In order to realize your goals you need to clearly identify what you truly want to accomplish or produce. If your goal is to improve your health, then ask yourself; what is the real reason you want to improve your health? What is the purpose of good health for you? Keep asking yourself why until you clearly identify the accomplishment or output you want to produce. For example the true accomplishment for wanting good health may be; to realize the euphoric feeling that comes with overcoming obstacles and achieving goals. The accomplishment may be to be a model for your children and grandchildren.

  • What is your goal? What is the purpose of your goal? What is the real accomplishment or output you want to produce in realizing your goal?



You also need to know what steps and behaviors are required to meet or exceed your expectations. You may be familiar with the saying:

“the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different outcome.”

This is an old expression, but the idea behind it contains a lot of wisdom. The point is that if you are NOT currently realizing your goals, then you probably need to do something different than you are currently doing if you expect a different outcome. This old expression is applicable to what you need to focus on to achieve your goals. Another similar take on this theme is:

“If you always do what you have always done, then you will always get what you always got”.

Often the behavior we need to change first is that WE NEED TO MAKE DIFFERENT AND BETTER CHOICES.

  • What new or different behaviors do you need to demonstrate to realize your goals?

To learn more about how-to achieve Exemplary Human Performance, go to: