About Me

Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The quick fix

Tony Karrer blogged about Jay Cross's post on performance support systems. He quotes Jay as saying:
Performance Support empowered novice employees to get up to speed rapidly, to perform with a minimum of outside coaching or training, and to do the job as well or even better than experienced workers.
I am surprised that Tony did not take exception to organizations believing that they could "program" new workers to work quicker, thus discounting the importance of social interaction. Hopefully by now, organizations understand that people are not machines in which a new model or cartridge can replace an older model or older knowledge.

As I have been collecting information on my dissertation, my participants have indicated that a slower process, in which the group is developing their own materials has created better processes in the long term, even giving them a structure on which to replicate programs than having been given a document to begin their work which does not address any of the situations they have been faced with. In fact, they found when they scraped someone else's document all together, their service and work processes became much more efficient.

This leads me to conclude that up front planning and training, which may take a bit more time consuming initially, has much better long term pay-back. This reminds me of the times when I was doing marketing research for the newly deregulated natural gas industry. I got myself in trouble because we were supposed to contact a minimum amount of participants per hour. While initially it appeared that I was not productive, as I began to understand the various connections, hot topics, and players within the natural gas industry, I was able to pick up on little pieces of information others overlooked. I encouraged those that did not want to divulge information to have a discussion with me, which helped me to actually identify information others had not gotten (including a new pipe line being built in a major market that had yet to be tapped). In creating a relationship with those I interviewed, I was able to complete or at least partially answer the most questionnaires by end of the time frame we had been given. Those who initially were the star players (over the quota per hour for contact), tended to have a very low completion rate.

It is important as companies design training programs that they incorporate time into their costs. While start-up costs might be high, long term returns might be even higher.

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