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May 08 2018
Accomplishment-Based Systems: The Alternative to Competency Modeling

Years ago, a colleague and I published an article that did not get much attention, devoted to the contrast between competency modeling and an accomplishment-based approach, based on the work of Thomas F. Gilbert, pioneer in the field of human performance improvement.  At that time, competency modeling was relatively new, shiny, and heavily promoted by training companies and consulting firms. On the surface of it, competency modeling seemed to offer a way to define capability in a way that was convenient and could form the basis of discussion about performance. Countless organizations devoted many millions of dollars and person years to developing competency models, building performance management systems in which people received “ratings” on those competencies, developing learning management systems and curriculum architectures built on competencies, and so forth.  In my view, it was a scam. 

May 07 2018
YouTube: The Work of Robert E. Horn

Robert Horn is one of those creative geniuses whose contributions have come in waves. He has been acknowledged on our web site as one of the key sources of inspiration and technical influence underlying the work of The Performance Thinking Network, particularly our efforts to communicate widely about performance improvement.

May 04 2018
Noboby Wants to Be the Denominator!

In 1978, Thomas F. Gilbert rocked the world of training and performance improvement by pointing out the obvious in his book, Human Competence:  In the “world of work,” as he called it, the WORTH of any effort to improve organizational performance is equal to the VALUE of the accomplishments (or work outputs) produced or improved by that effort divided by the COST of the behavior. He pointed out very clearly that accomplishments are valuable, while behavior is costly.  We need to pay, support, provide resources for, and otherwise invest in the  behavior of people. What we hope to get from that behavior are valuable accomplishments or work outputs that are valuable because they contribute to organization-level business results, or perhaps to societal results.

Apr 30 2018
Why Competency Based HR Systems are Unfair and Ineffective

Competency-based human resource management and talent development systems are profoundly unfair to people, and are inherently flawed. Competency models have a stranglehold on many HR departments, performance management processes, learning management systems, and other forms of performance assessment and instructional design in organizations.  I have railed against them for decades from the perspective of performance engineering and behavior science. But it has often been hard to push back against something that is so often accepted without question. 

Mar 07 2018
The Problem with 360 Degree Feedback

Many organizations routinely arrange for 360 degree feedback for their managers and leaders.  They typically adopt processes and tools provided by external vendors, or sometimes execute the process themselves.  In either case, there are serious limitations with this approach, to the point where many experts think it is a waste of time and money.

Feb 16 2018
YouTube: Leaders & Managers Drive Continuous Talent Development

Here's a recent recording of a presentation that I did virtually for the Hampton Roads, Virginia, chapter of the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI).  Click here for the YouTube video .

Dec 05 2017
When Good Enough is Good Enough

This blog post assumes you know about The Performance Chain.  If you don't, check it out for a minute. You'll get it.

Oct 29 2017
We Love Situational Leadership®, but...

Many of our clients use Situational Leadership® programs, based on the popular model to improve the interpersonal skills of leaders and managers. Situational Leadership helps leaders and managers adapt their communication approach with those whose performance they need to support and develop. It’s a powerful program that has helped many leaders and managers communicate more effectively in key working relationships. Like other programs that teach critical interpersonal soft skills, it can have significant impact on how leaders and managers relate with their people.

Oct 03 2017
User Friendly

The phrase, “user friendly” means different things to different people.

Sep 19 2017
2018 Summer Institute: Performance Thinking Acrcoss the Enterprise

The theme for our 9th Annual Six Boxes Summer Institute,  June 17-21 on Bainbridge Island, near Seattle,  will be Performance Thinking Across the Enterprise. 

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