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Training that Delivers Results: Instructional Design that Aligns with Business Goals

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Posted: April 14

Performance Consulting—A Third Edition by Dana G. and James C. Robinson …and Three New Authors!

At the 2013 ISPI Conference, Dana and Jim Robinson received the Thomas F. Gilbert Distinguished Professional Achievement Award. I had the pleasure of having dinner with them that evening at the conference where we were joined by Jack Phillips. As we were discussing the award and how much the Robinsons enjoyed seeing everyone again since their retirement, Jack suggested that they write a third edition of their Performance Consulting book—and that he and his wife Patti Phillips and I join them as co-authors. Dana and Jim jumped at the idea, and within a short time, Jack had a draft proposal for us to review. Before long, we had a contract with Barrett Koehler, the publisher of the first two editions of Performance Consulting.

The proposed title for the third edition is: “Performance Consulting: An End-to-End Process to Improve, Measure and Sustain Business Results.”  What will make this book significant is that it will combine the work the Robinsons have done in the area of performance consulting with the measurement and evaluation work of the Phillips. There is great synergy in the work of both couples, integrating the front-end consultative process of the Robinsons with the measurement techniques of the Phillips. My role is twofold:  to provide current case studies and examples as well as ensuring the content is congruent with instructional design principles. This is a very exciting role for me to play and I am enjoying every minute of it.  This new edition will be published in the spring of 2015.

The Robinsons most recent book, the second edition of Performance Consulting, appeared in 2008. Jim retired in 2009 and Dana in 2011. Jack and Patti are extremely prolific writers with over 100 titles to their combined credit. I am the newcomer to book writing with my first book, “Training That Delivers Results: Instructional Design that Aligns with Business Goals” which will be released by AMACOM Publishing in May of 2014. 

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Posted: April 1

International Society for Performance Improvement Conference, 2014

This year’s conference will be held in Indianapolis, IN from April 14 – 16. Workshops, including the Chapter Leaders’ Workshop will be held over the weekend on the 12th and 13th. This should be a great venue, with an accessible location from both coasts. Let’s hope spring arrives in Indiana by the middle of April!

I will be presenting a new session, supporting my new book, “Training That Delivers Results: Instructional Design that Aligns with Business Goals.” I have thought for many years that the only thing wrong with instructional design models is that they don’t include enough performance improvement or enough measurement and evaluation. The Handshaw Instructional Design Model has evolved to achieve this integration. This is my reason for writing the book and developing the session.

The model is influenced by three major experiences in my career. The performance consulting portion of the model is drawn heavily from the work of Dana and Jim Robinson, since they have been mentors to me since the mid-1990s. The more traditional ADDIE components of the model are drawn first, from my days at Indiana University, and later from nearly thirty years of working with customers and improving our instructional design process at Handshaw, Inc. Many talented instructional designers have used and influenced the Handshaw model through their work in our training services and performance consulting practice. I have also been influenced by the work of Jack and Patti Phillips. I have leveraged their work to strengthen the measurement and evaluation components of the model. My presentation will be on Wednesday the 16th at 10:00 in the morning.

I will be assisting Tim Brock with the Chapter leaders’ Workshop on Sunday the 13th. Among other things, we will be introducing a new Chapter Affiliation Agreement. This new agreement is designed to strengthen the brand consistency of ISPI among its affiliated chapters. It is also designed for chapters to help support the International Society with increased communication, support for increasing Society membership and increased support for the International Conference. I hope this Workshop marks a watershed moment in which the Society and the chapters will work together to strengthen the brand of the entire organization.

The one event of the week that I am most looking forward to is on Sunday evening when I will be making the short drive to Bloomington to have dinner with my Instructional Design professor from IU, Dr. Michael Molenda. My commitment and passion for our profession began at IU. Dr. Molenda introduced me to Instructional Systems Design in 1978. His influence has stayed with and helped guide me over the course of my career. I am really looking forward to having the opportunity to thank him for the influence he has had on my life and career. Another IU alum, Thiagi will also be joining us. It couldn’t get much better.


Dick Handshaw’s new book, Training that Delivers Results: Instructional Design that Aligns with Business Goals is available for pre-order now!

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Posted: February 26

Never Say “No” to a Training Request

I think we can all agree that there are a lot of training requests that should never be acted upon, but that saying “no” to a client can damage the trusted partnering relationship. While this is a good strategy for not damaging that relationship, how do we build a trusted partnering relationship in the first place?

The answer to this question is easier than you think. It just isn’t fast! It takes time, but it can be an enjoyable and rewarding process.  The Robinson’s call this process Proactive Consulting. It is proactive because you are initiating contact with your client rather than waiting for your client to contact you. The first step is probably the hardest. You have to get that first meeting when there really is no agenda and no pressing need to get together. The whole point of the meeting is to talk to your client about his or her business when there is no agenda. Again, you should focus on desired business results for the coming year. You may also ask questions about challenges both internally and externally. You should keep the meeting short—thirty minutes over a cup of coffee is good, certainly no more than an hour.

Once you get your client to expect these meetings on a regular basis, you will no longer be surprised by a new initiative when it finally makes its way to you as a training request. You will also develop a different relationship with your client, as a true partner rather than an order taker. This will make it easier to ask good questions about the initiative in order to qualify it as a valid training request. You will also have an opportunity to investigate non-training interventions that may support the desired performance.

One last thing you must keep in mind though, as you begin your proactive consulting meetings is to correctly identify the “true client”. You may have to work your way up through influencers to the true client, but eventually you have to take your interest and your questions to the person who truly owns whatever line of business you are supporting. Ask yourself, who writes the check to create whatever solutions are developed and put in place, or who is responsible if goals aren’t met, and you will be able to identify your “true client”.

Click on the Resources tab to see video role plays and the eight principles of both Reactive and Proactive Consulting.


Dick Handshaw’s new book, Training that Delivers Results: Instructional Design that Aligns with Business Goals is available for pre-order now!

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