Georgia LEARNS 2019

Planning is underway...

The content, format, dates, location and participants are open to your input.

One potential theme is "Proof."

This theme builds on our progression over the last few years from

What are your ideas related to content, format, dates, location and participants?

Comment by Paula Smith on April 2, 2019 at 2:57pm

Paul - I love the theme! Clear, concise, and meaningful across industries, business & education, sectors (public and private), and positions/levels.

It conjures up an image of metrics, accountability, and ROI.  

I’ll gladly support your efforts to make PROOF a success.

Looking forward to catching up soon – I’ll give you a call.

Paula 

770-377-2800 

Comment by Paul Terlemezian on April 2, 2019 at 4:10pm

Thanks Paula p I like the image you are conjuring!

I also anticipate more questions and challenges than definitive answers - including one I heard today - is proof worth the effort to gather it!

Looking forward to our conversation!

Comment by Paul Terlemezian on April 2, 2019 at 7:21pm

Earlier today I was asked if incentives could be put in place to assure innovation in the workplace - especially large companies where corporate politics could discourage innovation.

Several years ago with the guidance of the Glenn Pelham Foundation (a Georgia LEARNS permanent partner) I participated in two debates on the topic: "The Corporate Hierarchy Inhibits Innovation."

Here were the audiences and the conclusions:

  1. The first audience was the TAG Workplace Learning Society - the attendees were learning and technology specialists. The outcome of the debate was agreement on the premise - the major source of the inhibition was "fear" - and the consensus was that a champion needs to emerge and be committed enough to the innovation to overcome the fear. This reminds me of the definition of courage - Courage is taking effective action in the presence of fear (as opposed to being fearless.) So my "bias" is that while incentives are good - they may actually be detrimental if the motivation is to remove fear - courage needs fear - as does innovation (IMHO.) The reward is survival and the learning and self-respect that comes with overcoming the challenges associated with innovation. It's kind of like the baby chick developing the strength to survive by breaking its own shell. If it cannot break the shell - it would not have the strength to survive - and if the shell is broken for it - it will not develop the strength to survive.
  2. The second audience was organized by CGG (Creative Growth Group - Andrew Dietz ) - the attendees were primarily lawyers and accountants (some would call them - the "inhibitors.") They also agreed with the premise and defended it as necessary - since otherwise corporate resources could be easily consumed/wasted on half-baked ideas masquerading as "innovation." They asserted that the corporate hierarchy is a "necessary filter." And then as a remarkable outcome from the "inhibitors" they also noted that "filters" need to be cleaned (i.e. trained and brought up-to-date) and sometimes "filters" need to be replaced.

How would a Georgia LEARNS 2019 debate related to innovation, incentives and corporate hierarchy create value for you? What role would you play in the debate? - Participant, Moderator, Researcher, Coach, Observer, Judge - other? Or - perhaps - not interested in the topic or format?

 

 

 

Comment by Jim Everidge on April 3, 2019 at 8:59am

Paul,

I see 'Proof' as a requirement for being a learning leader today.  We all must seek accountability for the investments that organizations are making in people.  And provide 'proof' that those investments are a reasonable course for the organization to seek shareholder value.  

The good news is that there are significant advancements on all fronts - people, process, and technology.  The role of Data Scientist is becoming recognized and valued.  Methods of compiling and analyzing data are becoming standardized and accepted.  And technologies for visual transformations of data are being delivered in the market.  So the barriers to providing this 'proof' are being lowered.

The challenge is for everyone to embrace and seek the understanding of how they can maximize their own company investments.

Comment by Paul Terlemezian on April 3, 2019 at 9:29am

Jim - thank you. Your clear articulation of 'proof' and the "challenge" that you describe are appreciated and important for our work as a community.

Comment by Bill Crose on April 4, 2019 at 10:54pm

Proof of performance improvement in numbers >= words. I like that! Before = 100. After = 50. Savings = 50. Cost = 10. An extreme example, but who isn't tired of trying to explain training ROI without numbers? I could imagine doing some demos that passively collect and report performance data for proving performance improvement. It would be fun!

Comment by Bill Crose on April 4, 2019 at 11:14pm

Regarding, "The Corporate Hierarchy Inhibits Innovation". Of course it does. It starts with the consultant/grass is greener effect, then the 1,000 edits that turn wine into water takes over. Corporate decision making rewards the lowest common denominator, flattest emotion, highest consensus, and best fitting solutions within budget. Innovation doesn't "fit"..  

Comment by David Gates on April 5, 2019 at 12:18pm

The theme Proof is timely because corporate leaders are increasing the pressure on talent functions to demonstrate (show proof) value of investments in infrastructure around learning and development intended to grow associate and  leader capabilities... to do this innovation is at the core of proof in this case... Innovation gets bantered about and will at times be seen as corporate speak and lip service. From my perspective, Innovation is another word that means Change only sexier and embraced far more... everyone wants to believe they're  innovative...   I need to think this through but I see a great opportunity here...I look forward to more discussion and see this shape up...

Comment by Matt Meador on April 8, 2019 at 9:35am

Proof; catchy. Thinking out loud here----- I keep imagining a wanderer standing on a mountain with a sea of fog below, as Caspar David Friedrich did. What proof is there that anything out there is navigable? Living? Worth doing? Worthy of our time, resouces, or more importantly, effort?(What happen's next?) ---- Done thinking out loud.

The information we need is everywhere around us, it's in the conversations we have, it's in the relationships we nourish, it's in the alliances we promote and strengthen, it's in the wisdom shared; yet we still remain in a sea of fog; we want to see the way- I think "proof" creates a new dynamic for Georigia LEARNS (2019). After reading several of the posts, I think that idea of "change" has been picked up, and there is now the "proof" that change is meaningful, memorable, motivational, and measurable and are all tenets to guide the way. 

Comment by Paul Terlemezian on April 8, 2019 at 5:46pm

Matt - I like the Wanderer analogy.

When I think of the wanderer standing on a mountain looking down on a sea of fog - it makes me think of one whose vision is limited to what exists at an altitude above the fog and who has no access to what they "see" unless they come down from the mountain through the fog.. This could foster a sense of isolation, "aloofness" and perhaps create a "condescending" attitude (based on fear) that there is no reason to risk the fog.

When I think of the wanderer standing at the base of the mountain looking up at the sea of fog - it makes me think of one who has easy access to distractions that keep them busy at their level. I wonder what would foster the curiosity that would cause them to shift from easy access to risky access by climbing the mountain to try and see what might be above - or beyond.

Perhaps someone or something is needed to "guide the way" for the wanderer - no matter where they are standing!

Comment by Sean O'Brien on April 29, 2019 at 3:01pm

Is proof an absolute? As an early stage founder / innovator, absolute proof is an impossibility which is why investors / corporate hierarchies might use the term signal if they understood and were comfortable with the natural ambiguity. The best early stage  innovators and investors ask the best questions about what early stage data might lead to the ultimate proof. I'd suggest a question, "What are you trying to prove" as a topic.

Comment by Paul Terlemezian on April 29, 2019 at 3:41pm

Sean - thank you for the valuable insight - I (want to) believe that "What are you trying to prove" would stimulate useful dialog!

Comment by Paul Terlemezian on June 30, 2019 at 10:42am

The ICD-10  (Coding system used by healthcare) has close to 69,000 diagnosis codes and 71,000 procedure codes.

  • How may diagnosis and procedure codes exist for learning?
  • Is it easier to create a new one than to assure that we have found the best existing one?
  • Is it worth the precision?
  • Do we want the precision?
  • Is it possible to be taken seriously by others - outside of L&D without being able to prove that our answer is effective?
Comment by Hal Schlenger on June 30, 2019 at 12:18pm

aaaaaaaaah.  Some precision, yes.  Who needs the info.  

ICD-10 code W61.33XD is for "Pecked by chicken, subsequent encounter."  For real.   So there are balances.  You need to go back to what are you trying to prove!    

That being said, I think you are in the right direction!

Comment by Paul Terlemezian on July 26, 2019 at 10:13am

How long does it take to prove the value of investments? Recently I heard an example of where it took nearly 3 years...

  1. It took several months to agree on what to do
  2. The business had seasonal variations so a full-year's worth of data was needed
  3. The second full year was needed to assure that the season-to-season comparisons were available
  4. It then took months to analyze the data - especially when third year data reflected trends different from year 1 to year 2

Might we benefit from a different mindset towards analytics and proof?

Why or why not?

If yes - what would it be?

Comment by Bill Crose on July 26, 2019 at 1:14pm

How long does it take to prove the value of investments?

Given the seasonal variable, I'm reminded of a PBS story about death. LOL! The premise was, although we like to think we have some control over our own death, it's really more like driving to the airport to catch a flight. Once you're on the freeway, you control nothing. I see proving investment value in some seasonal businesses similarly. You perform due diligence, invest, prove value on a daily basis, track the trend, quantify the gain/loss, decide to hold, sell, or invest more. And then there's the "util" concept I learned in Econ 100, I can lose money on something I believe in and derive higher value/utils than that than something I made tons of money doing.  

Anyway... I question the need to spend several months to reach consensus on any decision these days. If that's the case, you need better data systems or you have the wrong decision makers.

I also question needing 2 years of data to prove an investment's value The world changes too fast to expect third year hindsight to prove operational investments; you have to know the value well before the next big seasonal push.

The seasonal case you gave could well be a retail company. Have you ever read the Executive's Summary of a retailer's Annual Report? In good years those summaries highlight all the great buying & pricing decisions and bad years highlight the horrible weather. My point being, investing in seasonal businesses like retailers is like death and driving to the airport; no amount of right moves can negate the weather or a sudden shift in fashion tastes. Ultimately, the investment value comes down to investor satisfaction and future outlook. A retailer that requires 3 years of data and takes 3 months to analyze that data will find little if any value from that investment and won't be around long, 

Maybe retail isn't a good case. Row crop farming is another business with great seasonal variations. Farmers plan through the winter, plant corn & beans in the spring, and harvest in the fall. Despite all their work, they're on a "ride to the airport" between planting & harvesting. If the harvest fails, the dollars invested are lost. Would months of analysis help make the next year better? Do they sell the farm after the first bad year?  

Fortunately, retail and farming have some fairly constant variables that can be predictive. For retail, the biggest sales season is November/December holidays, followed by Back to School, Mother's Day, and Easter. The November/December holidays depend most on selling new & trendy products like phones, toys, fashion clothing, etc. It's incredibly easy to miss or not buy into a trend, Mother's Day and Easter are better events to analyze for operational investment value. For example, if a service training program was implemented before Mother's Day, comparing year-over-year April/May jewelry & flower sales could be worth the invested time & proven through increased sales & MGP. Did Easter sales fall during in a booming economy? Did Mother's Day continue the trend? If yes, you'd better find something to fix before Father's Day; you don't have 3 months to analyze things and the following 2 years may not happen.

A different mindset, why, and what would it be? I like Six Sigma/Lean: DEFINE, MEASURE, ANALYZE, IMPROVE, CONTROL. Do it all the time, every day. Alternatively, PLAN, DO, CHECK, ACT. Create systems to capture valid & reliable data that helps define & measure needs. Include artificial intelligence to help analysis. Move fast. Fill the gaps. Monitor progress. Edit as needed. Investment values will become immediately evident. 

Comment by Hal Schlenger on July 28, 2019 at 11:17am

You're addressing "how to define success" and then asking how to monitor.  

Building off of what Bill Crose wrote above, Define / Do / Measure / Analyze could bring you back to Define (aka Continuous Improvement Process). As Bill points out, things change too much, so Control may not be possible.  Using Bill's example of farming and retail, by the time you allow for year-to-year trending to acount for the amount of rain for farmers, and the amount of weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas for retailers, the marketplace and/or technology has evolved.  Thus, returning to "define" your success leads one to consider Agile Management.

In my space of healthcare, defining success also continues to evolve.   "Feeling good" or "feeling healthy" is as much a state of mind as it is blood pressure, body-mass index and blood sugar.   And all of it changes as you age.  Many of our doctors have gone from annual exams to 2 or 3 exams per year to help monitor and adjust.  Oh, by the way, this is part of how I've lowered healthcare costs for my clients.

So maybe PROOF is less durable and the importance is being able to analyze and adjust?

Comment by Paul Terlemezian on July 28, 2019 at 3:07pm

I just finished reading "Trust First" by Bruce Deel - Founder of City of Refuge. His mindset and the results have caused me to think differently about this question.

Hal - your closing comment about analyze and adjust is insightful. Who does the analysis? Who does the adjustment?

Bill - DMAIC and PDCA seem valid - when and by whom?

From reading "Trust First" - I am thinking more deeply about "when" and by "whom" and how the business model we choose may either trap us or enable us.

Comment by Bill Crose on July 28, 2019 at 7:45pm

I think the "when" is continuously and the "by whom" should be a bottom-weighted hierarchy. What I mean by "bottom-weighted" is, the people performing the tasks should have more decision power than any single manager in the hierarchy. I'll explain why.

I want to preface my following comment with, I'm a career-long performance improvement professional. My job has always been to find & fix performance discrepancies. Sometimes, the truth about what needs to be fixed makes people in my profession, including me, seem negative when we're simply doing our jobs. I'm not trying to be negative when I write this and I'd normally varnish it a bit.. Anyway... It may seem counter-intuitive to hire decision-makers, then assign the greater part of decision responsibility to front line workers. But understand how managers are hired and promoted these days (and maybe always have been). Businesses make no qualms about choosing managers based primarily on who they know, not what they know, and job "fit", whereby "fit" is a set of ethereal characteristics that are somehow revealed after expensive/extensive personality testing and full-day job interviews across the entire team, ending with team members confirming the hiring manager's decision by expressing how much or how little they liked each candidate. What this means is, managers often don't have the expertise required to effectively analyze the work or present viable solutions. So, they must either go the old demonstrate authority & "trust your gut" route or trust your staff. BTW, when going with "trust your staff", the Kepner-Tregoe Decisionmaking Process is fantastic!

Comment by Paul Terlemezian on July 28, 2019 at 8:18pm

Thank you Bill - i agree with continuously and bottom weighted - and assert that - this is probably what happens whether we realize it or not!

I just looked up the Kepner-Tregoe process and it produced two thoughts:

1. How would this work for those at the bottom?

2. How might IoT impact be integrated with the model to help those at the bottom? (I think this is already underway)

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