Friday, October 23, 2009

Detecting Performance -- Discovery

As a mystery fan and an instructional designer/performance improvement practitioner, I find a certain similarity between mysteries and performance improvement. Care to guess what they are?

First, there is the discovery phase where both mystery readers and performance improvement practitioners identify a problem that needs to be solved. For me, the problem has to be one that hooks my interest. It has to be big enough to show a definite need -- a reason for doing solving the problem. It has needs to feel solvable. This phenomena might be called the "bigger than breadbox" phenomena. (You know... bigger than a breadbox but smaller than barn... a guessing game where the guesser hones in the item in asking, "Is it bigger than...?" Also call "Am I getting hotter or colder?")

Discovery is really rather creative. It uses the practitioner's best logic and intuition matched with insight and knowledge about the specific field in which one is working.

Think about the last mystery you read. The whole plot is based on the protagonist (the hero and/or heroine) finding a body or some other valuable object that starts them looking for answers. Finding and definine the problem is the first challenge of both a mystery and business in need of performance improvement. Until the problem is discovered, the action can not begin.

Look around you. What mysteries are you solving? Are you a performance improvement mystery junkie?