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CISPI Cracker Barrel– Like a Tasting Menu of Learning Tools and Success Stories

The term ‘cracker barrel’ refers to the type of informal gatherings to share ideas and information that used to happen around the cracker barrel in an old-style country store. Now applied to the gathering of like-minded professionals sharing thoughts and insights, in an informal and collaborative discussion, if you can find a cracker barrel in your area, it’s definitely something you should try.

The Chicago Chapter of ISPI is well-known for these well executed events. Almost like a tasting menu of different topics, by the time the meeting ends you walk away with a lot of new learning tools and resources to try at work the next day. As a presenter of one of the table topics at the most recent Chicago ISPI cracker barrel, I enjoyed sharing client stories from Allen with three unique groups of people… Oh, and did I mentioned you’re only given twenty-five minutes from beginning to end? That made the session extra challenging and exciting.

My topic, “Rapid Analysis and Performance Mapping” addressed the challenges of conducting quality analysis and planning in a time-limited, faced-paced business environment. The title and the content attracted a broad range of questions that made for lively and productive conversations. We discussed how Allen’s approach to this process differs from others, the format for making it work quickly, what resources participants needed, questions to focus on during the process, and how to ultimately transform the collected information into an impact/performance map.

With each of the three groups there were a number of common themes and questions:

Why was the topic of rapid development and performance mapping Important? Though it sometimes seems impossible to analyze the large amount of content going into a training program rapidly, there are three key reasons to do so: 1) Rapid Analysis (ANSWER in our terms) is the most effective way to get Executive Sponsors’ expectations on metrics while providing visibility to all stake holders. 2) At the beginning of the process, it breaks down silos between performance improvement, change management and communication 3) It uncovers change management and communication strategies needed to align desired results.

How can you do rapid analysis while determining metrics for success? It’s all about getting the right leadership and content experts in the room.

Isn’t Rapid and Analysis a contradiction? Maybe it is in some cases, but we’ve developed a process that helps quickly establish direction and provides a framework for the types of scenarios needed to get each audience motivated to execute in their role after the training is over. It also focuses the design and development of content and optimizes the collection of information from SMEs.

What is the difference between performance mapping and learning maps? We showed an example of a performance map that illustrated what eight (yes eight) different audiences needed to learn and understand in order to perform the most important tasks in their job. We then discussed how knowledge and activities work together OVER TIME to help each participant sustain the desired perform and/or apply knowledge that resulted in making consistently better decisions.

Is this process scalable to very large groups of learners? Absolutely. By identifying 100% of the content needed for the majority of people (say 70%) to achieve the goal. Focus the remainder of the content on the categories of tasks for each type of audience vs. each role based on what they need to know and do MOST of the time.

Nothing is more enlightening than sitting down with a group of bright individuals, discussing topics they’re passionate about. The moment the event was over I couldn’t help thinking about the topics I wanted to discuss at the next cracker barrel! But, thanks to the power of the internet, I don’t have to wait to continue the discussion. How would Rapid Analysis and Performance Mapping benefit your organization? Let us hear from you!

Learn more about Allen’s custom training development.