I recall a series of Wachovia commercials (before Wachovia was bought out by Wells Fargo) that asked: “What can we learn from…?”  The narrator would call out some event, creature, or whatnot, and then come to life-affirming conclusions based upon the behaviors of that creature or the people at the event.  Those commercials highlighted that one can learn from the world around one’s self, providing one pays attention.

Those commercials spoke to me.  At the time, I was heavy into figuring out how to be a good trainer.  I was connecting to as many sources of information as I could, and had just begun taking an intensive certificate course in Human Performance Improvement — a course which would forever change my viewpoint of what it means to train.  From my sources of information I realized that there’s a bunch of information surrounding me all the time, and I was paying about as much attention to it as I had paid attention to my parents’ wisdom. From the HPI course I realized that for the most part, training deals with the dissemination of knowledge and the application of skills.  And most of my clients wanted me to focus on the dissemination of knowledge.

Well, here’s the thing.

I shouldn’t be looked to for the dissemination of knowledge.  It’s the application of that knowledge that we really need to focus on.

As I type this, I think about when my first training job.  I was more of a SME than a trainer, eager to prove my worth. I was listening to one of the company managers complain about all the things that were wrong with her department, and responded casually to several of them: “Oh, that’s a training issue.”

She glared at me and responded to each comment: “No, it’s not.”

What can I learn from a manager who knows her processes enough that she relies upon herself to address performance issues?  I could learn how she identified department goals, how she translated what she was trying to achieve into what she sought to change in her organization.  I could learn what she viewed training’s role in her department was.  Perhaps I could learn how to communicate her point of view to the managers I work with today.

So that’s what this blog is about.  There’s a world of people learning all around you. What can you learn from them?

Oh… You wanted to know about me?

Well, there’s not much to know beyond the following:

I’ve been in the training field for about nine years now, developing from a Subject Matter Expert trainer to a Performance Technologist.

More of my professional skills can be found here:  View Paul Venderley's profile on LinkedIn

As you can see in the column to the right, I do use Twitter.  Feel free to follow me @PerformbyDesign.

“What?” you ask. “No Facebook?”
I did set up a Facebook account when I had learned that there were some eLearning and informal learning applications available on Facebook.  I must admit, however, that my Facebook account has devolved from a learning and development focus to a personal focus.  I don’t play all the games (eschewed Mafia Wars, but ChainRxn sucked me in for a bit), but it is a family and friend sort of place. So until I create a PerformanceByDesign page for you to fan, we’ll leave Facebook out of the mix.


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