Monday, March 12, 2007

Implementing Technology for the Right Reasons

I want to apologize for being somewhat of a shill for my company and a Boise-area organization I support. We upgraded our website and we threw our support behind Kickstart, an entrepreneur event happening in April. Last week's posts has little to do with PinPoint Performance Solutions and our overall mission to help companies implement technology in their organizations to improve performance. Still, why be in the blogging game if you can't do a little self-promotion from time to time and advocate a cause or two?

This week, I thought I'd dedicate a couple posts to my "roots". I started out my professional career as an instructional designer and human performance improvement specialist. Those titles may seem a little foreign to you, but that's OK. Before the week is out you'll have a better understanding of where I'm coming from, how it all falls into place and drives PinPoint Performance Solutions. All you really need to know about my previous career is that much of what I was taught and what I practiced supported the human resources function of an organization (or at least that's where it originated). I had a strong interest in technology and over time I found ways to merge my interest and my profession.

It wasn't all that hard to do. The fields of instructional design and human performance improvement today leverage technology and use it as a driver for many of the solutions that are developed. I'm sure you heard of e-learning. Well, that's an instructional design (i.e. - training) solution and if it is determined after an analysis conducted under the umbrella of human performance improvement that it will benefit the end-user and the organization, true performance emerges that is objective and measurable.

So how does this all tie in to what PinPoint Performance Solutions is doing today? I feel that technology, whether software, websites or web applications, even hardware products like hand held devices, is sometimes hastily implemented. In other words, the technology solution is created for the sake of the solution and not to address the true need or real performance problem in the organization. We get so excited about the possible outcome, but we have a clouded vision of what lies between the perceived need and potential solution.

The model I use at PinPoint Performance Solutions to validate the need to implement a technology solution in business, is Gilbert's Behavior Engineering Model. The link will take you to a PDF file with a copy of the model I have posted on my website. Gilbert, Thomas F., is considered the father of human performance technology. It basically boils down to this - problems in the workplace usually stem from either the business environment or the individual. Each have three sub-sets or areas where the problem(s) is usually centered upon.


  • Information
  • Resources
  • Incentives / Consequences
  • Knowledge / Skills
  • Capacity
  • Motivation
When we look to implement a technology solution in an organization to increase performance (or change the behavior of our workforce - because they aren't doing what they ought to be doing), what we are doing is concentrating on validating the environmental factor of resources. In most cases it is a lack thereof or having the wrong tool to complete crucial tasks, poor supporting systems, inadequate procedures, time (moving too quickly, moving very slowly or not enough) or lack of reference materials to support the transfer of knowledge.

Technology is a tool and if it is determined that a tool will help people and an organization perform better, then it is the right choice. Otherwise, there may be other factors at play that are causing the problem that should be explored more thoroughly. Technology is an expensive proposition for any organization to undertake. If a solution can be developed that doesn't involve implementing technology, then it should be pursued.

It may surprise you that I'm talking about steering clients away from implementing technology solutions, but that's quite the contrary. It's about serving our clients the best way possible and making sure they are implementing technology solutions for the right reasons.

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