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1 What is the Success Case Method and How Does it Work?

Robert Brinkerhoff Berrett-Koehler Publishers PDF


The Success Case Method


rganizations today are in a constant struggle to renew themselves and their processes, continuously trying out new ways of being more effective and competitive. People at all levels are

faced with an endless parade of new technology, new ways of organization, new tools, new methods, new training programs, new jobs, and so on.

• An automobile manufacturer introduces a new team assembly approach

• A furniture company employs laptop computers to help salespeople present a dizzying array of potential office configurations

• Ambulance crews use wireless communications to communicate with a remote physician who provides real-time directions for care

• Airline security staff have access to new databases to scan passengers in an attempt to spot likely candidates for increased scrutiny

• Telecommunications operators receive listening training to help them better establish rapport, in an attempt to increase customer satisfaction

• A hotel chain provides cash incentives to housecleaning staff to help drive repeat business

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5 Pillar #3: Win the Hearts and Minds of the Make-or-Break Partners

Tim Mooney Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Afew years back we were making a presentation to a group of Human Resources and Development (HRD) professionals at a conference about various issues we have described in this book: the low proportion of training that actually gets used by participants, the root causes of failure for training initiatives, the fact that senior managers and line managers must play a critical role if training is going to produce real business impact, and so forth. We remember vividly a gentleman from a company in Boston vigorously raising his hand and posing this challenge: “I believe everything you have said in your presentation. I think everyone in this room especially knows that we need line managers to support our training. You’re not telling us anything we don’t already know. But we’ve tried over and over to get them more involved and nothing works. What can we do differently?”

His comments summed up the challenge pretty well: even if we as HRD professionals are aware of the troubling state of training’s low impact, it is very difficult to get anyone outside of the training function to take the message to heart and actually do something to make a difference. But the reality remains: getting results from training is a whole-organization responsibility. Unless we get concrete and focused actions from the make-or-break players in the process, training is doomed to continue its pattern of marginal results, and the spiral of low expectations leading to mediocre results will gain speed. In this chapter we provide strategies and tools that Courageous Training leaders can employ to gain the constructive involvement of key stakeholders.

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Chapter Four: Focusing and Planning a Success Case Method Study

Brinkerhoff, Robert Berrett-Koehler Publishers PDF


Telling Training’s Story

4. Who the program’s participants are and how many of them should

be included in the study

5. How soon after the training the follow-up survey should be


6. The schedule for the study

7. The resources that are available for completing the study

8. The overall strategy for the study that will work best

These decision areas are not necessarily pursued in a stepwise, linear fashion. But it is important to note that these decisions interact with each other. Practitioners will find that decisions in one area affect the understanding of and decisions in another area. For example, the initial understanding of purpose may need to be limited to accommodate the resources that are available for the study. Or, likewise, discussions with stakeholders may surface a time limitation that the study must accommodate, which will in turn limit the scope of the study to a particular portion of the program being investigated, unless an increase in resources can be negotiated.

The eighth decision area, the overall strategy for the study, may be an exception to the non-linear nature of study planning. The decision must be made last, as it is shaped by decisions in the other six areas. Once practitioners have addressed this eighth decision area, they have achieved the overall goal of Step 1.

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8 Introducing Four Courageous Training Leaders

Tim Mooney Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

The path from business-as-usual training to training that makes a worthwhile difference to the business is a long, uphill, and rocky road. We are honored to work with many training leaders from our user group who have forgone the opportunities to exit for an easier route and have achieved some remarkable results for their organizations and the employees in them.

Four of these bold leaders tell their stories in the following chapters. We wish that length limitations could have permitted us to include more such stories, as it was difficult to cull only four from the potential pool of Courageous Training profiles. But the four we chose represent an excellent range of industries, approaches, and challenges faced.

All of the authors who wrote case examples refer to a similar set of methods and tools with which readers may not be familiar, because they are part of proprietary training approach 134called the Advantage Way system. Each of the four authors is a member of the Advantage Way User Group, sponsored by Advantage Performance Group (APG). The Advantage Way system is APGs proprietary version of High Impact Learning (HIL)—the conceptual framework, methods, and tools developed initially by Robert O. Brinkerhoff (see Brinkerhoff and Apking 2001) and continuously upgraded and refined. The system helps training leaders plan and design learning interventions that are guaranteed to help participants achieve increased business impact. The Resources section at the end of this book provides an explanation of the tools and terms referred to in the four case examples. Brief summaries of each of these four stories follow below, highlighting the type of industry in which each courageous leader works and, more importantly, the principal sort of challenge each leader faced that demanded bold action.

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7 Communicating Credible and Compelling Results that Tell the Story

Robert Brinkerhoff Berrett-Koehler Publishers PDF


The Success Case Method

This chapter reviews the major types of purposes and questions an

SC study is typically designed to pursue, which were presented in the first chapter of the book, then describes how the reporting step is structured to address each purpose and question. Examples of SC reports are provided to illustrate these where appropriate. Special attention is paid to the sort of analysis of survey findings that will have to be completed and how these survey findings can be combined with Success Case interview information to arrive at final conclusions and recommendations.

Most, but not all, SC studies will culminate in the preparation of a final report that can be distributed to interested audiences, though this is not always the case. In some instances, especially where the SC

Method was used as an informal tool to help further develop a program, all that is needed is to capture the essence of the success cases that were discovered. This can be done by writing up each of the Impact Profiles

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