A Return to First Principles (Part 1)

I have been churning out blog posts for a year and five months now. Often I have had lengthy breaks in posts followed by bunches of posts one after another. For the last 13 months, I have held a position as a Technical Writer for a company that makes processing equipment for the consumer electronics industry. Consequently, I am often not enthused about writing after a day of writing, and when I have written, my focus has been on the technical writing and procedure side of life.

But my heart is in the overall process of helping people understand their processes and how to communicate their knowledge of a process in a way that enables others to successfully perform the process. This process I have referred to as Instructional Communication.

So I decided to go back to square one, my first blog post (April 22 of last year), and seek to discuss the basics of Instructional Communication.

In that first post, I wrote (in part):

It is my belief that there are fewer things more vital to an organization’s success than having as  many of its workers as possible perform every one of their tasks as perfectly as possible as often as possible. While many people (myself included) promote and drive “continuous improvement,” most organizations would improve their results substantially simply by eliminating the mistakes, and the costs associated with those mistakes.

The first sentence in a nutshell captures Instructional Communication. Improvement involves two steps, as indicated in the second paragraph. The first step is to isolate performance mistakes, identify and remove their causes, in order to remove process waste. The second (what is properly termed “continuous improvement”) involves improving the efficiency of a process once the mistakes have been dealt with.

Organizations engage in a number of activities presumably aimed at removing mistakes. These activities make up the core of Instructional Communication, and include the following:

Employee training

Orientation training

Safety training

Policy development and implementation

Operating procedure development

Work instruction development

Training and procedures in support of Quality Management (ISO, AS9100, etc.)

On-the-job training

Classroom training

On-line training

Topical course development and presentation (leadership, special skills, etc.)

In the upcoming series of posts, I will discuss each of these topics and how to get the most out of your training/workforce development/improvement efforts.

As always, I welcome all comments and especially questions you have. I am always looking for new topics to discuss. When there is a lack of topics, I tend to revert to my lazy ways and find excuses to not get back to the blog.

About Tim James "Mr. Procedure"

A communicator; all-purpose capability in writing, designing and presenting training for all facets of organizational function. While my focus has been manufacturing, my training/development experience includes supervisory and lead person development, audit processes, continuous improvement and Lean, and Quality Management System implementation.
This entry was posted in Instructional Communication, Policy and Procedure Development, Procedures, Process, Training, Training Program Development and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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