PM Chronicles #11: More Development Triangles, by Wayne Pon and Fred Parker

On a video conference. Present are:

  • MC – Management Coach
  • OPS – Operations Manager
  • HR – Human Relations Manager
  • PM – Performance Manager
  • LT – Learning and Talent Development Coordinator
  • TC – Training Coordinator
  • HG – Consultant (Hired Gun)

PM         Hello everyone. Good to see you. It looks like you all are staying safe and healthy.

               Today we are continuing our consideration of the WSP Development Triangles.

               You will recall that last week MC introduced the first two triangles. Who can tell us what these triangles represent?

LT           Triangle #1 is a person who is fully developed in their position, perhaps better than anyone senior to them in the organization.

TC          Yeah, and Triangle #4 is a person who is new to position. They might be a new hire, a promotion, or a lateral move. Almost everyone senior to them knows more than they do.

MC         Good. Bear in mind for future discussion that there are pros and cons for each situation shown in the triangles.

               But for now, let’s take a look at the Triangles #2 and #3.

Triangle #3

               We will go next to Triangle #3, shown here.

               Yeah, I know this looks like a rectangle, but we are calling these all triangles.

               What do you think is shown here

HR         This looks like a situation where everyone has the same level of capability. Everyone knows and does about the same as everyone else.

MC         That’s good. Is this a positive change from #4?

OPS       Yes and no. Our person is now on an equal basis with everyone. We will need to discuss this. What value this may bring to the person or the organization? 

MC         Good, #3 shows progress.

Triangle #2

               Now for Triangle #2, shown here.

               What do you think of this one?

TC          It looks like #4 turned upside down.

MC         Yes, and what does that mean?

TC          It means that our person is continuing to improve relative to their seniors.

MC         So here are the first four Development Triangles.  Any questions so far?

First Four Development Traingles

OPS       Last week I think you said there are five triangles. Are we missing one?

MC         Well sort of. These four triangles show generally positive situations for one to assess where they are along the line of learning their jobs.

               I am holding back the fifth triangle for now because it is often negative or even destructive…depending on your perspective!

               So, what are you thinking right now about these triangles? As simple as they seem, do you begin to see that the applicability is incredibly broad?

HG         Wow! I have all kinds of thoughts going round in my head. The implications and dynamics of these triangles seem to me to be enormous.

               I can see impact to individuals, supervisors/managers, teams, small business, business growth, and Leaders at all levels.  Wow!

MC         Well, let’s pick a place to start. Anyone?

Start with the Individual

HR         I think the best starting point is for the individual.

               I started out as a lowly clerk. I am not sure I was even a Level 4, I was so new to the business. However, I worked hard and tried to do the best I could. After a while the HR Manager asked me to work for them helping administer employee benefits.

MC         Good. Then what happened?

HR         I began taking some classes and studying on my own. As I learned my profession, the only way to get ahead was to change jobs. After several jobs I joined this company not long after it started.

               I have kind of grown up with the company. In a sense, I was already at Triangle #1 when I started because I was the entire HR department.

MC         Great! Anyone else?

TC          I started out as a line operator at a different company. I really enjoyed that, but I also learned that I enjoyed helping other operators who were struggling to learn their jobs.

               I came here as a senior operator. I guess I was at lLevel 4 at first but quickly moved up to Level 2. Then, when I got asked to be an on-the-job (OJT) trainer I jumped at the chance.

               From there to Training Coordinator was easy.

MC         Do you see yourself as a Triangle #1 situation now?

TC          I have really been thinking about that, and I’m not sure. I know as much or more than anyone else in the plant about how to operate the equipment, and I am really good at training, but there are LT and PM who still have things to teach me about training.

LT           Wait a minute! I think that goes both ways. Even after the five or so years I have worked here you still help me learn a lot of basic things about training.

PM         That holds true for me as well. When BOSS asked me to take on the PM role, I was concerned. That is when I called HG. With HGs help all three of us, LT, TC, and I, have learned to do training and development, but because I have other duties as well, they have gotten much better than I am.

OPS       It is bigger than that. This entire company has learned training/learning and development together. PM’s team are the experts, if you will, but we all have learned.

MC         This is great stuff! We are about out of time for today, so let’s review where we are before we break.


               You are beginning to see the scope of the Development Triangles, for the moment in relation to the individual.

               HR, as the only HR is certainly a Triangle #1 situation. This is what we can call a one-of-a-kind expert. I want you all to consider the pros and cons of that situation for our discussion next week.

               LT and TC as individuals and as a team are very close to a Triangle #1 situation. They are the go-to people in this company for T&D.

PM         Whew! This is quite a mind bender.

               OK, then. Let’s break here for now. When we meet again we still need to think about how the Triangles impact supervisors and teams and companies. I am also very curious about that last triangle.

               Good discussion, everyone. See you all next week.

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Wayne Pon is an influential leader who believes an organization’s strength comes from its people.  Understands that investing in building relationships and creating environments where stakeholders feel respected, appreciated and valued delivers sustained results.  Known for applying globally developed skills, a key differentiator, in organizational transformational change.  

Inspires and motivates by using a collaborative approach through clarifying, simplifying and focusing on the critical few.  Helping to “connect the dots” by being open to learning and questioning to gain broad stakeholder alignment.  Driven and committed to “win” the “infinite game.”

Practical versatility gained from broad international oil, gas, mining production, development, research (patents), joint ventures, business, government and military experiences in targeted roles of increasing responsibilities and broadening assignments.  Servant leadership, active listening, clear decisiveness and technical depth with the ability to integrate stakeholder needs into executable strategic and tactical plans.  These have been key personal attributes grown over time and enhanced through formal “executive coaching.”  This has helped to ensure successes in guiding diverse/multi-cultural teams that safely achieve tangible results and create real value in the areas of organizational effectiveness, operations management and technical engineering.  

Fred Parker is the Director of Course Design and Development at Fred has half a century as a Performance Management Consultant designing, developing, and delivering performance-based training including all manner of technical training, individual development soft skills, and basic leadership. Clients include all sizes from a local sandwich shop to the military to fortune 500 multinationals. Now Fred is converting previous ILT courses to remote delivery courses available on our web site.

Choose your Reaction!
  • There is definately a lot to find out about this subject. I like all of the points you made. Gabbie Gino Iphigenia

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