The Performance Manager (PM) Chronicles #1: Introduction, by Fred Parker


I call myself a semi-retired training consultant. Depending on when you start measuring, that career began in 1971 or 1972 in the US Marine Corps. Whew! It’s hard to believe I’ve been at this for half a century.

I often tell people that the US Military has far and away the best training programs of any organization I know about. After all, they really are concerned about life and death proficiencies. These training programs are built using the military training methods mandated in 1975. These methods draw from the original Techniques of Military Instruction and stalwarts of our profession, such as Robert F. Mager.

What came from all that is the understanding that there are certain core principles of effective training that should not be violated. Once those principles are captured, they may be surrounded with whatever else you want, slides, videos, photos, whatever technology allows. These core principles are covered in the Rapid Training Design courses offered at

Since my retirement from the Marines in 1991 I have worked for some of the largest and smallest companies you might imagine. When recently asked about my education I listed US Marine officer, hard knocks, and field experience. I like to believe that all adds up to something worth sharing. All of this will be discussed in detail as we go through these chronicles.

I have been looking for a platform that would allow me to pass on what I have learned. A few years ago, my business partner at Pathfinder Coaches Academy and I reconnected after almost 25 years. We had served together in the Marines, and we have many similar experiences and concerns about the general quality of training programs and courses available today.

The Marines taught me to be a master instructor. But they also taught me to be a seminar facilitator, using guided discussion. I wasn’t sure at first of the effectiveness; it seemed so slow. But as time went on, I realized how well it worked, because the learners understood the materials the first time through, which actually saves time. Some call this the Socratic method. Ok, whatever.

The Performance Manager Chronicles reflect that guided discussion methodology. They are presented as a series of conversations as Hired Gun Consultant works with Performance Manager and the team to create a performance development department and training programs in a growing company. Along the way they discuss various development issues around training, talent, learning, elearning, etc., for both technical (hard skills), and leadership (soft skills).

All of these discussions actually happened, though not all during this specific project. I avoid names and gender specific terms, so you are allowed to imagine these people for yourself. Some of them are single people, and some are composites.

Part of my purpose here is to poke various cows, some sacred, I suppose. I try to challenge all of you to react in any of a number of ways.

  • You might cheer for things that, in some cases, you taught me. I, too, am a composite of my experiences.
  • You might reinforce what you already know and do. You might learn new concepts that you wondered about.
  • You might offer fresh insights from your own experience that will help us all.
  • You might disagree or even get angry and want to argue strenuously.

Well, let’s get on with the discussion. We can all learn from each other. I ask only that we all be respectful of one another.

Performance management, for me, is most fascinating. We work in the area of human behavior, where almost nothing is black and white. Every process, every model, every study can be challenged. Whenever we claim something is true or false, right or wrong, we must tread carefully.

So, let’s have some fun with the Performance Manager Chronicles. I will try to post a new conversation once a week.

Initial Cast of Characters

  1. HG – Consultant (Hired Gun)
  2. PM – Performance Manager
  3. PHD – Credentialed Expert
  4. LT – Learning and Talent Development Coordinator
  5. OJT – On-the-Job Trainer
  6. TC – Training Coordinator – the senior technical trainer in the company
  7. BOSS – Company President
  8. OPS – Operations Manager
  9. HR – Human Relations Manager
  10. SM – Safety Manager
  11. SME – Subject Matter Expert


Please add your comments to each blog post as you see fit.

If you have personal comments or questions for us, you may email me at

We also invite you to join our conversations related to these blogs, our Facebook group, and our LinkedIn group shown below.

Thank you.

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.

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