Yellowship Captain’s Log: Max Yoder and Better Work

It’s been a couple months since Lessonly’s inaugural user conference, Yellowship. We were all inspired to learn, lead, and be our best selves. Lessonly’s CEO, Max Yoder, also shared how great teams improve—and do better work. After sharing about psychological safety and purpose, he offered some structure and clarity about Lessonly’s Better Work Method. Here’s an excerpt from his keynote presentation:

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Max Yoder: One of the things that you’ve asked for around structure and clarity is, “When it comes to Lessonly, how do I know how I’m doing?” A lot of you run training programs and a lot of you want to help people do better work. So, we thought it was our obligation to bring you more structure and clarity around how to do just that. We’re nearly six years into this business and it’s about time we come out with a nice little method for you all.

Introducing the Better Work Method

Max: Historically, we’ve always talked about learn, practice, and perform. Now we’re taking those three ideas and we’re adding three additional steps to create the Better Work Method. I think you can apply this not just to training, but other parts of your business, and I really hope it’s helpful.

The Method starts out with an assessment. This is about taking the lay of the land in your organization. It’s not only talking to managers, but it’s also talking to frontline contributors. Ideally, if you have the right level of psychological safety, people are opening up and saying, “I’m nervous about X,” or, “I need help with Y.”
Once you get that lay of the land and bring all the information together, it’s time to figure out what metrics indicate success. This is when you move on to planning. You take all of the potential inputs—all of the potential things you can work on—and you pick one of them, and say, “Here’s how we’re going to structure this training program.” This step helps you identify whether your organization requires one or two lessons—or a lot more. It’s important to consider if the end goal includes a big behavior change that would require learning paths, a lot of practice, and instructor-like training.

Once you’ve planned, it’s time to build. This is the part where most training programs fail, as people spend way too much time in this stage. They spend six months building their ideal training program, and six months later, that info you’ve learned and assessed is irrelevant. The build stage is all about sharing before you’re ready. When it comes to sharing before you’re ready, it’s important to spend only an hour or so on the first draft of your lesson and then share it out to five other team members who are the intended recipients of it. From veterans to rookies, ask everyone what they think about the training, what’s missing, and what’s irrelevant. This process allows teams to iterate quickly and launch training within hours.

We have some clients who used to bring big production crews in to do their training program. Now, they build lessons in the airport. It should be that easy. Once you build lessons featuring practice scenarios and identify how to design instructor-led training, it’s time to start the learning phase. This is when you take the newly-built content and push it out teammates—anytime, anywhere—so they can solve problems in their moment of need.
The next step, practice, is a big, burgeoning part of our business. We also think it’s the future of team training. We also believe it’s an important way build psychological safety in a team. Think about telling somebody, “All right, here’s the new behavior change. Now go do it.” Most likely they’ll say, “I’m not ready yet. I’d like to practice. I’d like to work these muscles a little bit more before you throw me out there and make me do it live.” Practice allows team members to reinforce recently learned information and hone their skills.

Then, it’s the performance. This is when everyone is taking everything from the previous stages to deliver real-world results. Ideally, employees feel good about their work while team leaders collect data as they do perform. This data makes it easier for us to reassess and ask, “How did it go? We had a plan with specific measures. How did we do against those?” This process helps teams identify what went well and what else they need to accomplish their goals.

While some teams may want to do every part of this six-step process to develop a new training program, others simply don’t have to. It’s OK to break the rules—this method is meant to be a form of guidance. Feel freedom to break the mold and make the Method work best for your team’s training needs—that’s a key piece of doing better work!

If you’d like to take part in the Better Work Movement, we have a special assessment to get started. The Better Work Assessment allows you to go through and figure out how well you’re doing with each stage of the Method. This is just the first step of doing better work as we’re on a mission to help teams change how they work—so their people can live better lives.

Learn—and win—at Yellowship

We believe amazing results—and better work—begins with meaningful relationships. That’s why we created Yellowship. Sign up and stay updated on Yellowship 2019 to be the first in the know—and get special access to insider discounts.

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