Jay Cross
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Divide & Conquer
Tuesday, January 04, 2005
At the ASTD Conference last year, I flippantly offered a model of everything, the Beginning-Middle-End model. Universally applicable and elegant in its simplicity, no?

I suggested that learning and development professionals often over-emphasize the middle.

We stopped for questions, and I explained that recent fixes had obsoleted the handout, but that everything would appear on this blog for reference and review. In fact, wasn't the Beginning-Middle-End model a good way to think about any learning situation?

I was surprised to find the same thinking in an article in the most recent issue of T+D. This isn't plagiarism; it's great-minds-think-alike, and I'm delighted to inhabit the same mindspace with someone I respect as much as Jack Zenger.

Jack and his associates add cost and value of each phase. This turns out like the Informal Learning Paradox; it's another case of investing most heavily where it will have the least impact. Corporate dyslexia: failing to read the handwriting on the wall.

You've heard of market segmentation? That's where you take a market and divvy it up into pieces you intend to treat differently in order to maximize your overall return. You can apply the same logic anythingwhere you can identify autonomous pieces and do different things with each.

When the processes of an enterprise are loosely coupled, management can give them differential attention. You can even outsource them. Makes one wonder about tweaking the beginning-middle-end value chain.


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