Monday, August 26, 2013

"Cool Words"

As grandparents of two boys (ages four and soon-to-be two), my wife and I have become acquainted with the television show "Yo Gabba Gabba." A regular feature is called "cool tricks," where a guest displays something they think is, well, cool! For example:

I think there are some cool words. Some I discover while reading books or the WSJ, while many are introduced to me in other ways. One word I recently came across is autodidact, which means "a person who has learned a subject without the benefit of a teacher or formal education; a self-taught person."

Until roughly 15 years ago, anyone in the field of performance measurement was autodidactic, as there were no other ways to learn our craft. In fact, there were very few written resources available, either. I recall almost 30 years ago trying to design my first performance system, scrambling to find the right formulas to employ.

Times have changed. We've seen many books on the subject of performance measurement introduced; several that The Spaulding Group has published. And, to further meet the need, 15 years ago we introduced a training program, that began with our Introduction to Performance Measurement (now Fundamentals of Performance Measurement) and Performance Attribution. These classes have since been augmented with new ones, including a week long "boot camp," a course dedicated to risk measurement, a GIPS workshop, and two courses designed specifically for the CIPM(R) program.

While there is nothing wrong with the autodidact approach to learning, it can be difficult. We have too often come across folks who learned this way, but learned the wrong things. One thing we often find interesting and rewarding is when we teach folks who have been in performance measurement for 10 years or more, but who had never before had any formal training. Like "rookies," they end up learning a great deal.

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