JLTalley & Associates


This a list of the courses I have developed based on both my academic background as well as the innumerable lessons from over 450 client engagements. They are typically delivered over Zoom either to an internal OD team or a collection of interested individuals. They usually run over 3 to 8 weeks.

Advanced Problem Solving

Most problem solving today focuses on finding solutions without thoroughly understanding the core elements of the problem. We look for an OTS package, an industry best practice, or jump too soon to brainstorming. The solution we seek is embedded in the nuance and complexity of the problem, if we can keep focus on the reality of the situation. And 40 years of working with organizations has taught me that there are actually 6 different types of problems... but only 6! And each type requires its own path of investigation, and each has its own unique outline for a solution. Presuming the wrong problem type usually leads to a flawed intervention. The quickest step of a solution is clarity what type of problem we are facing and then structuring a collaborative exploration structured by that type.

AUDIENCE: This is designed for anyone who spends much of their time trying to understand and address inordinately complex problems.

Work Process Design

Most companies organize work with the organizational chart and the job definition. So work is carved into such small pieces that it loses any meaning and it is hard to integrate effort across the enterprise. Value chain maps and flow charts only exacerbate the problem, bypassing the worker in favor of cryptic graphics intelligible to only a few. Designing and managing work is best done in an ongoing dialogue among the front line workers. The role of executives, managers, and QC/QA professionals is to guide and facilitate that conversation. This approach creates a smooth transition between strategic planning, process improvement, and everyday work efforts.

Students will learn the 4 types of work and how each one has its own profile and rules for effectiveness. They will learn a template for characterizing work to replace flow charts or detailed procedures. This approach affords greater effectiveness in work design, training, and documentation.

Students will learn how to design a process review mechanism that goes beyond dashboards and actually reduces error while engaging staff more intimately in the work. This also redefines the role of management and supervision throughout the organization.

AUDIENCE: This is designed for anyone involved the review, enhancement, and integration of work (managers, QC and QA departments, consultants, etc.).

Organizational Assessment

A thorough assessment should be the start of every training / coaching / consulting engagement. But assessments can easily go sour. Executives can be reluctant to act. Employees feel exposed rather than engaged. Those closest to the real problem become defensive rather than curious. Leadership feels overwhelmed by new issues.

In this course you will learn an assessment strategy that ensures the data is used and employees feel safe and involved. You will learn a "map" for an organization, so you can be confident you have looked in all the right corners. You will learn numerous assessment techniques, with special attention on interviews, focus groups and employee surveys. You will learn 5 new survey strategies that increase the power of your assessment.

AUDIENCE: Thiis is intended for OD consultants, trainers, or HR strategic partners who need confidence and clarity about an organizational challenge before committing resources and deploying new strategies. It obviously includes some of the material covered in the shorter tutorials.

The Art, Science, and Politics of Employee Surveys

Surveys are one of the most commonly used – and most commonly misused – tools for securing input from course attendees, employees, teams, or customers. Survey work is widely misunderstood as a data collection exercise. It is really a decision process. The most critical issue is not “What do you want to ask?”, but rather “What decisions do you hope to make with the data?”. The design of the survey and the analysis of the data is all oriented around the decisions to be made.

For the organizational development consultant, surveys are a way to unravel complex challenges as well as a way to engage staff in needed changes. But too often the typical employee survey produces an avalanche of data and charts, but little in the way of focus or clarity. We inundate people with mean scores and chase after the lowest scores, or which scores fall below some arbitrary benchmark. The real value of the data is in identifying links between questions. The lowest scores may not reflect the most important issues.

AUDIENCE: This course is for anyone who frequently needs to design and administer employee surveys. I would presume you have a software platform (such as SurveyMonkey) for administration as well as a basic understanding of descriptive statistics.

Process Improvement

The original intent of process improvement was to empower the front line worker, leveraging their greater intimacy with work. Oftentimes they have dramaticallly more experience with execution their the supervisors who ostensibly leads them. But today the field is dominated by software suites that offer greater executive monitoring and the promise of automating work flows. The approach of this course is to step back and characterize a work process in its fullest form; detailed procedures are the least important and hopefully the most fluid aspect of process work. Constraining workers through more rigorous monitoring or replacing them with software should be the least of our strategies for process improvement.

This course focuses on the strategic anchors for work in the definitions of quality, the required inputs, the enabling resources, and even the desired emotional result of work.

AUDIENCE: This course is targeted to people trying to improve work effectiveness and efficiency, such as OD consultants, QA or QC staff, and innovative managers.


Copyright © 2020 Jerry L. Talley
Rancho Cordova, California
(650) 967-1444