Imaginary conversation follows:
ID: PacMan is a good idea. [not really]. Let me ask you a couple of questions to make sure we’re going to find the best solution for you. So, you said your people are not connecting the dots and you want them to connect them, correct?
Client: Yes. We have an SOP in place with straightforward guidelines. People are not following it. Also, I’m having a huge turnover.
ID: How many dots are we talking about? I’m trying to measure where we are today.
ID: Lots. [that’s not a number]. So, if we could reduce those unconnected dots to less than lots, you would call it a successful solution?
Client: Well, if we could reduce it from lots to some, it would be excellent.
ID: Got it. And when do you want this to happen?
ID: So, we can establish the business goal to reduce the unconnected dots from lots to some by soon.
Client: Sounds good. Do you think you can build the PacMan by then? It has to be branded. And legal wants to see it frame by frame.
ID: Now, before we get to PacMan, why do you think people are not connecting the dots? What holds them back from connecting them?
Client: Does it matter?
ID: Well, the solution would be probably different, let’s say if your people don’t recognize dots, right? If they don’t know what a dot looks like, they won’t connect them. Or, if they don’t know how to connect dots, they would hesitate, right? Straight line? Color? Permanent marker? Maybe they don’t have the tools. Or, it could be that they just don’t see the point.
Client: Dots. Not points. These are dots. How long do you think the seat time will be for the PacMan? My people are busy building pyramids and I need to make sure production does not suffer.
ID: I understand, and we’re going to makes sure our solution will be the most efficient to achieve your goals. So, do you think maybe we could talk to some of your people about why they’re not connecting the dots?
Client: You mean those who are not connecting them?
ID: Yes, to inquire the reason…
Client: They’re dead. Not connecting the dots calls for capital punishment. That’s why I have a huge turnover.
ID: So, your people are aware of the consequences of not connecting the dots, they do have a pretty good incentive to do so, yet, they are still not doing it?
Client: Yes, there are two reasons why you die here. One, is not connecting the dots. Two, is asking too many questions.
ID: [oops] I think I have everything for the PacMan game.
This example is obviously a made-up story where any resemblance to real clients and L&D situations is just a mere coincidence. However, it may illustrate the potential situations where the client already knows what they want. Meanwhile, you know what they want is not what they need.
How do you handle clients who think they know what they want? Do you just build it? To prove them wrong in the long run? Do you try to convince them that what they’re asking for is not what they need? Do you just walk away from opportunities like that?
Asking the right questions may help you win over the client, and in the long run, provide a win-win situation. Digging deeper into why people are not doing what they’re supposed to be doing is essential to be able to match the problem with a solution that might actually solve the problem. Without understanding the WHY (the barrier that holds people back), those dots will not likely be ever connected.
With all seriousness, asking the right questions can save lives! Use Cathy Moore‘s action mapping or similar approach to find out why people are not connecting the dots before you jump in gamifying anything.