L&D's Pivot To Performance: Episode 6 With Steve Villachica

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Published Mar 22, 2022, 12:00 AM

The aim of this series is to highlight the important shift that some L&D leaders and practitioners have made in order to more predictably and reliably affect individual and organizational performance, achieving much more as a consequence.


Dr. Villachica has consulted and worked in business, government, and non-profit settings for more than 25 years. He joined the faculty of the Department of Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning in the College of Engineering at Boise State University in 2007.


Prior to joining Boise State, Steve collaborated with colleagues and clients at DLS Group, Inc., to create large-scale performance support systems, e-learning, instructor-led training, job aids, and a host of award-winning performance improvement solutions for pharmaceutical companies, law enforcement agencies, securities companies and regulators, the Intelligence Community, and others. At Boise State, Steve teaches courses in instructional design, needs assessment, and workplace performance improvement. 


Dr. Villachica’s research interests focus on identifying and leveraging exemplary performance throughout organizations. His current research efforts investigate aspects of student readiness for the workplace.



  • Enabling people to perform in ways that contribute to achieving strategic business objectives, is not only about training. You also need to identify what is getting in their way and remove it.
  • Often, organizational stakeholders come to L&D with ill-informed requests for training.
  • Be systematic and look at things systemically.
  • Determine whether the gap is worth closing. Does it really contribute to achieving business objectives and is it worth the time and $ cost?
  • Gather organizational intelligence – find out what is keeping your clients up at night.
  • Don´t try to educate people. Instead, address their pain points
  • Each project needs adequate sponsorship. Someone who has skin in the game.
  • Interacting causes produce the performance gap. In the podcast, Steve explains how to identify the many, overlapping underlying causes, behind each issue.
  • From day one of any project, implementation needs to be a part of the process.
  • Align your efforts with strategic business objectives and keep re-aligning them as things change.
  • It is possible to launch effective projects using remotely hosted meetings. In the podcast, Steve shares the approach he and his team have found to be effective.


'If you want to address resistance, address people´s pain point, don´t try to educate them. '

'Ask what do you want people to be doing in the workplace that they´re not doing now?'

'Know the difference between what an organization says about itself and what it actually does. '

'The first step is to get in there and do the organizational intelligence work. Find out what the lay of the land is. '


The Learning And Development Podcast - https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-learning-development-podcast/id1466927523 


You can follow and contact Steve via:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/steve-villachica-96a0a69/

Website: https://www.boisestate.edu/opwl/

SUPPORTING RESOURCES: - Addison, R., Haig, C., & Kearny, L. (2009). 

Performance architecture: The art and science of improving organizations. Pfeiffer. - Chevalier, R. (2008). 

The evolution of a performance analysis job aid. Performance Improvement, 47(10), 9-18. https://doi.org/10.1002/pfi.20034 Gillum, T., & Mortenson, K. (2019). 

Performance eating rabbits: What B.O.L.D. people see and do. Outskirts. - Hale, J. (2007). 

The Performance Consultant’s Fieldbook: Tools and Techniques for Improving Organizations and People (2nd ed.). Pfeiffer. - Rosenberg, M. J. (2005). 

Beyond E-Learning: Approaches and Technologies to Enhance Organizational Knowledge, Learning, and Performance. Pfeiffer. - Rummler, G. A. (2006). 

The anatomy of performance. In J. A. Pershing (Ed.), Handbook of human performance technology: Principles, practices, and potential (3rd ed., pp. 986-1007). Pfeiffer. - Silber, K. H., & Kearny, L. (2009). 

Organizational intelligence: A guide to understanding the business of your organization for HR, training, and performance consulting. Pfeiffer. - Uday-Riley, M., & Guerra-Lopez, I. (2010). 

Process Improvement. In R. Watkins & D. Leigh (Eds.), Handbook of improving performance in the workplace: Selecting and implementing performance interventions (Vol. 2, pp. 418-437). John Wiley & Sons. - Watkins, R., & Kaufman, R. (1996). 

An update on relating needs assessment and needs analysis. Performance & Instruction, 35(10), 10-13. https://doi.org/10.1002/pfi.4170351005



David James 

David has been a People Development professional for more than 20 years, most notably as Director of Talent, Learning & OD for The Walt Disney Company across Europe, the Middle East & Africa. 

As well as being the Chief Learning Officer at 360Learning, David is a prominent writer and speaker on topics around modern and digital L&D. 


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