Little Rascals

Training 101 – What we can learn about training from the Little Rascals Reply

thZU0PW7HSA little lengthy but probably worth the read in the long run if you have been tasked with developing a “training event” by a well meaning person with absolutely no training development experience.

Just a primer for how to develop training (from an old training professional). Training can be deceptively simple. I am often reminded of an episode of the Little Rascals when I was a kid. They needed money and were sitting around scratching their heads for a solution. Suddenly Alfalfa stands up and says, “Hey, I have an idea… let’s put on a show” The show goes on in an amateurish kind of way with pieces of the set falling down around the hapless actors and the spotted dog running away with some of the props at a critical moment. Only the miracle of a generous movie director makes the thing work in the end.

The lesson from the Rascals is as old as time itself: if you fail to plan, you should plan to fail (unless you have a generous director)

My experience in industry is that we approach training much the same way as the Rascals approached putting on the show (again, without having a generous movie director to save us in the end).

Rule of thumb: Allow enough time for the training to be constructed. According to most industry professionals, new training can have a 32 – 1 development ratio (hours) and existing training modified for a new purpose typically requires a 16-1 ratio. That means for every hour of classroom time either 32 or 16 hours should be committed to having a successful outcome.

Even as lacking as some of the canned corporate training is, I would be willing to bet that training specialists spent an equivalent amount of time developing what they have in their library. As someone who developed training for a living, I can assure you of this.

Where does the time go?

Most training professionals use something similar to the ADDIE process which is a spiral of PDCA activities.

Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, Evaluation are the five steps to excellent learning outcomes.

Analysis: Creating lists and analyzing the real needs.

  • You Plan by understanding the who, what , where, when , why and how (5W and H).
  • You Do by seeing a short list of potential solutions,
  • You Check by circling back to your target audience or their sponsors and validating your assumptions,
  • You Adjust by tailoring the training to the perceived needs. A good training specialist will have tools they use to accomplish all of these steps and then the final PDCA includes a quality gate signed off by a Master Trainer

Design: Design the best method for solving the problem or gap identified in the analysis. Using the information (needs) provided during the assessment,

  • The designer Plans the design of the course. This includes creating targeted learning objectives, learning material, supporting material, classroom needs, instructor qualifications, and measurements for success.
  • They DO by actually creating the materials and preparing all support structures.
  • They Check by having a beta trial to test for effectiveness. The design phase also include future assessment activities.
  • They Adjust as needed and prepare the package for the quality gate sign off by the Master Trainer.

Development: Once the design has been approved, the materials are then developed.

  • The developer Plans  the 5W and H for the actual material development .
  • Then the developer Does ensure that all of the materials are correctly prepared and standardized.
  • The Check in this case is with the Designer and end user to check for completeness.
  • The Adjust is to make any corrections before the initial roll out once agian via the Master Trainer.

Implementation: There must be a well thought out method for implementing and delivering the training
Plan that includes input from the analysis phase. again this would include an implementation 5W and H. In the analysis phase, generic potential participants and providers are identified. In this phase, actual participants and logistics to ensure their participation are mapped out. Instructional assignments are then made and support structures put in place. If anything is not ready for this phase, document why and keep moving (an A4 problem solving will be done in the Evaluation phase).

  • The Do is simple. Role out the training.
  • The Check by using immediate feedback tools (level one evaluations) and any other evaluations recommended in the design phase.
  • Implementers Adjust between ever delivery and be ready to pull the ANDON if you have a train wreck on your hands. Even the best designs fail from time to time for a number of reasons.


  • The Plan includes evaluation check points,
  • The Do includes execution of the evaluations.
  • Check means a predetermined measurements for success or need for Adjust.

Of course, the argument is that all of this looks great but you need resources. I couldn’t agree more. But in the meantime, its always good to know that there is an actual design of learning. Its also a great way to understand why so much of industry training that doesn’t use the model fails to meet the objectives.


Mister Mac

Resources for Caregivers and Those Needing Care Reply

Resources for Caregivers and Those Needing Care.

Announcing a new page for theleansubmariner web site.

In this holiday season, people who find themselves as caregivers can face overwhelming fears and concerns. The links on this new page is a small offer of help to those in need.

Please feel free to message me with any additional links that may be useful.

Merry Christmas

Mister Mac

How a World War 2 Submarine Works Reply


Some new content including pictures from a recent visit to the Lionfish. Great boat since it is in the original configuration (did not get modified to GUPPY)

Originally posted on theleansubmariner:


I saw this video on one of the Navy Facebook pages earlier today and thought it was worth sharing.

When you think about how complex a machine submarines really are, you can understand why training and qualifications are so important. Compared to any other occupation or job I have had, none come close to creating the sense of urgency and need for exact knowledge and skills.

Mister Mac

Some new content from a recent trip to Battleship Cove in Massachusetts. The Lionfish is a great example of a Fleet Boat since it was never modified to a GUPPY Configuration.

IMG_0308IMG_0313 (2)IMG_0335IMG_0361IMG_0364IMG_0386IMG_0403

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Escape to Freedom – Submarine Escape and Rescue Reply


Some updates for 2014. Wish I was able to do the new tank in New London

Originally posted on theleansubmariner:

The Buoyant Ascent

The tower at the US Naval Submarine Base was one of the most memorable features of the Groton, Conn. Skyline. Submariners from the past who trained there will always remember that tower as one of the defining points in their submarine journey. This tower was used to prepare us for the day when leaving a perfectly good submarine may be the only way to survive to fight another day. For most of us in that age, it was indeed a right of passage that marked the point where we were no longer Sub School students to real submarine candidates.


The tower was the place where we learned the basics of escape from a disabled sunken “Boat”. For most of us that actually had to go through this test…this 125 foot tall tower built a new self confidence and courage. Not going through with this could be a…

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December 10 – The Loss of the First Sealion Reply


The attack at Pearl Harbor was barely finished when the predicted attacks in the Philippines began. In order for the Japanese empire to complete their planned establishment of a Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere, the Philippines would have to be “liberated” from the American’s influence. A casual study of that part of the world shows that the oil and food that would be needed to satisfy the growing Japanese empire could easily be obtained form the vast resources in the southern Pacific. The small Japanese islands were hardly capable of supplying the basic needs of her own people at home no less the far flung forces of its marauding armies. Like a giant hungry tiger, she was consuming as much as her army and navy could take in a furious march across the hemisphere.


The Philippines were the key to her ability to anchor her gains. These beautiful islands lay across the jugular of the Japanese lifeline and could provide food, slave labor and a launching point to repel the return of the Americans when they came to life. For now, in December 1941, the islands lay like glistening diamonds on a beach, only slightly out of reach by the American presence. The Japanese air forces would soon make short shrift of those forces. Despite warnings form the War Department, much of her air forces had been caught on the ground. This loss laid the ground and naval forces open and vulnerable to the fierce attacks to follow.

American submarines had operated in and around the Philippines for decades prior to the war, The smaller “S” boats (Sugar Boats) had deployed to the Asiatic fleet in 1924 for a two year rotation and never left. These boats had many limitations for a broader role in a full scale war but had proven their ability to operate successfully in the Asiatic theater. Year after year until 1940, squadrons of them cycled between Subic Bay through the Indonesian islands and into China. Boats of Sub Ron Five were the schools for a generation of American submariners and produced many of the men who would ultimately help to win the war.

But on December 10th, the USS Sea Lion, a Sargo class  became the first American Submarine to be lost in combat. Her story is told by Paul W. Wittmer and Charles R. Hinman, originally from:U.S. Submarine Losses World War II, NAVPERS 15,784, 1949 ISSUE

An in depth reading of the loss can also be found here:

The original Sealion would be replaced in 1943 by a submarine of the same name.

USS Sealion (SS/SSP/ASSP/APSS/LPSS-315), a Balao-class submarine, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for the sea lion, any of several large, eared seals native to the Pacific. She is sometimes referred to as Sealion II, because her first skipper, Lieutenant Commander Eli Thomas Reich, was a veteran of the first Sealion, serving on her when she was lost at the beginning of World War II.

The second Sealion more than lived up to her name participating in many of the major events of the rest of the Pacific campaign.

Earlier this year I got a chance to visit another Balao class boat that came after her: USS Lionfish in Battleship Cove near Boston Massachusetts. It is a fitting tribute to all the men who sailed on those submersible ships in a time of great concern for freedom in the world.  From the dark days of December 1941, submarines would play a pivotal role in the liberation of entire nations as well as the protection of the United States.


The lesson for the ages is the need for any nation that wishes to remain a significant force in the world to have a submarine force that is capable of projecting a world wide influence when it is needed. That force must be maintained in times of peace as well as war.

Mister Mac

By the way, some really great pictures and stories of the first Sealion SS 195 can be found over at our favorite submarine web site

The World of Polaris Reply


One of the best weekends of my life was our Perfect Scottish Weekend. We travelled the Highlands in August of 1991 and visited Newtonmore for a visit with Clan MacPherson. Then we went to Edinburgh for the world famous Tattoo. I hope you get a chance to visit it someday, it is breathtaking. Recommend that you make reservations well in advance for seats beneath the Governor’s box.

Mid way through the video clip attached you will see a Tattoo from an earlier time. The whole video takes about half an hour but for anyone interested in or having lived the Polaris story, this is a wonderful way to view the life we lived when not on the boats.


Enjoy, Aloha.

Mister Mac

The First Dive – Looking Through a Prism Reply

I have always been fascinated by prisms. As a kid, I loved looking through them at various objects to see what would happen. Without going into the science of it, what you saw as you looked through it was different depending on the angle you looked through it. Another sailor posted a picture on Facebook today that almost immediately made me think of the points of view of all the people who would have been involved in the original picture.


This picture appears to have been taken in Scotland in the Holy Loch. The base was really more of an anchorage where ballistic missile submarines (and the occasional other fast attack submarine) would come for refitting between patrols. The tender provided many services that the boat was unable to provide for itself and the floating drydock nearby would provide a means for cleaning the hull and other major repairs in a remote location.

LA and Simon Lake

The boats started patrolling fifty years ago and the ships that supported them rotated through for over thirty years except for the drydock USS Los Alamos which stayed for the entire time During those years, the dock had a number of sections changed out but on the whole, parts of it were there nearly non-stop.

As I looked at the picture, it occurred to me that I had been at one time or another one of many of the roles represented in it. Of course I sailed as a submariner then as a Docker. In my last days I served on a tender that had a long history of servicing boats. While our mission had changed by 1991, the Hunley was still configured for her original mission in many ways as well as adapting to the new ones.

Hunley 1994


What they were feeling depended on what their point of view was – their own view through a prism.

inside that boat, the sailors and officers were preparing for the first dive after refit. There are very few times in life where something so seemingly simple can be so complex. The vent valves on the ballast tank will open on command but will they close? Were the seals on the hatches cleaned and inspected before closing? What major systems were worked on during refit that might cause a problem? Did you get all of the air out of the hydraulic lines, especially the ones for the planes controls? For the older guys, a feeling of sadness knowing that it will be sixty or more days before they get to talk to a loved one again. For the new guys, its that feeling of mixed excitement at a first dive and a nagging fear that anyone one of the things listed above could go wrong. For the officer’s its that lurking Russian trawler just beyond the Clyde waiting to give them a hard time on their way to work. For the tender guys, its just another boat in a long rotation of boats with another one soon to follow. On shore, the people of Dunoon see a shadow filled with customers and men who often drank too much knowing there would be no more drinks for the months ahead. Somewhere back in the states there was an empty feeling in the homes of the families who may have wished that last phone call could have lasted a few minutes longer.

What about in the heartland?

In the heartland of America, there was nothing. Not a feeling of something special or different about to happen. Not a fear in the world that some Soviet boat might be at that very minute patrolling near their coasts. Not a streak of an ICBM over the dawn sky. Because at the heart of it all, men who sailed on that boat and worked on those tenders and docks were so very damn good at their jobs.

What is most interesting to me is the resurgence of the Russian missile forces and the growth of the Chinese. The first submarine response was necessary for the continued freedom of mankind from tyrannical forces. I hope we have not lost the learning that was achieved during the First Cold War. It appears we may need some of those lessons again.

Mister Mac

The First Thanksgiving Reply


Happy Thanksgiving to all of my readers and family. God Bless you all.

Originally posted on theleansubmariner:

The First Thanksgiving

If you are expecting a traditional story about Pilgrims and Indians, you might as well go back to your search engine and try again. This is a story about my real first Thanksgiving that occurred somewhere in the western Pacific Ocean about 150 feet below the ocean exactly forty years ago today on board the USS George Washington. More about that later. First, I need to give credit to the people who provided what honestly would had been many real opportunities for Thanksgiving if I hadn’t been the self-centered little bastard that I was up until that day in 1973.

September 1973 003

I grew up (for the most part) in a suburb near a steel making town surrounded by every bit of privilege that a person could expect in the Sixties. Our house wasn’t overwhelming but it was warm and I had my own bed, some space in a…

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We never used to have to lock our doors. 2

MacPhersons 1960's MacPhersons 1960's 2nd 011_9


Ah, the good old days.

I grew up in Elizabeth Township in Western Pennsylvania.  In sixty years I have lived all over the world and just recently returned to the area. You can hear the same story all over the country. No one used to lock their doors and people had respect for other people’s stuff. Honestly, I never had a key when I was growing up because we never needed one. You could walk the mile and a half to my grandmother’s place and walk right in also since even if the front door was locked, the doggie dog never was and you could quickly unlock the main door by sticking your hand right through it.

How did we get here?

As it was once famously said by a cartoon character “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Walt Kelly & Pogo Earth Day Poster-8x6

It starts in the home.

  • Kids are given everything and then are shocked when they grow up and have to actually work for things. Its not fair.
  • God is kicked out of school and all of our public places so we won’t offend anyone.
  • The police are disrespected and so is the law… ever drive above the speed limit with your kids in the car?
  • Family prayers are almost unheard of and attending any church is too much time away from the soccer fields and dance lessons.
  • Equal opportunity has been transformed into everyone has a right to be whatever they want to do or be whether they work for it or not. and if they don’t get it, its because some one is a bigoted racist.

From my observation of living in so many places I can tell you that Elizabeth Township is still slightly behind many areas that have much higher rampant criminal behavior. But you are catching up quickly. You can buy all the guns you want, but until you become part of the community and work on real solutions to the root cause, you will not be safe. It all starts in the home. Then we take back the public discussion and add responsibility to the idea of rights. Finally, we thoughtfully elect people who represent the values and ideals that can return the governing structure to what matters most.

This has always been a land where freedom comes with an understanding that it is not free at all if no one is willing to work for it.

Mister Mac


Surfacing Employee Engagement 1

Riding high

Years ago I belonged to a very bureaucratic organization that had multiple “business units” performing many of the same tasks on a global level. I was a member of five of these units and made some observations about how each performed. All had the exact same mission and vision statements. All had the exact same set of rules and guidelines. All were equally resourced. Yet, of the five, only one exceeded everyone’s expectation and had the highest level of engagement of any of them.

The USS San Francisco SSN 711 was a 688 class nuclear submarine and I still model it today when I work with organizations. Leadership was a key to preparing the framework for engagement but only as something that allowed engagement to occur. This was not an easy life by any means and the technical bureaucracy could be maddening. Deployments were frequent and often arduous and the unexpected nature of the assignments added to the complexity. What made this boat different form the other four was the steady and consistent encouragement from leadership for all hands to be as engaged as they wanted to be. That engagement led to opportunities and rewards that were both real and meaningful.

For some, NAVY was an acronym for “Never Again Volunteer Yourself”. I felt that sharply on my first two submarines and it showed in the lackluster performance and achievements of the boats and their crews. Don’t get me wrong. Both boats had storied histories and had achieved many things in their earlier years. The thing that seemed to be lacking during my tours on them was the leadership and sense of ownership. I rarely felt inspired to do much more than the minimum in many cases and while there were isolated pockets of excellence, it was not the norm.

To be fair… even on the San Francisco there were some guys on board who only engaged as much as they were required. But a larger share of the crew did more and contributed more than what seemed to have been in place on other similar units. I have kept track of that particular crew for over thirty years and most went on to have amazing careers in both the Navy and the civilian world. We had a large group go on to become commissioned officers and a significant number of us enjoyed full careers. Leadership must lay the foundations for engagement, but it is the people who are in that system that have to find the inner drive and determination to succeed.  This symbiotic relationship was a key driver to our success on the 711 boat.

If organizations really want to capture the benefits of having an engaged workforce, the leaders must be passionate about creating a culture where engagement is valued and rewarded in a meaningful way. Without that passion, mandated engagement is nothing more than mandatory fun that was often the case on many Navy submarines. Mandatory fun was always short lived, mocked by the crew, and rarely ever gained any real results.

Mister Mac