June 2008

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In this issue:

Experts at Your Fingertips

Ad: Orlando Conference


I Wish I’d Thought of That!

Ad: ISPI Bookstore

Principles & Practices Rolls into Denver

From the Board

Calling All Proposals for THE Performance Improvement Conference 2009

ISPI Member Spotlight

Fall Conference in Albuquerque

Tales from the Field


CPT News from Around the World

ISPI Career Center

ISPI Fall Conference Presenter Robert O. Brinkerhoff Honored

Performance Marketplace

Join ISPI Now!

Newsletter Submission Guidelines

ISPI Board of Directors

ISPI Advocates

Back Issues





Experts at Your Fingertips:
Expanding Team Boundaries

Wish you could have the most knowledgeable people on every team but there just are not enough of them to go around? Does your organization know where the experts within the company or association are located, what they specialize in, and how to engage them in a way they can contribute without impacting their other job roles? How many of them acquired their expertise over the past 30 years or more and are in the baby boomer age range, soon to retire?

IBM is an example of a company that is connecting people around the globe instantly and providing features and feedback to attract participation and enhance collaboration. In such a large, global organization, there are many people whose knowledge can benefit other teams or projects if they can be tapped at the right time. For this to work for the company and for the people involved, the experts’ assistance must produce positive business results, the time they provide must not interfere with their jobs, and the person needing their help needs to be able to easily identify them. IBM has evolved online employee directories by adding profiles and expertise linkages to overcome these obstacles and has enabled increased collaboration without the expense of staffing every team to the highest skill required to meet and exceed customer expectations. The results include elimination of former team silos, leveraging of experts across multiple teams worldwide, and feedback on the value of the time the participants have contributed.

Our first objective is to be able to outline what is involved in adding such virtual expertise to teams worldwide. What type of expertise is needed, what skill level is needed, and what is the immediacy of the assistance required? In other words, at whatever point in the project—planning, execution, problem, or crisis—the assistance would be most effective, how can the organization or association provide the support to access the experts?

As a starting point, employee skill profiles and the Internet can be utilized to answer these questions and increase collaboration. Requirements to do this include an Internet network infrastructure and online employee or member profiles. Categories in the profiles should reflect the type of expertise that will be helpful such as skills, specializations, experience, languages, and time zone where located.

Figure 1. Employee Profile

Profiling can be two types: 1) self-reporting which is self- or team regulating, and 2) management validated and systems assisted, which may include adding skills as learning is completed or is the result of testing. An evolutionary approach would be to start with a searchable employee directory with sections for categories, add self-reporting, then enhance with system functions. The collaboration itself may be as simple as selecting an expert’s profile that fits requirements and getting rapid response by tapping his or her expertise using real time chat via instant messaging with minimal disruption.

Other ways available to link to the knowledge from experts are through Web 2.0, “a term coined to describe an online world filled with user-generated content and free services,” according to Brandon Hall Research (brandonhallnews.com, 7-3-07). New Web 2.0 tools on the internal Internet provide additional access to expertise through communities, blogs, wikis, dogears, and so forth. Taken together, wikis, blogs, tagging, mashups, and other Web 2.0 options put more power into the hands of users. They allow individuals to do alone what would have required help and permission from information technology professionals, if at all possible, in the past. This unleashes individual initiative and also creates the possibility of activating communities to work together to create business value. Social network identification and analysis provide the ability to identify key individuals based on their access, reach, and hub or gatekeeper roles within the organization or community, and then utilize Web 2.0 to see what intellectual capital they have contributed within the systems. Pushing information to users by adding information on and from experts to related websites reduces the requirement to initiate a specific search to find an expert.

A recent addition to IBM’s internal systems is an “Expert and Knowledge Tracker,” which performs such a function. Feeds complete with pictures when available, based on profiles, tagging, and other Web 2.0 contributions, are inserted as sidebars on web pages when employees do any search on a topic on their internal systems. Included with the insert is an indication of the expert’s current availability for contacting based on his or her instant messaging status and profiled preferences. At the conclusion of a chat, the user and the expert can decide if the content should be saved for later reuse, thus capturing the knowledge shared.

Figure 2. Collaboration Central

Data mining tools can also be used to expand search results. A software tool from IBM Research, known as Small Blue internally (available as an offering now called Atlas with Lotus Connections), expands on the foundation of online directories, profiles, and the network for email and instant messaging to find and reach an expert. What if you wanted to mine all this information instantly to find someone who not only is knowledgeable about a subject but is connected to people you know? Having such a connection or “reach” increases the likelihood of trust on your part and timeliness from the expert in responding to your inquiries. With such a tool, multiple connection paths can be seen as well as whole social networks for experts identified by topical search.

Figure 3. Connection Paths

Viewing the expert’s social network may provide additional input for selecting the most appropriate individual for the team.

Figure 4. Social Network

Obstacles often raised to using any tools, whether as sophisticated as these or simple as the telephone, for sharing expertise across team boundaries include such issues as availability, time required, and cost recovery or credit for assistance. More is required to get buy-in and participation than just identifying a person’s knowledge level. An expert’s willingness to participate can be increased by honoring the type of contact preferred—phone or Internet (and, within the Internet, whether the expert prefers email, real-time chat, or instant messaging). Depending on the expert’s availability due to other job demands and time zone, day or evening contact may be best for reaching him or her and his or her ability to focus on the question or problem. These preferences can be captured in the system when the person fills out his or her online profile.

Program structure elements to increase management support can include credit for the expert’s time through inter-department cost recovery or other payback, shared team awards, giveback credit for mentoring, or professional certification related to the employee’s career growth. One “expert assistance” program, known as Technical Knowledge Partnering in IBM, is structured like an on-demand course with the expert’s time being charged through tuition for instruction services. Here the expert mentors the other less-experienced professionals through an actual project rather than a case study to enable them to acquire and apply the skills in a real-world situation.

Whether an organization is international in scope or more regional, certain steps are required to get started on an extended expertise program. First, lay out the design of the program to fit the requirements of the company or association. Get executive buy-in on the benefits of leveraging existing expertise internally versus buying assistance from the outside on a temporary basis or hiring more experienced personnel for a more permanent solution. The choices will depend on whether there are people on the payroll or in the membership who have the knowledge required who can be utilized better to meet business demands or whether additional resources are crucial to be competitive. If the company has a significant number of baby boomers approaching retirement, can they provide more mentoring or coaching others by identifying those baby boomers by their expertise and increasing their accessibility?

Next, analyze the company’s infrastructure to determine if there are elements in place, such as a company directory or personnel look-up system, that can be expanded to include more information on skills and experience to identify expertise. Size the cost and time that will be required to add the information and how it will be sourced as well as presented. Enlist the assistance of both the HR and the IT organizations within the company. If the company does not have an existing skills assessment program, are there plans to implement one? What other ways can the information on the employees be validated and included?

In addition, reward participation in the expertise program. If virtual teaming is viewed as just more work that could impose on employees’ ability to do their primary jobs, the response will be underwhelming. As critical as selling the executives on the benefits of the program to the business is the importance of selling the participants on the benefits to them personally, whether it is in recognition, awards, downstream workload relief, or career development. Responsiveness of the experts is key to the success of the virtual teaming!

Finally, monitor the program and publicize positive results. Whether through tracking project success or surveying participants over time, it is important to be able to show business impact to justify the investment in infrastructure and maintain enthusiasm for participation, both for the experts and the rest of the team.

Will an expertise sharing program be worth it to your organization? Greater skills will lead to greater success for your projects. Being able to identify employees who have those skills and to be able to tap the expertise when needed will help expand the organization’s utilization of its resources. Users of applications get instant help when they need it and are assured the experts they contact know the subject in question. Experts will be able to publish easily, using content from the transactions as the basis for FAQs or learning modules that can be passed on to others. Through collaboration and online capture, the knowledge can be shared before lost when senior members of an organization retire. This knowledge capture is the longer term goal that will benefit the organization beyond the immediate project at hand.

Recently retired from IBM, Marsha Frady has more than three decades’ experience in business, education, and I/S management, working with companies in all industries. She specializes in organizational change management, performance analysis, competency, and skills management. Living in Texas, Marsha combines her consulting with a rural ranch life. She received her master’s degree in sociology with extensive study in social psychology from the University of Wyoming and has done post-graduate work at the University of Houston. Marsha is also active as a guest speaker and writer for a variety of professional associations and educational organizations. She may be reached at mfrady@htcomp.net.

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2009 Conference ad

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Being able to identify employees who have those skills and to be able to tap the expertise when needed will help expand the organization’s utilization of its resources.



TrendSpotters: OPEX Strategy

During ISPI’s conference in New York City, we talked with Christian Vöelkl who heads consulting for E& E Information Consultants, AG, in Berlin, Germany , where he is responsible for client projects that arise from sales and business development activities. Chris, christian.voelkl@ee-consultants.de, is a past president of the Europe chapter, organized the conference in Berlin, and presents at the International conference. This month he contributes the Operational Excellence (OPEX) strategy to the TrendSpotters Open Toolkit.

Genesis of This Strategy
The OPEX strategy evolved from experiences and lessons learned from large international organizations with shared service centers, mostly in manufacturing. The strategy was then adapted for financial and retail companies and other types of service organizations. It is the core approach E&E Information Consultants uses to help clients turn around their support functions, such as information technology, human resources, or accounting. The OPEX strategy enables these functions to become more cost effective, higher quality business partners to their internal customer groups.

In a number of countries, the outsourcing of support functions is a current threat to organizations. The OPEX strategy has effectively mitigated such threats for E&E clients, keeping vital organizational functions close to their internal customers and providing the specialized knowledge, experience, and added value that only an internal department can.

Strategy Description
When an organization successfully implements the OPEX strategy to improve the performance of a support function, the results include a revamped structure designed like that of a revenue generating business. The new “look” includes sales and marketing, project management, process maintenance and improvement, research and development, and governance. When roles and responsibilities are aligned with this new structure, the resulting support function is more efficient, cost effective, and agile, and can fluently articulate the products and services it provides to internal customers.

For example, one of the services a human resources department provides is terminations and layoffs. In a traditional support environment, these can be time consuming and laborious to institute and challenging to deploy on short notice, such as during a merger or an acquisition. When an HR function adopts the OPEX strategy, it is able to respond more quickly to a business demand for rapid, large-scale terminations and layoffs.

Figure 1. Three Levers for Yielding Impact in the OPEX Model
©2008 E&EJCONSULTANTS is a brand of E&E Infromation Consultants AG

How to Use the Strategy
The three levers of the OPEX strategy position the core questions that drive the strategy. Client answers to the questions that follow define the components of the support function that will form the scaffolding on which to build the new, agile business structure.

What products and services does your support function provide to its internal customers? What business are you in? Client answers define feedback, quality, and price for intangible products and point the support function toward a product-driven position.

How does your support function produce and deliver products and services? What processes and information technology do you use? Client answers here help align systems and IT management to support products and services.

Who do you staff with and what skills and knowledge will they need when your support function is redesigned? The resulting organizational structure identifies individual responsibilities for outcomes and results.

Chris tells us that of the three, the answers to the “who” question typically present the biggest challenge to clients. This is common for functions accustomed to focusing on means rather than ends. They often go through a period of adjustment as they re-calibrate to a results-driven strategy that ties their services and products to the organization’s total business proposition.

The OPEX strategy is ideally used when a support function is created for the first time so that the business focus is there from the beginning. However, the strategy is highly effective for restructuring as well.

Success Story
A large international retail organization was facing the outsourcing of its human resources department to help control costs. They turned to E&E Consulting for help in avoiding this disruptive organizational change. Using the OPEX strategy as a guide, this company restructured the HR function and realized positive results within the first quarter after implementation. The “new” HR established innovative self-service access to management reporting tools that provided better data, enabling internal clients to make more informed business decisions. The change created career opportunities that had not existed previously, as well as a new career path within HR. In addition, other support groups within the enterprise were impressed with the results and wanted to use the same strategy.

Links to the Performance Technology Landscape
The OPEX strategy supports these principles of performance technology:

R Focus on Results: Begins by identifying results (the products and services produced by the support function
S Take a System view: Designs the complete business of a support function
V Add Value: Increases efficiency, quality, and flexibility
P Establish Partnerships: Support function becomes a true business partner to internal clients

Application Exercise
The OPEX strategy is highly effective as a diagnostic tool for support functions in your organization. Use the questions from the three levers to launch a needs analysis by helping your client to describe the current state. Follow with a detailed description of the desired state and move forward from there.

The power of the OPEX strategy lies in using it to align the structures of support functions with those of the other groups in the organization. When all functions share a common structure, many issues are resolved and overall results are improved.

TrendSpotters Open Toolkit
Visit the TOT to view a valuable array of tools and models that you can download for your use. In addition, you may browse all the past TrendSpotters interviews published since March 2002.

You may contact Carol Haig at carolhaig@earthlink.net or at http://home.mindspring.com/~carolhaig; and you may contact Roger Addison at roger@ispi.org.

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Christian Voekl



I Wish I’d Thought of That!

I often find myself developing the e-learning courses I design for my clients. I find that most of my clients do not have a development resource. Prior to last year, I used to use custom Flash developers to create games and more complex interactions for my courses. These could take up to a week to get a first draft and could cost me anywhere from $500 to $3,000 depending on the complexity. This meant my courses could cost the client an additional month of time when custom activities were added and quite a few more thousands of dollars.

Here Is What I Wish I’d Thought Of
Now there are two great tools that I use to add custom Flash activities to my e-learning. The first is Raptivity. You can purchase the base software which has 35 interactions, and then you can purchase additional “packs” of activities. The software allows you to customize the interactions right on your computer and output them as Flash. It is relatively easy to use if you have any background with development tools. However, I would not recommend it for non-developers.

The second tool I use is newer. It is an online activity creator by Instructional Spice called Activity Spice. With membership, I get access to all the activities available. They add new activities every month, which is nice because I can try new things all the time. You can customize and download an activity to your computer from the website. It also is relatively easy to use, and I would recommend it to non-developers.

Why I Think This Is a Great Idea
I think this is a great idea for a few reasons:

  1. It means anyone can add custom-looking Flash to their e-learning. You no longer have to know a Flash developer to get custom Flash activities for your e-learning.
  2. It will increase the interaction level in e-learning everywhere. Even novice designers and developers can start adding fun interactions to e-learning. This may be the answer for the “talking PowerPoint” phase we are currently in.
  3. The price of developing e-learning courses will go down—making it once again more prevalent in companies. We have all seen the huge increase in the number of companies that are choosing e-learning. This will likely further increase the number of courses being developed.
  4. It will raise the expectations of the learners once again. The learners used to be wowed by any e-learning course. Now, they want movement and narration and great graphics. The next expectation level will be “make it fun.”

What Is the Next Great Idea?
With so much attention on e-learning these days, and so much money being spent on it, there are plenty of companies working on coming up with the next big thing. I hope I think of it first!

Shaunda Paden is a Certified Performance Technologist, Certified Instructional Designer, and Certified Online Learning Designer who has more than 17 years of combined experience in technical writing, instructional design, e-learning development, and performance consulting. Her bachelor’s degree is in technical writing, from the University of Southwestern Louisiana and her master’s degree is in instructional and performance technology from Boise State University. Shaunda’s consulting firm, DesignComm, Inc., has helped numerous clients including Home Depot, Kimberly-Clark, IBM, AT&T, Wachovia, Cisco Systems, Fidelity, Orkin, and Infor. She may be reached at designcinc@aol.com.

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Principles & Practices Rolls into Denver:
Reserve Your Seat Today!

Have you considered attending one of ISPI’s HPT Institutes? Before you answer, consider the following questions:

  • Are you unsatisfied with the solutions training provides?
  • Have you thoroughly analyzed the performance problem before developing your training programs?
  • How do you align human resources, quality, and training departments with business?
  • What skills and tools do you need to stay competitive in this economy?

If you are struggling to answer, you must attend ISPI’s Principles and Practices of Performance Improvement Institute, a three-day educational program that will teach you the human performance technology (HPT) process and the application of performance consulting skills and tools to analyze a workplace performance problem, present solutions, and evaluate your results. From July 22–24, ISPI and our talented faculty will be in Denver, Colorado.

Attending this educational program will help optimize your organization’s investment in human capital. From day one, the knowledge gained is immediately applicable in the workplace and is designed to produce the highest return on investment for participating organizations.

Join us July 22–24, 2008, at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Denver, Colorado. For more information, visit www.ispi.org, or call us at 301.587.8570. Group registration discounts are available. Principles & Practices is also available onsite at your organization.

Embassy Suite Hotel
4444 North Havana Street
Denver, CO 80239

A special group rate of $143.00, plus tax for a king suite is available to ISPI guests until July 7, 2008. You must call the hotel directly to make your reservation. Group Code: ISPI.

Earn Graduate and Re-certification Credit!

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From the Board
2009 Awards of Excellence: One Step Away From Self-Actualization

OK, so the title is an audacious overstatement, but I am a firm believer in the “go big or go home” approach to just about everything. According to Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, “esteem” is just one rung below self-actualization. If you are reading this article, you are serious about performance, your career, your clients, and your contributions to the bottom line. Nothing boosts esteem or validates your efforts like earning recognition from your peers. Yet many of us are too modest to toot our own horn even when we probably should. Instead, let ISPI toot your horn for you. It is a sure way to increase the visibility and credibility of your HPT efforts.

The ISPI Awards of Excellence (AOE) program is designed to showcase the people, products, innovations, and organizations that represent excellence in the field of instructional or human performance technology (HPT). The recognition process is designed to be mutually beneficial to the award recipient and the Society. This is really a symbiotic relationship. ISPI helps you by recognizing your great work; you create value for your clients or organization; and, your increased visibility and credibility highlights ISPI’s relevance and role as the professional home of HPT. Together, you and ISPI make a great team.

So what is holding you back? Remember nothing ventured…nothing gained. Allow me to put an additional spin on this issue. Every recent CPT has a potential Award of Excellence submission in his or her back pocket. By definition of the criteria, a CPT has already met the requirements for an Award of Excellence at some time.

In preparation for this article, I contacted two people, Tony Moore, CPT, and Robin Taylor Roth, PhD, CQM, who know quite a lot about the current Awards of Excellence process. Tony was the 2006/2007/2008 Awards of Excellence Committee Chair and Robin is the 2008/2009 chair. They graciously provided their candid feedback on what it takes to submit a successful award package.

First, they were both insistent this is a criterion-referenced process. Meaning, it is possible for every submission to earn an award if it meets all the criteria. There are no winners or losers in the process; submissions either qualify or they do not. With that said, roughly 50% of the submissions do not qualify because they do not meet the documented standards or simply did not answer the questions.

This link—www.ispi.org/awards/2009—takes you to ISPI’s Award of Excellence submission information. In addition, below are a few more tips from Tony and Robin to help you meet the standards and submit the most concise and complete package possible.

  1. Begin with the end in mind.
    1. It is not the most noble of intentions to take on a project just to earn an award, but it is noble to increase the probability that your project will serve your client’s needs and add value to the organization. Designing your project around the AOE standards will certainly add value for your client or organization and serve as a road map for an AOE submission package.
    2. Decide upfront which of the following award categories is most appropriate for your project.
      1. Outstanding Human Performance Intervention. This category recognizes outstanding results derived from the successful application of HPT to problems, needs, or opportunities.
      2. Outstanding Human Performance Communication. This award recognizes an outstanding communication that enables individuals or organizations to achieve excellence in HPT.
      3. Outstanding Research/Student Research Award. This recognizes outstanding research in the field of HPT or a related field such as adult education, human technology, behavioral psychology, or vocational education. The research may be quantitative, qualitative, or a blend of the two.
      4. Chapter of Merit. This category celebrates the accomplishments of ISPI Chapters that have been chartered for one year or more prior to the awards nomination deadline.
    3. Download a copy of the submission application for your category and review each question in the package.
    4. Download a copy of ISPI’s 10 Standards of Performance Technology and, for each question in the application, refer to the relevant ISPI standard for the criteria the evaluators will use when judging your submission.
  2. Planning your project: For each question/criterion, incorporate specific tasks or steps into your project to ensure that you will meet all criteria.
  3. Analyzing, designing, developing, implementing, and evaluating your project: Document as you go to record what you did to meet each criteria and the results you achieved. It is much harder to remember and re-create the steps after the fact.
  4. General Advice
    1. Answer only the question being asked. Do not include unnecessary background information. Be concise, make your point, and move on.
    2. Include substantiation in your answer if you can be brief; otherwise, include substantiation in the appendixes.
    3. The evaluators are not judging the artifacts of your project. Instead they are evaluating the results. For example, the evaluators will be less interested in the training materials you developed and more focused on the improved performance that resulted from your intervention. With that said, the products and interventions you developed are important and should be included in your package, but be very concise in articulating the results achieved as a result of a particular intervention.
    4. Number your appendix pages and refer to them by page number, paragraph, or illustration number. DO NOT MAKE THE EVALUATORS HUNT. If they have to hunt, that answer will be marked incomplete.
    5. The evaluators spend hours reading these submissions. The best submissions make it easy on the evaluator by concisely and directly answering the question. Sergeant Joe Friday’s philosophy of “just the facts ma’am” is a good motto to live by as you fill out your submission application.
    6. If you are contemplating submitting an award package this year, bookmark this article so that you can refer back to it.

Finally, mentoring is listed as the last phase of the Award of Excellence process. This means that past award winners are highly encouraged to serve as mentors for first-timers working on an award submission. A list of designated mentors will be published in a later edition of PerformanceXpress. Good luck in your climb up Maslow’s ladder!

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David Hartt



2009 Conference

Calling All Proposals for THE Performance Improvement Conference 2009

It is time to consider how you will get involved at THE Performance Improvement Conference, April 19-22, 2009, in Orlando, Florida. The annual conference provides a wonderful opportunity for you to share your insights and experiences with the HPT process by presenting an educational session, Bagel Barrel, and/or a workshop.

Recently, all members should have received the Invitation to Present in the mail, which explains the process for submitting a proposal and how proposals are scored. It is also available online at www.ispi.org/AC2009. For the first time ever, the Invitation to Present has been translated into both Spanish and Korean, which are only available online. Although the proposal must be submitted in English, the conference committee felt this might make it easier to prepare a proposal for people whose first language is not English. We hope additional languages will be made available in the future.

A few changes have been made for the 2009 conference. The tracks have been changed to allow a clearer focus on a specific part of the human performance technology (HPT) process. The new tracks are:

Conference Track

Track Description

Analysis (ANL)

The process of determining the current state, the desired state, the gaps between current and desired state, and the root cause of the gaps.

Evaluation and Measurement (EAM)

The process of evaluating the degree of success of an intervention.

Instructional Interventions (INI)

The process of creating and implementing learning events that close skill and knowledge gaps.

Organizational Design Interventions (ODI)

Interventions designed and implemented to address performance gaps caused by organizational design.

Process or Tool Interventions (PTI)

Interventions designed and implemented to address performance gaps caused by systems, tools, or environment.

The Business of HPT (HPT)

The structure and application of human performance technology.

Research to Practice (RTP)

A forum for the discovery, advancement, validation, and/or application of empirically supported principles and practices to advance HPT evidence-based practices.

Another change has been made is to the scoring process for reviewing proposals. Session proposals can now earn bonus points if the plan includes:

  • An overview of the whole project prior to diving deeper into a specific part of the process
  • Real-world case studies or data
  • A high percentage of interactivity

These bonus points have been incorporated to encourage session plans that are engaging for participants, and to provide highly valuable examples of how HPT has been applied in corporate, government, educational, or nonprofit organizations. We would also like to encourage proposals for sessions that follow a different format, such as debates or panel discussions. Feel free to get creative.

A third change is incorporating translation into sessions. If you would feel more comfortable presenting in a language other than English, and you can supply your own interpreter, we urge you to submit a proposal. We would recommend that you indicate a 90-minute session on your proposal form, but plan for less time to allow for translation.

Whether you submit a proposal or not, we hope to see you in Orlando!

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ISPI Member Spotlight:
An Interview with Fran Weber

Welcome to ISPI’s Member Spotlight! This new column focuses on our members—some you may know, some you may not. Each month, we will explore what brought them to ISPI, how they use the principles of human performance technology (HPT), and their insights into the value of membership. Our first interview is with Fran Weber.

Fran, what led you into HPT?

I wanted to make a difference. I didn’t want to just have a job. I wanted to really see results. I’m an educator, a trainer, and an instructional designer, so it was a natural progression to want to see a difference in the production and materials, and to see the end result makes a difference in the business.

What brought you specifically to ISPI?

ISPI was recommended by another member. I was told it was a really great organization, and if I was going to have any credibility, I needed to join because being a member makes a difference as a professional.

How do you think ISPI differs from other organizations?

I’m really passionate about ISPI. It’s a great organization. I’ve learned so much from the workshops and the conferences. I’m hooked. Not being a part of ISPI is unimaginable because it’s so important to my professional development and networking. In my opinion, ISPI is the best of the best because the people who govern ISPI also founded the organization. They’re just phenomenal individuals who really moved the industry to where it is today. It’s critical to interact with them. During the conferences and workshops, you can talk to them and ask them personal questions about some of the things you’re working on. They’ll take the time to talk to you. They’re never too busy.

So it sounds like it is a lot about the human aspect, which should be obvious since we deal with humans, not robots, or chairs, or cars, but people. What do you feel you bring to the field, the world of HPT? The drop you add to the ocean, so to speak? Or drops?

The drops. That’s a good question. I’d say it’s a genuine desire to want to make a difference to solve problems that impact people’s work life and the business. I feel this is more than a career or a job; it’s a way of life. HPT impacts your personal life too. I find myself looking for different areas where I can make improvements and recommendations to family and friends. It’s a 24-hour kind of thing. It’s great to be able to contribute in that way. I feel I bring a lot of passion and creativity to what I do. HPT is a unique world to be a part of because you can combine many talents and leverage them. And they work in such a way that you could do it in a different field.

Do you have an example of how a principle of HPT was used outside its normal context, such as when you were working in the flower bed, changing the oil in the car, planning a party?

A personal reference?

Yes. Are there any situations outside the realm of what people normally think of as HPT, where you were able to apply the principles? Some may say “HPT is here, and over here we have something else where HPT doesn’t belong.” Have you seen opportunities where you can apply those principles and your experience to those other things?

I recently had a relative pass, and I saw a lot of opportunity to help other people in the process of preparing for and dealing with a terminally ill family member. I’ve identified ways to help others improve their preparation process, in getting ready for something that is inevitable. There’s no one resource telling us what we need to do to make that transition easier. It’s important to be ready and to have the right tools and resources.

Are you talking about—in some ways—“partitioning” the emotional from the practical, like “I need to take care of these things. Grief, yes. But things have to be taken care of.”

Sure. It’s not about the grief process. There are professionals who will help people grieve. But this is the kind of step-by-step process of actually the paperwork, the preparation. Asking the right questions when you’re getting ready to put somebody into hospice care, the preparation to becoming an executor to an estate. There’s not enough information in one place to get people ready for that entire process. Using HPT could help minimize the stress by being better organized. Having a defined process would have an enormous impact on their lives.

How everything links to one another as opposed to “Step One: done. Step Two: done…”

And the little things that people don’t think about…

…and who can think at a time like that…

You can’t. Your brain is so wrapped up in the emotional aspect that even simple thought processes become an enormous challenge. I found an opportunity to develop something that could help other people better prepare themselves using HPT. I’ve already sketched an outline of something that I want to put together, a series of templates and books.

Can you tell me in layman’s terms what performance improvement is about, and why I should be a member of ISPI?

Performance improvement really is about seeing meaningful results for your efforts. It’s not just accomplishing things, but it’s doing it more efficiently. It’s getting bigger returns on your investment. ISPI helps you organize and learn and interact with other people who are doing performance improvement in other organizations in different capacities. You get to share ideas with professionals who’ve been through something similar but they had different needs. You can say, “Well, this worked and that didn’t work or maybe you want to try this or take it in that direction,” and you have a paradigm shift because you didn’t think about it that way because you were too close to it. ISPI provides the opportunity to interact in a way that makes a difference. ISPI members are some of the best people. They’re very helpful, are so willing to share ideas, and they actually want to make a difference. I believe it’s a great organization to belong to because of that passion everyone brings to the conferences and workshops.

Well, it seems you get a lot out of it. We get a lot out of having you as a member.

I love it. I really do. I’m really excited about it. I can’t wait for the next conference. I think it’s one of the best professional organizations.

Thank you, Fran! And that was Fran Weber, member of ISPI. By the way, when did you join?

I’ve been a member for three years, and I’m from Atlanta, Georgia.

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Fran Weber



Achieving Business Results Through Performance Improvement: Connecting People, Processes, and the Organization

ISPI is bringing our Fall Conference to Albuquerque, New Mexico, September 24–27, 2008. As you know, organizations exist to deliver value to stakeholders, and value is tied to productivity driven by efficient business processes and practices that contribute to overall results. Register today for our upcoming educational program and learn more about Achieving Business Results through Performance Improvement.

Rodger Stotz Walking on the Wild (Practical) Side: Connecting HPT Tools to Results!
Rodger Stotz, CPT, VP, Managing Consultant, Maritz Inc.

Learning the basics of HPT is foundational and important. However, it is their application and the organizational results achieved that are critical for each of us in the performance improvement profession. This presentation will walk you through a journey of discovery on applying HPT tools and models to real-life situations and their impact on organizational performance. So grab your backpack, and let's see where this trail takes us!

Who Attends
The Fall Conference is limited to 150 attendees who are typically seasoned performance professionals looking for skill-building sessions that highlight the transfer of knowledge to results. Attendees work in an assortment of industry sectors and job functions:

  • Entrepreneurs and business leaders
  • Managers, directors, and VPs
  • Business and strategy consultants
  • Chief learning and Chief people officers
  • VPs and directors of human resources
  • VPs and directors of organizational development
  • Performance consultants and solutions providers
  • Human factors and Six Sigma practitioners

Visit our website for a complete schedule of the educational sessions and workshops being offered: www.ispi.org/fall2008.

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Tales from the Field:
Using the SAM for Cause Analysis in County Community and Family Services

Tales from the Field, a new monthly column, consists of reports of evidence-based performance improvement practice and advice, presented by graduate students, alumni, and faculty of Boise State University’s Instructional and Performance Technology department.

Children and Family Services is the typical social services organization found in many city, county, and state governments. Their charter is to protect a child’s welfare and to promote family and proper parenting skills. In doing so, there are times that children are removed from the home and placed into protective care homes, usually with relatives or foster parents. During this time, parental rights of visitation must be upheld according to court jurisdiction. Children must also attend all court mandated appointments. The unit of Children and Family Services that accommodates the parental visits and transportation to all court mandated appearances is the Community Worker unit.

The Performance Issue(s)
Community workers were failing to transport all involved children and parents to and from court-ordered appointments. The desired level of provided service was 100% of visits and appointments. The actual performance was 76%. Therefore, the gap was 24%. This gap manifested itself in several very real human impacts including 1) increased loads on social workers, 2) legal and morale implications for parents and children, and 3) issues of motivation and well-being that impacted both social workers and community workers.

Approach: Framing the System
The Synchronized Analysis Model (SAM; Marker, 2007) expands Gilbert’s Behavioral Engineering Model to accommodate multiple levels of environmental data. Symptoms can then be traced back between levels to locate root causes. In this situation, with multiple levels in the organization and with both internal and external impacts, the SAM provided a tool that would allow the HPT practitioner to match the identified causes to the proper level where those causes occurred in the organization. It also allowed the HPT practitioner to look beyond symptoms and map those back to where the cause started. The SAM provided a fuller understanding of systematic and systemic issues; other tools alone could not have clearly defined root cause and the environmental levels associated with them.

Analysis: Documenting the Dynamics
Collected environmental data about causes were plugged into the SAM as shown below.

Figure 1. Community Workers SAM Brainstorm


  • Creating an Electronic Performance Support System to aid scheduling.
  • Creating a confirmation process based on self-directed work team concepts to allow the community workers to adjust schedules and plan the weekly and daily activities.
  • Reengineering the current work requirements for community workers to enable them to start and stop their workdays in flexible locations.
  • Implementing a real-time statistical process control program in the social worker unit to increase:
    • Management communication
    • Worker communication
    • Continuous improvement

HPT-Grounded Advice

  • With dispersed offices and departments, perception analysis is important to ensure all views and opinions are addressed.
  • Use a well-developed data acquisition plan to ensure thorough gathering of all environmental and organizational data.
  • Other tools such as the group nominal technique and affinity diagramming add significant value to sorting though the mass of data acquired.
  • Use the SAM as a change management communication tool. It provides an organized view of all the issues that can be communicated to the organization.

Marker, A. (2007). Synchronized Analysis Model (SAM): Linking Gilbert’s Behavior Engineering Model with Environmental Analysis Models. Performance Improvement, 46(1), 26-32.

Brian Ronald is the principle advisor of Brian Ronald & Associates in Frisco, Texas. He provides hands-on performance improvement services to companies striving to achieve lasting and meaningful results. Brian received a master’s degree from Boise State. He may be reached at brian@brianronaldandassoc.com.

Anthony Marker teaches in the Instructional and Performance Technology Department at Boise State University. He investigates ways to create financially, socially, and environmentally sustainable performance solutions. Tony may be reached at anthonymarker@boisestate.edu.

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SkillCast: Learning Without Leaving Your Desk

Are you finding it a challenge to keep up, professionally? Got a stack of books and articles you keep meaning to get to? Let ISPI provide that vital professional boost with our new SkillCast series. Designed to enhance the skills and knowledge of the performance improvement professional, each month ISPI will feature the latest thinking from the experts you rely on for your continued professional development. In just an hour a month, you’ll come away with new ideas, perspectives, and tools that you can put to work immediately. Put your focus on your own results, for a change, and join us online!

2008 Schedule of Events

  • June 11, Building Expertise through Problem-Based Learning with Ruth Clark, EdD
  • July 9, Giving Away Power with Jim Hill, CPT, EdD
  • August 13, Measuring Mentoring Results with Margo Murray, CPT
  • September 10, Connecting with Tomorrow’s Workforce with Diane Gayeski, PhD
  • October 8, Seeing Organizations Through Business Glasses: Understanding Them the Way Your Clients Do with Kenneth H. Silber, CPT, PhD
  • November 12, Accelerating Speed to Proficiency with Cognitive Learning Strategies with Marty Rosenheck, CPT
  • December 10, Increasing Interactivity in Webcasts with Sivasailam “Thiagi” Thiagarajan, CPT, PhD

For more information, or to register, visit www.ispi.org/webcasts.

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CPT News from Around the World
ISPI’s 2008 Practice and Job Task Analysis Survey: Part Two

Last month this column featured the work done by Jim Pershing, CPT, PhD, and his students from Indiana University. The month continues with a report by Jim Pershing, Simone Symonette, Serdar Abaci, and Christopher Brunclik.

This is the second of a four-part report that provides results from the 2008 International Society for Performance Improvement Practice and Job Task Analysis Survey. This survey was designed to validate ISPI’s 10 Standards of Performance Technology and the criteria for earning the Certified Performance Technologist designation as well as to help ISPI provide better services.

The total number of CPTs and non-CPT ISPI members worldwide who completed the survey was 563. The first report (see the May 2008 issue of PerformanceXpress) provided descriptive data about the respondents’ demographics. In this second report, we provide findings about how frequently the respondents apply the front-end standards (ISPI CPT Standards 1 through 4) and their perceptions of the standards’ importance.

To determine how often the behaviors associated with the standards were demonstrated on the job, participants were asked to indicate how frequently they utilized each standard on a five-item Likert-type scale (5=Always, 4=Often, 3=Half the Time, 2=Seldom, and 1=Never).

Respondents’ perceptions of the importance of the performance standards in their work were measured by asking questions directly related to each standard and its criteria. Respondents indicated their view of the standards’ importance using a five-item Likert-type scale (5=Very Important, 4=Important, 3=Moderately Important, 2=Of Little Importance, and 1=Unimportant).

The following four figures provide the mean and standard deviation for each question asked on the Practice and Job Task Analysis Survey. Each figure shows the average response (mean value) to the frequency scale and reflects the average response (mean value) to the importance scale by the respondents. As you review the data for each substandard, note two factors. First, for each mean score, it is important to look at the accompanying standard deviation (SD) value. The larger the value of the standard deviation, the more variation among the respondents for the substandard. Second, for every substandard except one (Standard 3, substandard 12), the mean score for importance is larger in value than the mean score for frequency of application. This can be interpreted as the substandard being important in the practice of performance improvement but not always practiced in application.

Given the relative high mean values for both frequency and importance for all of these substandards, one can infer that this group of respondents applies and values the front-end standardsfor the CPT designation.

Note: This report does not provide data captured from the open-ended questions.

Figure 1. Standard 1: Focus on Outcomes

Figure 2. Standard 2: Take a Systems View

Figure 3. Standard 3: Add Value

Figure 4. Standard 4: Work in Partnership with Clients and Other Specialists

Next month’s issue will describe how frequently we apply the standards related to the systematic process, and how important we think they are.

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CPT logo



ISPI Career Center

The International Society for Performance Improvement’s Career Center will revolutionize how you search for jobs and source candidates! Our new job board, powered by career services leader JobTarget, makes it easier than ever for ISPI members to enhance their careers and stay connected within the performance improvement community.

ISPI’s employment marketplace distinguishes itself from generalist job boards in a number of ways:

  • A highly targeted focus on employment opportunities in a certain sector, location, or demographic
  • Anonymous resume posting and job application—enabling job candidates to stay connected to the employment market while maintaining full control over their confidential information
  • An advanced job alert system that notifies candidates of new opportunities matching their own pre-selected criteria
  • Access to industry-specific jobs—and top-quality candidates—often not seen on Monster, CareerBuilder, or HotJobs

Below you will find the most recent job postings added to ISPI’s Career Center:

Job Location: McClean, Virginia and Chicago, Illinois
Job Type: Full Time

Holy Name Hospital
VP of Quality Improvement
Job Location: Teaneck, New Jersey
Job Type: Full Time

Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
Sr. Learning & Organizational Development Trainer
Job Location: San Francisco, California
Job Type: Full Time

Ernst & Young
Organizational Development/Development Consultant
Job Location: Washington, DC
Job Type: Full Time

Wyeth Consumer Healthcare
Instructional Technical Developer/Coordinator
Job Location: Madison, New Jersey
Job Type: Full Time

Access the ISPI Career Center to begin your search TODAY! Once there, you can immediately post your resume or a job opening. For additional information, please contact Francis George at ISPI at 301.587.8570, ext. 110.

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ISPI logo



ISPI Fall Conference Presenter Robert O. Brinkerhoff Honored for Exceptional Contribution to Workplace Learning and Performance

Dr. Robert O. Brinkerhoff, author of The Success Case Method, High Impact Learning, Telling Training’s Story, and Courageous Training, and Advantage Performance Group consultant, has been selected as this year’s recipient of the Distinguished Contribution to Workplace Learning and Performance award, by the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD).

Since 1986, ASTD has awarded the Distinguished Contribution to Workplace Learning and Performance prize to one individual a year in recognition of exceptional contribution of sustained impact on the field of workplace learning and performance. Past recipients include Jack Phillips, Roger Kaufman, Ken Blanchard, Peter Senge, and Peter Block.

“It’s truly an honor to be placed in the company of such great learning achievers,” said Brinkerhoff. “We’ve reached a point in the history of learning and development where we are expecting and getting much greater impact from our initiatives.”

To congratulate Brinkerhoff in person, register today to attend his one-day workshop, Driving and Measuring Individual and Business Performance Results from Training: The High Impact Learning Approach, or attend his session during ISPI’s Achieving Business Results through Performance Improvement: Connecting People, Processes, and the Organization Fall Conference, September 24-27, 2008 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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Robert Brinkerhoff




Performance Marketplace

Performance Marketplace is a convenient way to exchange information of interest to the performance improvement community. Take a few moments each month to scan the listings for important new events, publications, services, and employment opportunities. To post information for our readers, contact ISPI Director of Marketing, Keith Pew at keithp@ispi.org or 301.587.8570.

Online Performance Improvement Bookstore. ISPI and John Wiley & Sons have partnered to offer professionals in the field the best selection of performance improvement resources. ISPI members save 15% on all book purchases (professional and personal)!

Career Resources
ISPI Online Career Center is your source for performance improvement employment. Search listings and manage your resume and job applications online.

Conferences, Seminars, and Workshops
Online Anytime: The Course Developer Workshop Online 24/7. Darryl L. Sink & Associates, Inc. Register online at www.dsink.com, or call Jane at 800.650.7465.

Learn the Principles & Practices of Performance Improvement, July 22-24, in Denver, CO. Take your organization to the next level. Register today!


Learning/Training Tools
At SSE, we improve business and human performance through technology and education solutions. Built on the basis that integrity and quality are the foundation of every action and interaction, SSE values: innovation, facilitation, teamwork, excellence, and client focused partnerships.  Learn more: 314.439.4700 or info@SSEinc.com.

Magazines, Newsletters, and Journals
Performance Improvement journal is available to subscribers in print and online through John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Click here to order your subscription today.

Performance Improvement Quarterly is a peer-reviewed journal created to stimulate professional discussion in the field and to advance the discipline of HPT through literature reviews, experimental studies with a scholarly base, and case studies. Discounted to ISPI members. 

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ISPI Membership: Join or Renew Today!

Are you working to improve workplace performance? Then ISPI membership is your key to professional development through education, certification, networking, and professional affinity programs.

If you are already a member, we thank you for your support. If you have been considering membership or are about to renew, there is no better time to join ISPI. To apply for membership or renew, simply click here.

Newsletter Submission Guidelines

ISPI is looking for Human Performance Technology (HPT) articles (approximately 500 words and not previously published) for PerformanceXpress that bridge the gap from research to practice (please, no product or service promotion is permitted). Below are a few examples of the article formats that can be used:

  • Short “I wish I had thought of that” articles
  • Practical application articles
  • The application of HPT
  • Success stories

In addition to the article, please include a short bio (2–3 lines) and a contact email address. All submissions should be sent to april@ispi.org. Each article will be reviewed by one of ISPI’s on-staff HPT experts, and the author will be contacted if it is accepted for publication. If you have any further questions, please contact april@ispi.org.

About PerformanceXpress

Feel free to forward ISPI’s PerformanceXpress newsletter to your colleagues or anyone you think may benefit from the information. If you are reading someone else’s PerformanceXpress, send your complete contact information to april@ispi.org, and you will be added to the PerformanceXpress emailing list.

PerformanceXpress is an ISPI member benefit designed to build community, stimulate discussion, and keep you informed of the Society’s activities and events. This newsletter is published monthly and will be emailed to you at the beginning of each month.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact April Davis at april@ispi.org.

1400 Spring Street, Suite 260
Silver Spring, MD 20910 USA
Phone: 301.587.8570
Fax: 301.587.8573


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