September 2008

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In this issue:

Evaluation as an Integral Management Tool

Ad: Boise State


HPT Practitioner Video Podcast Contest

Ad: THE Performance Conference 2009

From the Board

ISPI Remembers Frank T. Wydra, II

University Case Study Competition

Performance Appraisals—Can They Really Be “Stress-Free”?

It Is Your Turn: Call for Articles

Shaping ISPI’s Future

ISPI Member Spotlight

Call for Applications: Dissertation Award

Tales from the Field

Connecting People, Processes, and the Organization

CPT News from Around the World

ISPI’s Career Center

SkillCast Webinars

Performance Marketplace

Join ISPI Now!

Newsletter Submission Guidelines

ISPI Board of Directors

ISPI Advocates

Back Issues




Evaluation as an Integral Management Tool

by Ingrid Guerra-López, PhD

In our daily lives, we encounter decision points on an almost continuous basis: Should I go right or left? Should I take the highway or the backstreets? Should I buy now or later? Should I take my umbrella today or not? Organizational settings are no different; we are continuously faced with decisions about what initiatives to sustain, which to modify and how, and which to abandon altogether, to name but a few organizational dilemmas. How do management and other stakeholders go about making sound and justifiable decisions? With the use of timely, relevant, reliable, and valid feedback, obtained through a sound evaluation process that is aligned with desired, long-term outcomes.

Unfortunately, these data are not always available, and if they are, many decision makers either do not even think to look for them, do not know these exist, do not have access to them, or do not know how to interpret and use them to make sound decisions that lead to improved performance. Effective managers are capable of making intelligent decisions based on sound data, and evaluation can do much to influence the leadership decision-making process. Evaluation provides a systematic framework that aligns stakeholder expectations, organizational results, and all evaluation activities, so that evaluation contributions are responsive and provide a clear and actionable recipe for improving performance. In essence, evaluation is the mechanism that provides intelligence to decision makers.

This is the context for my latest publication, Performance Evaluation: Proven Approaches for Improving Program and Organizational Performance (2008; Jossey-Bass). This book bridges the gap between theory and practice. It illustrates the various models in accessible terms, explores the research evidence behind each, explains how each model looks in practice, and shows how each approach can be tailored for specific evaluations.

Designed to be comprehensive, the book highlights five key evaluation models:

  • Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels
  • Phillips’ ROI
  • Brinkerhoff’s Case Success Method
  • Stufflebeam’s CIPP
  • Guerra-López’s Impact Evaluation Process

This book is a hands-on text for practitioners, researchers, educators, and students on how to use empirically-based evaluations that are both rigorous and flexible. It presents the most applicable models for the performance improvement field and offers a wide variety of tools and techniques that have proven successful, all organized to illustrate evaluation in the context of continual performance improvement.

Ingrid J. Guerra-López, PhD, is an associate professor at Wayne State University, director of the Institute for Learning and Performance Improvement, associate research professor at the Sonora Institute of Technology in Mexico, and principal of Intelligence Gathering Systems. She consults nationally and throughout Latin America in the areas of performance management and improvement through evaluation and tracking. Ingrid may be reached at

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Boise State ad

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Evaluation provides a systematic framework that aligns stakeholder expectations, organizational results, and all evaluation activities, so that evaluation contributions are responsive and provide a clear and actionable recipe for improving performance.



TrendSpotters: Things That Work…

by Carol Haig, CPT, and Roger Addison, CPT, EdD

We are delighted to welcome Jeanne Farrington, CPT, EdD, to TrendSpotters. Jeanne,, is president of J. Farrington Consulting, which provides strategic training, organization development, and performance consulting services for companies of all sizes. Jeanne is the immediate past president of ISPI where she has been an active member and regular presenter for many years. Jeanne contributes her Things That Work model to the TrendSpotters Open Toolkit (TOT) this month.

Genesis of the Model

The Things That Work model evolved from several events. One was an ISPI discussion about the value of evidence-based practice. Another was an ISPI conference presentation that Jeanne and Richard Clark gave about the dangers of using “snake oil” solutions to address performance problems. Other ISPI presentations, such as Harold Stolovitchís Hit or Myth sessions, explored performance improvement solutions—commonly believed to be effective—that were actually “myths.” While participants appreciated the distinctions between research-based, proven solutions and others that are widely used but are snake oil or myth, they were reluctant to wade through reams of research to substantiate every possible solution that may be recommended. And, they were not aware of the categories of solutions that lie between snake oil and research.

Jeanne realized that we all could use some guidance to determine if a proposed solution would actually produce the results that we said it would. In 2001, she developed Things That Work to help performance improvement specialists answer the question, “What makes me think that this solution will work?”

Things That Work Description

A “thing” is an aim, act, or product. In the Things That Work model, “thing” refers to what we use to solve problems and produce desired results. However, not all “things” are created equal. They may work most of the time, sometimes, or not at all. Things That Work is a taxonomy that provides four “Categories of Things” and their identifying descriptions arranged according to how likely they are to solve a well-defined problem. The descriptions of the Things and the accompanying “Examples,” along with the probabilities of success provided in “Some Potential Results,” enable users to categorize a potential solution and determine the rigor of research or investigation needed.

How to Use the Model

Remember that technology is a combination of applied science and knowledge, so performance technology solutions require varying degrees of rigor to determine if they will succeed. It is most important to have evidence that the solution we propose will work, whether that evidence is research-based, if it comes from a knowledgeable colleague who has used the solution successfully for years, or if we have some solid reasons to try something new.

Think of Things That Work as a table of evidence to support your proposed solution and add it to your selection criteria for solutions. Follow these guidelines:

  • Avoid any solution that has already been shown not to work as intended; it is Snake Oil
  • Proceed with any solution that is a Hunch or comes from Intuition by acknowledging it as a Hypotheses and being prepared to try something else if it doesnít work
  • Recognize any Respected Practice solution as one that has worked many times, although we donít know exactly why it succeeds
  • Recommend any Research-Based solution with confidence because there is significant research to say that it will work

Success Story

Several years ago, ISPI convened a Think-Tank to work through a number of issues facing the society and HPT. Jeanne used Things That Work to help participants classify things that we do in performance improvement and to realize that, while an ISPI benefit is using research as part of our experience, much of what we know and have used to help clients solve performance problems are Respected Practices and Intuition, Hunches, Tests, and Hypotheses.

Jeanne also used Things That Work to select the Masters speakers for the 2008 conference in New York. If you attended, you know what an excellent group they were.

Advice to Users of Things That Work

This model presents an opportunity to access our ISPI networks as we determine how to categorize potential performance improvement solutions. We can contact individual members for their experience with a particular solution. Or, we can post a question to a discussion group on HPT Connections. We can even search past issues of ISPI publications for articles related to the solution we are considering, to learn from the experiences of our colleagues.

Links to the Performance Technology Landscape

The Things That Work model supports these principles of performance technology:


Focus on Results: Ensures that the selected solution(s) will provide the desired results


Take a System view: Adds a tool to the systematic process for finding the best solution


Add Value:Makes certain that we are not offering Snake Oil to our customers


Establish Partnerships: Connect with colleagues to hear their experiences and recommendations about a particular solution

Application Exercise

For your next article, presentation, or project, use Things That Work to determine what evidence you have that a solution you propose will be effective. Be sure to identify which Category applies to your solution. Do some investigating, connect with other ISPIers, and make sure the solution has a good chance for success.

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.

Carol may be contacted at or; Roger may be contacted at

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Jeanne Farrington



Check Out the 2008 HPT Practitioner Video Podcast Contest Entries!

by Guy W. Wallace, CPT

The ISPI Board of Directors is inviting anyone and everyone, ISPI members and non-members, to join in and produce, and then post their own mini-movies of themselves or others talking about human performance technology (HPT). There is a simple six-point script everyone is following for this year’s contest:

  1. My name is…
  2. My occupation is…
  3. I first got involved in HPT…
  4. My greatest HPT influences (people, books/articles, etc.) include…
  5. An interesting HPT application I was involved in was …
  6. An HPT term that I would like to define is…
  7. Think YouTube on HPT—with HPT practitioners—for recognition and prizes and fun!

Joe Harless agreed to be one of the first. Just like with HPT itself! See his podcast via the link below.

It is all happening on “HPT Connections”—an ISPI website hosting a social network and HPT content. For instructions and tips for creating and posting your own video podcasts, use the pull-down menu labeled “More In This Group” and get on with it! Sign up as a group member (select the “Join Group” icon) to keep informed as additional podcasts are added. Or, you can click on the “Subscribe” option.

The “contest” part? There will be three prizes in each of the following categories:

  1. Best HPT Application Story
  2. Best HPT Term Definition
  3. Best/Most Creative Video Podcast Production

The prizes are: a conference registration (1st place), free membership (2nd place), and a copy of the 3rd edition of the HPT Handbook (3rd place). First, second, and third place will be awarded for each category.

So create your video podcasts—and add them per the instructions at HPT Connections—and share with all of us! The deadline for submissions is December 31, 2008. The HPT practitioner podcasts are at HPT Connections at

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From the Board
Online Communities Part II: “In Synch”

by Timm Esque, CPT, ISPI Director

Just ten months ago when I wrote Part I for this column, an ISPI online community was just a gleam in the Boardís collective eye. Those nine months have gone by extremely fast (like on Internet time), but a lot has been accomplished. What began as the Wiki Task Force and later became the Online Community Implementation Task Force has evolved into the Online Community Governance Committee. Do not get too concerned about that G-word. The committee exists mostly to help stimulate the organic growth of a robust online HPT community—a natural but enhanced extension of the live HPT community, but more continuous and accessible.

If you have not already been to HPT Connections at, you really should check it out. As of the end of July, there were about 550 community participants, 68% of which are ISPI members, 7% of which live outside the United States and Canada, and 23% of which have provided photos, which makes it all the more fun to search or browse. Thanks to the brainstorm of Guy Wallace, you will also find more than 20 videos (podcasts) featuring people you might want to learn a little more about. But that is not all. The videos are part of a contest with valuable prizes (like a free conference registration), and you can still participate by submitting videos until December 31. Are you feeling stimulated to get online or create your own HPT podcast yet?

The OCG Committee started up after the conference and has been diligently doing what new committees do—getting organized and developing a plan, in this case while keeping the online community up and running at the same time. The fun part of stimulating growth, activity, and productivity will begin this fall. But the committee will need your help. Your job, as members of the HPT community, is to be…well… stimulated. This, we suspect, is easier said than done.

Most of us do not need to social network to survive and thrive in this world…yet. There are a number of high-tech companies out there betting that this is going to change of, course, and that is why we are all being bombarded with invitations to the various competing social networking sites. All of which is very old news for users of Myspace and Facebook (and the early adopters of the more business-oriented networks).

One of the reasons I think social networking is taking a while to be fully utilized (in general, I mean) is because social networking is still more technical than social. One of things we expected to happen more on HPT Connections was asynchronous collaboration—people working together to get things done from different locations at different times. Several of the HPT Connections groups I belong to have experimented with this. Most of the time, though, not much happens until we call a meeting. There seems to be a need or a desire to get things done “in synch.” I suspect part of this is preferring the social interaction and the comfort of the old way, part of it is the social pressure of showing up to a meeting because we said we would, and part of it is that we have not figured out how to make it easier to get things done with the technology yet. We have not turned the web 2.0 toy into a web 2.0 tool. As I mentioned in Part I, I think web 2.0 will eventually be largely about getting things done, with more and more being done “out of synch.” As a society of performance experts, I think we should be interested in that.

There are also behind-the-scenes changes going on at the ISPI website that will start to become more visible later this fall and leading up to the conference in Orlando. The Board approved funding to upgrade ISPIís online infrastructure this spring. In addition to increasing system reliability, the new infrastructure and software fully integrate the database parts with the website parts, allowing for a lot of new functionality with a lot less grunt work (sorry for getting technical on you).

Currently, HPT Connections sits on a platform separate from the ISPI website, but the new software includes social networking functionality so the OCG Committee and the staff will be working together to evaluate and, most likely, transition HPT Connections onto the newly enhanced platform.

All of this is going to take a fair amount of work, so I would like to acknowledge the committee and staff members who are making this all happen. Brian Grant, the chair of the OCG Committee, is the one who has turned HPT Connections into a reality with lots of excellent support from Craig Grimm on the ISPI staff. They will be the first to tell you that it would not have happened without others who helped get things started or will be helping as committee or subcommittee members going forward (in alphabetical order): Matt Alexander, Stefanie Chrisman,Verity Dimock, Sharon Gander, Janet Gregory, Donna Khanvali, Marcy Paino, Cynthia Renner, Guy Wallace, and Stephanie Wawrykowicz (deputy chair). Of course, the best acknowledgment of all would be for you to be stimulated, and participate in the online community.

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Tim Esque



“No Regrets, chin up!” ISPI Remembers Longtime Member Frank T. Wydra, II

On August 2, 2008
, ISPI lost a longtime member, friend, and colleague. I distinctly remember receiving an email on April 14 from his daughter Sheri asking for stories about her dad to compile a book so his grandkids could “see who he is”. In a follow-up message, she explained he had inoperable cancer and shared with us her dadís inspiring words, “No Regrets, chin up!” Wow, the impact for four words. I found the following on I think this provides a better remembrance than I could compile.

Frank T. Wydra, distracted by the messy necessity of earning his keep, came late to the writing-for-pay game. Work took him down many paths from helping to launch the aborted invasion of Cuba to managing a grocery store to becoming a vice-president of a NYSE company at age 32 to becoming Chief Executive Officer of a large health care concern and then his own national consulting company. Yet, in the adolescence of his career, he managed to write a classic textbook on learning and published 50 or so professional articles.

Prior to devoting full time to writing, Frank was a business executive who understood the bottom line. He spent 35 years as a corporate officer dealing with both business and human resource issues. He was the managing partner of IRI, Consultants To Management, Inc., a management consulting firm specializing in human performance issues, and served as Executive Vice-President, The Chi Group, Inc., President, Radius Health Care, Inc., Senior Vice-President, HGH Health System and Vice-President Personnel and Training, Allied Supermarkets, Inc.

His areas of specialization included human resource strategic planning, financial analysis, change management, organizational development, reward and performance systems, training and labor relations. Frank was the developer of the concept of Human Resource Architecture® , an aid to understanding the forces influencing organizational change and has performed numerous assignments in assisting organizations in their change effort.

Frank Wydra had a BS degree in Management from the University of Illinois and was author of Learner Controlled Instruction, Performulations (a management game) and Power and Authority, numerous articles on management and human resource issues as well as his literary work.

Memorials may be made to Hospice of Michigan. You may also find an online guestbook at

“No Regrets, chin up!” Thank you Frank for your many contributions to our field profession!

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Frank Wydra



2009 Conference Committee Announces Inaugural University Case Study Competition

by Dawn Papaila, CPT

Teams of graduate students in human performance technology (HPT) and instructional systems technology (IST) will compete in ISPIís inaugural Case Study Competition at THE Performance Improvement Conference in Orlando. The competition will provide a connection between ISPI and future HPT practitioners as well as offer valuable real-world experience for students studying HPT and IST. The competition will launch in January 2009 and continue until the conference begins April 19, where each team will showcase its presentation.

Each team will consist of up to four graduate students currently enrolled in an HPT or IST program. Participants will access a dynamic web portal containing an authentic business case, a list of deliverables, and templates for their submissions.

A panel of expert judges will review the submissions from each team using evaluation criteria that includes the ISPI 10 Standards of Performance Technology. In addition to their written submissions, each team will present a proposal and answer questions from the judging panel at the 2009 conference during a concurrent session. The panel of judges will select the best case submission and the winning team will be announced during the closing session. This yearís judges include:

  • Clare Carey, CPT, EdD
  • Charline Wells, CPT
  • Catherine Brown
  • Klaus Wittkuhn, CPT
  • Darryl Sink, EdD
  • Sivasailam “Thiagi” Thiagarajan, CPT, PhD

Participating team members will be provided free registration to the THE Performance Improvement Conference 2009. Prizes will be announced in a later issue of PerformanceXpress.

If you are interested in learning more about the 2009 ISPI Case Study Competition, please contact Dawn Papaila at

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Performance Appraisals—Can They Really Be “Stress-Free”?

by Sharon Armstrong

Performance appraisals are one of the most important responsibilities of a supervisor…and one of the most dreaded!

Why? Perhaps the better question is “What can we do to remove the ‘dread’ factor?” One way is to identify the five most important tips and make sure all your managers get a copy.

Tip #1: Take Time to Prepare

Start by familiarizing yourself with the form and the ratings. Think about the goals each employee has been working on, the employeeís strengths, and the employeeís areas for development. Pull out all the examples and observations you have collected throughout the review period and add them to the appraisal form to support your ratings.

Plan your discussion in detail—not just compliments, but also areas for improvement.

Then, schedule the meeting and plan enough time for a thorough discussion. Select a time when you and the employee are not under pressure.

Tip #2: Start the Meeting in a Positive Way

Always conduct a warm-up and try to put the employee at ease. Stress the routine nature of the appraisal process and tell the employee you have many positive things to say (if that is true).

Outline what you want to cover and in what order. Let the employees know he or she will have a chance to raise issues and be an active participant in the meeting.

Explain that appraisals are designed to help the employee know how he or she is doing. Make sure you are on the same track in terms of realistic goals and priorities.

Provide a forum for problem resolution and feedback to help the employee succeed.

Tip #3: Plan the Discussion in Detail

Start with the positives. Say things like “Youíve made important contributions this year.” “Iím impressed by your performance on ______.” “Youíve been more conscientious about ______.” “I was pleased to see ______.”

Work your way through each section of the form; use it as a tool for facilitating discussion.

Review significant accomplishments and give praise and credit (nothing is more stimulating or motivating).

Ask open-ended questions to get a general reaction. Many start with “How do you think things have been going” “Do these ratings seem fair?” “What would you do differently?”

Consider asking other questions to facilitate discussion: What did I do for you in the last six months that really helped your performance? What hindered your performance? What can I do in the next six months to help you? What do you want most from your job? Under what conditions do you do your best work? How would you like to receive suggestions for improving your work? How can I help you reach your career goals? What inhibits your best work?

Discuss areas where the performance falls short, with specific examples. “I was concerned about ______.” Focus criticisms on performance, not personality characteristics.

Do not discuss areas for improvement in a way that will seriously disturb a good employee. The net result is to be encouraging. Identify specific actions the employee can take to improve performance. Ask for the employeeís suggestions.

Work for understanding rather than complete agreement. You can agree to disagree.

Tip #4: Close the Meeting in a Positive Way

It is just as important to end the meeting in a professional and positive manner, as it was to start the meeting that way. You want the employee to leave the discussion with a positive impression of the process.

Ask the employee to summarize what was discussed.

If the employee introduced issues that would make you consider changing his or her evaluation, apologize for your oversight and tell employee you would like a few days to consider how this information might affect your evaluation.

Settle on a plan for the future. It is important to let the employee have input. Write goals together. Make them measurable and challenging, but achievable.

Offer your help. Express confidence that the two of you can successfully work through any issues.

Think about training, skills development, opportunities, or added responsibilities.

Ask the employee to add any last thoughts or questions and to share his or her reaction to the performance appraisal meeting (“What has been learned?” “Surprises?” “Was it fair?” “Your general reaction?” “If you have more reaction later, my door is open.”).

If the employee disagrees with any points brought out, let him or her know he or she has the response options offered by your organization.

Share your ideas on where the department is headed. Employees want to be in the loop.

Close on a friendly note. Let the employee know he or she is part of the team and that his or her performance matters to the company and the department.

Both you and the employee need to sign and date form. Explain that signing the form merely indicates that the form has been discussed with him or her and indicates the date of the appraisal discussion.

Tell the employee you will continue to give feedback throughout the year.

Tip #5: Remember Your Follow-up Responsibilities

Follow up on commitments you have made for support, training, and the like.

Begin observations for the next performance discussion with employees and record them.

Following these simple steps will eliminate the stress and uncertainty usually associated with performance appraisals. Now your managers can start to focus on making the performance appraisal a powerful management tool.

Sharon Armstrong has over 20 years of experience as a human resources consultant, trainer, and career counselor. Since launching her own consulting business in 1998, Sharon Armstrong and Associates, she has consulted with many large corporations and small businesses. She has facilitated training, completed HR projects, and provided career transition services for a wide variety of clients in the profit and nonprofit sectors. Her first business book, Stress-Free Performance Appraisals—Turn Your Most Painful Management Duty into a Powerful Motivational Tool was published by Career Press in July 2003. The Essential HR Handbook—A Quick and Handy Guide for Any Manager or HR Professional was published in August 2008. Sharon may be reached at

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You can join Sharon and her colleague Marshall Brown at ISPIís Career Center in Orlando for a free professional development workshop or a one-on-one session. Look for details coming soon.



It Is Your Turn: Call for Articles

Do you have an interesting topic of experience to share with our readers? Have you had a professional experience, case study, or situation worth writing about? Then ISPI calls on you to submit a short article (approximately 500 words and not previously published) to PerformanceXpress. We welcome contributions from all over the world.

These articles can be “I wish I had thought of that,” real-world applications of HPT, or success stories. If you have any questions or possible ideas for an article topic, please contact John Chen,

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Shaping ISPI’s Future

Call for Nominations to 2009-2011 ISPI Board of Directors

It is time once again for you, the ISPI membership, to determine the future direction of ISPI by nominating those members who you feel have the qualifications, experiences, and vision to lead our Society. Up for nominations this year are the President-elect (3-year term, President-elect, President, and Immediate Past President) and two Directors (2-year terms). They will join the President, three continuing Board members, and the non-voting Immediate Past President and Executive Director who make up the nine-member Board. The duties of the Board are to manage the affairs of ISPI and determine the strategic direction and policy of the Society.

Individually, each member of the Board is considered a spokesperson for ISPI and represents the integrity, dedication, and loyalty to established policy. The deadline for nominations is September 15, 2008.  If you would like to nominate a member, please send the following information to

  • The candidate’s name and contact information.
  • The position for which the candidate is being nominated.
  • Your name and contact information.
  • A 250-word statement on the candidate’s qualifications.

If you are interested in additional information on the nominations process, or the complete job descriptions and qualifications required, click here.

2009 Honorary Awards

Each year, ISPI presents three special honorary awards that recognize outstanding individuals and organizations for their significant contributions to Human Performance Technology and to the Society itself. The awards are the Thomas F. Gilbert Distinguished Professional Achievement Award, the Distinguished Service Award, and the Honorary Life Member Award. As done in the past, the membership is asked to submit names of qualified individuals for consideration for the Thomas F. Gilbert Distinguished Professional Achievement Award and Distinguished Service Award. If you are interested in nominating an ISPI member, please email the following information to

  • Name of award
  • Name, telephone number, and email of nominee
  • Name and telephone number of nominator
  • Brief supporting information for the nominee

This year’s recipients were Honorary Life Member: James A. Pershing, CPT, PhD, Thomas F. Gilbert Distinguished Professional Achievement Award: Diane M. Gayeski, PhD, and the Distinguished Service Award: Jean Strosinski, CPT. The deadline to receive nominations is October 27, 2008. For more detailed information on the guidelines used for selecting individuals to receive these awards, click here.

Showcase Your Award-Worthy Efforts

ISPI’s Awards of Excellence program is designed to showcase the people, products, innovations, and organizations that represent excellence in the field of instructional and human performance technology. Help give your organization the recognition it deserves and join the ranks of past recipients: US Coast Guard, DIRECTV, Imperial Oil, CISCO, The Home Depot, ExxonMobil, PG&E, Discover Financial Services, and Xerox to name a few. Submissions must be received by October 27, 2008. For more details, visit:

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ISPI logo



ISPI Member Spotlight
An Interview with Janis Goodheim

by Brian Johnson

Welcome to ISPIís Member Spotlight! This 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. This month our interview is with Janis Goodheim.

Brian: Welcome, Janis, to Member Spotlight! I want to start off by asking: What got you into human performance technology and into ISPI?

Janis: Actually, getting into human performance technology was quite a fluke for me. I was doing commercial photography and working in video production as well. I was writing informational and instructional scripts for corporate videos. I was living in Boise, Idaho, and somebody said, “Oh, by the way, did you know that thereís a masterís degree program at Boise State University in instructional design.” And I thought, “Oh well, Iíll go ahead and make myself very legitimate about this and give people a better reason to hire me to do corporate videos,” because I was trying to transition into video. And as part of that, I became hooked. I saw the need. I saw what human performance technology was about and it made so much more sense than doing commercial photography and video production that I just stayed in it.

Would you say thereís a “fun” aspect to it?

I love it. I love being able to do the detective work, the behind-the-scenes work of finding out what the real problem is and trying to come up with answers and solutions to make processes work better for clients and companies or even just for people in general who are going through life and having issues going on. But I think that since Iíve also gotten an MBA, I can really see how HPT can connect to the bottom line. I see the real advantages for corporations to do this; something they should have been doing for decades.

Can you tell us some ways, or some way in particular, youíve found HPT or ISD to have enhanced your life in some way that you had never thought of in the past? Where have you applied some HPT principles and practices to something that doesnít fall conventionally into the realm of what one may think you would apply it to?

Well, as Iíve gone through my career, which has only been about 10 years now, and through the MBA process, Iíve discovered more about other parts of the corporate world, including things like project management and qualitative and quantitative analysis. Iíve become involved with other organizations such as PMI (Project Management Institute), ASQ (American Society of Quality) and between those and ISPI, I see how they all mesh together with HPT. HPT uses them all. It uses the project management aspects, it uses the qualitative and quantitative analysis, it includes environmental factors and things like that. So I just see how HPT really incorporates all these other disciplines.

If a layman comes up to you and says, “Iíve heard about this human performance technology and Iíve heard of ISPI and all and it sounds kinda interesting, but can you tell me in plain language: Whatís it about? Why should I join ISPI?”

My interpretation of HPT is that itís looking at the processes that can be changed from the human aspect to improve a companyís productivity or bottom line, ideally both. Itís to make processes better, make peopleís work more efficient. We could all be like robots, saying “to make this really efficient, we should do this over and over and over and over again in a factory or such” but then you donít have employee satisfaction. So you have to look at all those different aspects. HPT helps make a work environment work properly to its most efficient capability, by including the very important human aspect, and making people want to come to work. Making work work for employees as well as itís working for their employer.

How long have you been a member [of ISPI]?

Iíve been a member since, 1993. I became a member while at Boise State University in the Instructional Performance Technology program where they are very pro-ISPI.

How would you say ISPI distinguishes itself from other organizations that do similar things?

ISPI is concerned with the business and how the business affects the community, not only its own community but its entire environment it has to live in, such as if you have a happy employee, theyíre going to take that outside their business and take it home with them and it ends up spreading into the community that they live in. Not only their home life but into their communal environment of their cities and such. And they wonít even realize that theyíre doing it when itís working right. And other organizations that try to do similar things tend to focus mostly on, at best, the training aspect and motivation and whatís wrong with the people who do the work. I donít see it as being “whatís wrong with the people.” There are a lot of things that can affect whatís wrong with a person and it could be anything. Itís not necessarily the personís “fault.”

What do you like best about ISPI?

That it is systematic. It takes everything into account. It doesnít just focus on the person. It focuses on the entire environment. ISPI, the community, the camaraderie of the people, the events that I go to. I belong to the Atlanta Chapter and people are just so willing to share knowledge, and I donít find that in other organizations. That, I think, is very unique to ISPI. And when I say, “People are willing to share knowledge,” itís not only people at the practitioner level (that I am at) but the large names, the people who have written massive numbers of books and articles. They are…well…you can just ask them anything!


They are approachable, but itís not just that. They are so willing to share and itís wonderful. The people behind the scenes are wonderful. When I call the office [ISPI Headquarters], I get the help that I need. I just find it to be the top of organizations I belong to.

Well, itís been wonderful speaking with you today, Janis.

Thank you so much! Thank you for taking the time to interview me.

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Janis Goodhiem



Call for Applications: Distinguished Dissertation Award Competition

The International Society for Performance Improvement is currently accepting applications for the 2009 Distinguished Dissertation Awards. These are an initiative funded by the Research Committee aimed at honoring excellence in student research. Three tiers of reward accompany the awards ($1,500 for first place, $1,000 for second, and $500 for third). Only doctoral dissertation research defended between May 31, 2005, and November 30, 2008, are eligible.

Dissertations must be defended and approved by the studentís committee prior to applying for the award and may be applied for by students of any accredited university throughout the world. Studies not conducted as part of dissertation research, as well as recipients of ISPIís Distinguished Dissertation Award from previous years, are not eligible. Applicants from prior years who did not receive the award, however, may reapply as long as they meet all other requirements appearing in this announcement.

Half of recipientsí monetary reward will be paid upon announcement of award winners (by January 31, 2009), with the remaining funds to be paid upon submission of a manuscript for consideration in Performance Improvement Quarterly(which must be received no later than August 30, 2009). Award recipients are also encouraged to consider submitting a proposal to present at the 2010 annual conference.

Last year, three individuals were selected by the Research Committee as recipients of ISPIís Distinguished Dissertation Award Competition:

  • Frank Nguyen, PhD, of San Diego State University, received the 1st place award for his study The Effects of an Electronic Performance Support System (EPSS) and Training as Performance Interventions.
  • Kimfong (Jason) Lei, PhD, of JetBlue, received the 2nd place award for his study Development and Validation of a Cross-Disciplinary Team Learning Model.
  • Timothy R. Brock, PhD, of Lockheed Martin, received the 3rd place award for his study Training NASA Astronauts for Deep Space Exploration Missions: A Research Study to Develop and Validate a Competency-Based Training Framework.

The application deadline is November 30, 2008. To download the competition flyer and for details, visit Please submit completed applications to Doug Leigh, PhD, chair of the ISPI Research Committee, via email to with the subject “ISPI Dissertation Award.”

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Tales From the Field
Using the SAM for Cause Analysis in a Large
Retail Setting

by Marc Donelson and Anthony Marker, PhD

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

The Field

Belk Department Stores is a retail company that has approximately 300 stores and over 30,000 employees. Belkís training department is located in its corporate offices and employs 16 personnel. These 16 individuals are broken into three training teams (three to five members each), a management team (three members), and a support team (two members). The training department is responsible for all the training that takes place in each store location and for the corporate offices. The team uses several media, depending on the content and audience, including print, video, online courses, and instructor-led classes.

The Issue

The management team identified a problem with internal communication among the three sub-teams. The employees “just canít find the information” they need to complete their projects in a timely manner. The management team became aware of this issue through employee complaints and through their own personal difficulty in finding specific pieces of information. The management team requested a needs assessment to help reduce the time the team members use to look for information necessary for them to successfully perform their job duties.

Each team member had opinions regarding the cause of the communication problem, but none of them had any data to back up their ideas. In fact, no data had been collected to determine how long the employees were even spending looking for information. Even though there were no hard data to display a performance gap, the complaints and frustrations from the team members identified this as an issue that needed to be addressed.

Framing the System

When we used the Synchronized Analysis Model (SAM) (Marker, 2007) to guide our questions and analysis of the results, the contributing causes of the performance gap became obvious. Subsequently, the management team could now address these contributors, which would reduce the time employees spent searching for information necessary to do their jobs efficiently.

After collecting the data through focus groups and follow-up interviews, 28 contributing causes were discovered that were increasing the difficulty in finding information. Each of these contributors was numbered and inserted into the SAM. The results are shown in Table 1. Some of these contributors were related to:

  • Time spent determining to whom questions should be directed
  • Time spent searching the shared network drives (employees were keeping files in personal folders instead of project folders, which led to files being duplicated)
  • Understanding how a project an employee is working on relates to and affects other employeesí projects

Although the numbers only give an approximate visual representation of the contributor causes, it is clear that the majority of the issues are caused by the environment surrounding the job. If we were to combine the external, organization, and job rows into a single environmental row—as Gilbertís BEM does—very little separation occurs. The added levels within the environment that the SAM provides allowed us to gain a better understanding of exactly where we needed to focus to close the gap as quickly and as easily as we could.

Synchronized Analysis Model

Table 1. Contributing Causes by Level and Area


The first two solutions are specific to the training department. The third solution is targeted at the entire organization.

  • Assemble a task force made up of representatives of each of the three training sub-teams to examine and create guidelines for saving files on the department file drives.
  • Create a graphical representation that displays each project and the relationships between projects. This is used to understand how each project impacts other projects owned by other team members.
  • Pilot a new company directory that allows searches based on employeesí areas of expertise along with their name and contact information.

IPT-grounded Advice (Advice for Practitioners Based on the Case)

  • Use a performance model that fits your specific organization and your performance gap. The data you collect are only valuable if you can organize them and make accurate recommendations based on the data.
  • Do not manipulate the data collection up-front. If your gut feeling about what is causing the performance gap prior to the research is in fact what is causing the gap, it will become evident in the research.


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

Marc Donelson lives in Charlotte, NC, and currently holds several titles. He is the owner of Donelson Interactive, an online training and performance improvement consulting firm. He is also a program manager in the training department at Belk Department Stores. Finally, he is a graduate student at Boise State University. Marc may be reached at

Tony Marker is an assistant professor for the Instructional and Performance Technology Department at Boise State University, holds a PhD from Indiana University, and is a LEED AP. He teaches graduate courses in performance technology, evaluation, needs assessment, and sustainability. His research interests include the state of research in HPT, change management, nonprofit performance, and finding ways for HPT practitioners to create and promote socially and environmentally sustainable interventions. Tony may be reached at

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Connecting People, Processes, and the Organization: Can You Afford Not To?

Have you registered yet for
ISPI’s Achieving Business Results through Performance Improvement: Connecting People, Processes, and the Organization Fall Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, September 24-27? Our lineup of expert speakers represents a who’s who in the field of performance improvement: our Keynote presenter Rodger Stotz, Geary Rummler, workshop presenter Robert O. Brinkerhoff, John Swinney, Donald Tosti, workshop presenter Lynn Kearny, Roger Kaufman, Diane Gayeski, Dale Brethower, and Judy Hale, to name a few.

To learn more about our upcoming event, watch a free preview webinar featuring ISPIís Roger Addison and Judy Hale along with Fall Conference presenter Donald Tosti.

Get answers to the following questions:

  • What is the schedule of events?
  • What are the registration costs to attend the 2008 Fall Conference, HPT Institute, and pre-conference workshops?
  • How does taking the CPT Workshop prepare me to apply for certification?
  • What is the difference between a symposium and a clinic?
  • What is a Cracker Barrel session?
  • Am I eligible for ISPI member pricing if I join at the time of registration?

Click this link to access our free informational webinar:

Our program in packed full of learning, participation, and networking. To offer participants a more intimate experience, attendance is limited, so register today! For more information, visit

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CPT News from Around the World

ISPI and the CPT Certification Board would like to congratulate the following on their CPT certifications:

Holli C. Baker
Craig C. Casserley
Deborah I. Frizzell
Thomas A. Kriesel

Leon Olivier
Ross B. Orvik
Wes A. Parker

The ISPI Law Enforcement Industry Outreach Team is working on ways to spread the word about the power of human performance technology (HPT) and the ISPI Certified Performance Technologist (CPT) certification program within the law enforcement and public safety domains, and we would like to contact ISPI members who are currently employed by these agencies or organizations at the federal, state, local, or private sector levels. If this is you, please email Chuck Georgo, team leader, at

ISPI is Coming to a Town Near You
Take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about the CPT designation and how it can benefit you. The CPT Certification Workshop: Preparing for the CPT will be held October 21 & 22, 2008 at the DeVry University in Denver, Colorado. Held in conjunction with ISPI’s Front Range Chapter this workshop will be facilitated by Front Range Chapter members Jim Schultz, CPT and Andrea Moore, CPT. The two-day workshop will show how the Certified Performance Technologist (CPT) designation can help prove how your work adds value to your clients and employer.

Participants will be able to:

  • Understand the value of the CPT certification to them and their organization.
  • Better evaluate their work and the work of others.
  • Assess their readiness to apply for the CPT designation.
  • Develop a plan for their professional growth

All applications for the CPT designation are subject to the regular peer evaluation process. The CPT application fee is included in the price of the workshop, which is $1,129 for ISPI members and $1,495 for non-members.

For additional information and to register to attend the CPT Certification Workshop visit

ISPI’s 2008 Practice and Job Analysis Survey:
Part 5 of 6

by James A. Pershing, CPT, PhD, Simone Symonette, Serdar Abaci, and Christopher Brunclik, LT, USCG

This is the fifth of a six-part report that provides results from the 2008 International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) Practice and Job Task Analysis Survey. The survey was designed to validate the ISPI Certification Standards and the criteria for earning the Certified Performance Technologist (CPT) designation as well as to help ISPI provide better services to you. The total number of CPTs and non-CPT ISPI members worldwide who completed the survey was 563.


This report is an analysis of the open-ended responses received for Standards 1 through 4. The final report will be an analysis of the open-ended responses received for Standards 5 through 10.

The open-ended questions were analyzed utilizing the “card-sorting” method. Responses for each of the Standards were placed on an index card and reviewed by a two- to four-person team. While sorting through the cards, the team noticed trends and categories were developed. The cards were then placed into categories for each Standard. High impact (parsimonious summary of a category) and noticeable quotes were highlighted for further review.

Following you will find each of the Standards. Under each Standard we have placed the most frequently realized categories along with a frequency count. We then add a sampling of the quotes offered from respondents. Finally, we provide future plans and tentative recommendations for the CPT Standards.

Categories Card Count
Barriers: resistance and push-back; internal focus on processes 33
Positive Feedback: key to whole process; prerequisite to everything that follows 25
Not Applicable: set by the client; mandated by external agencies/forces 17
Organizational Structure and Culture: difficult to do in activity-oriented cultures; internal and external roles are different 15

  Sample comments from respondents (n=111)

Standard 1—Focus on Outcomes

“Focus on outcomes, especially ‘accomplishments’ is one of the most important CPT standards.”

“If we can secure agreement on the end state—and the measures that define such—the execution of the intervention is faster, cheaper and much easier.”

“Need to be sure the focus is on Behavior AND Results. If focus is only on results, it can be achieved via inappropriate behavior, if only behavior it can produce different results. Need to focus on BOTH. This is key.”

“I do not spend a great deal of time attempting to educate my clients about accomplishments vs. activities. Rather, I/we focus on business goals and aligning our work/solutions to those goals.”

Categories Card Count
Barriers: difficult in “quick-fix” environments; cannot mandate to the clients 20
Support: necessary in getting from symptoms to causes; critical factor for success but is a great challenge; critical in identifying barriers and restraints 16
Organizational Structure and Culture: dependent on organizational level; difficult when the organization is departmentalized 13
Not Applicable: already established by the client or others in the organization; built in for technical systems 11
End-Run: done by project team; not discussed with the client 7
Wording Issues and Jargon: confusion between systems and systems approaches, as well as systematic and systemic; difficulty with the term “leverage point” 7

  Sample comments from respondents (n=80)

Standard 2—Take a Systems View

“All of these questions point to the quest of finding the OD/HPT ‘sweet spotí where organizational culture, mission, vision, policies, procedures, and individual contributors integrate—thatís what makes us tick!”

“I donít spend a great deal of time attempting to educate my clients about our processes. Rather, I use questions that force clients to consider other factors and perspectives (e.g., constraints, resources, employee perceptions of solutions) that I believe may impact the success of the effort.”

“My answers pertain to my current job which doesnít allow me to fully follow performance improvement standards. Weíre not allowed to perform an analysis with our clients. We have to depend on what managers (clients and ours) and our trainers can find out about our client end-users. Very disappointing.”

“By taking a systems view we often find the presenting problems (what led the client to us) are just symptoms of deeper underlying issues. We find client policies that sabotage the results they want to achieve and contribute to their problems.”

“It is all too common, however, when attempting to satisfy the systems view standard, that the client becomes impatient, to the point of delaying or cancelling the project altogether, rather than admit—or even consider—that there is no “quick fix.” It is a source of great frustration and I can either take the job, knowing that the desired action will not produce meaningful performance improvement, or walk away from the project.”

Categories Card Count
Organizational Structure and Culture: organization is more focused on strategic alignment; value added is built in 17
Reflection: situation specific; difficult when the organization is process oriented 17
Support: sharing cost, benefits, and risks are ethically required 12
Barriers: do not take the time or resources to identify costs; difficult to identify correct metrics; time constraints 10
Not Applicable: not done at respondentís level; clientís responsibility 10

  Sample comments from respondents (n=85)

Standard 3—Add Value

“Integrity as well as knowledge and experience are critical in OD/HPT initiatives. People trust in you, your credibility, and the respect you earn—based on being honest with the client and yourself regarding what things will cost in time, money, cultural impact, legal compliance, etc.”

“Thereís some politics involved with this standard. You have to create a balance between offering solutions from a consultative point of view or sometimes you just give in and do what the client wants. I suppose itís choosing your battles, especially from an internal consultantís perspective. Maybe the standard should bring that out more, the differences of work style, etc., whether you are an external or internal consultant.”

“My shop attempts to use ROI as often as possible, but the degree to which evidence is brought to bear to evaluate worth/value seems to depend on the project.”

Categories Card Count
Support: it is a must working globally and in diverse environments; partnerships are necessary for cross-functional and cultural teams in PT 20
Reflection: depends on the size of the project; critical for interdisciplinary teams 15
Organizational Structure and Culture: different for internal and external consulting; easier when there is a pre-existing collaboration climate 7
Barriers: difficult to get stakeholders and sponsors to participate 6

  Sample comments from respondents (n=63)

Standard 4—Work in Partnership with Clients and Other Specialists

“Collaboration with our partners is a must! They are our internal customers, and we need to develop a two-way relationship to have good communication. Without collaboration, you may head down a road that is not going to have the desired performance outcome.”

“I believe more needs to be said and done about calling out our work with clients and not lumping them into the ‘stakeholder group.í I think too many times we let our clients off the hook and do not put them to work. We allow them to offer up SMEs and other partners to collaborate with, but they donít invest in the game, other than approving our contracts and bills.”

“Again I do this to the extent possible. Note that the last time I raised questions as to why negative participant evaluations were being trashed rather than being used to address how to better respond to the needs of a whole department was the last time I was called to work for this VERY large client!”

Your Story

In November, this column will resume the practice of featuring CPTs doing impressive work. If you have a story to share, please contact Judy Hale, director of certification at

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

The GMarie Group
Contract Training Development
Job Location: United States
Job Type: Contract

Medco Health Solutions, Inc.
Project Manager, LPI Black Belt
Job Location: Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, 07417
Job Type: Full-Time

Medco Health Solutions, Inc.
E-Learning Manager
Job Location: Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, 07417
Job Type: Full Time

Medco Health Solutions, Inc.
Sr. Manager, Technical Writing
Job Location: Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, 07417
Job Type: Full-Time

Resource Development Company
Performance Improvement Measurement and Evaluation Specialist
Job Location: Texas
Job Type: Full Time

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ISPI logo



ISPI’s SkillCast Webinars
New Career Development Series Announced!

Join us for the first of four
SkillCast webinars presented by Marshall Brown and Sharon Armstrong of Marshall Brown & Associates. Marshall shows you how to Take Charge of Your Career and Helpful Career Assessments on October 21, 2008.

The rest of the series include Creating Powerful Resumes, November 18, Building Success Through Strong Networking, February 24, 2009, and Behavioral Interviewing, March 24, 2009.

These SkillCast webinars from Marshall Brown & Associates culminate at the Career Center workshops presented at THE Performance Improvement Conference 2009 in Orlando Florida, April 19-22. You do not want to miss out!

For more information, or to register, visit

Now Being Recorded and Available!

With the re-launch of ISPIís SkillCast
webinars with a new vendor, Boston Conferencing, ISPI is proud to announce that you can view our past SkillCast webinars at your convenience beginning with Julyís presentation. If you missed the opportunity to attend Jim Hillís, Ruth Clarkís, or Margo Murrayís live SkillCast webinars, you can hear the recorded session and obtain the handouts. For more information and to order these webinars, visit As we move forward in the coming months, all SkillCast webinars will be recorded and made available approximately 48 hours after the conclusion of the live event.

2008 Schedule of Events


  • September 10, Connecting with Tomorrowís 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
  • October 21, Take Charge of Your Career and Helpful Career Assessments with Marshall Brown
  • November 12, Accelerating Speed to Proficiency with Cognitive Learning Strategies with Marty Rosenheck, CPT
  • November 18, Creating Powerful Resumes with Marshall Brown
  • December 10, Increasing Interactivity in Webcasts with Sivasailam “Thiagi” Thiagarajan, CPT, PhD

For more information, or to register, visit

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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 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, or call Jane at 800.650.7465.

Learn the Principles & Practices of Performance Improvement, September 22-24, in Albuquerque, NM. Take your organization to the next level. Register today!


Join us for the Fall Conference, September 24-27, in Albuquerque, NM. Achieve Business Results through Performance Improvement. Register today!

Attend the ProSeries Workshop November 4-7, in Charlotte, NC. Professional Development Designed for the Performance Professional. Register today!

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 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

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, and you will be added to the PerformanceXpress email 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 John Chen at

Stay informed: add to your Address Book and/or Safe Senders list to ensure you donít miss important announcements and valuable offers from ISPI!

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


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