January 2009

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In this issue:

From the Board

Changing Perspectives: Older Worker Learners

Ad: ProSeries Workshops


Goal-Setting: Critical in Tough Times

Ad: 2009 Conference

Emerging Talent at ISPI 2009

We Want to Hear Your STories!

Early Registration Deadline Fast Approaching!

ISPI Member Spotlight

Inaugural University Case Study Competition

ISPI’s Facebook Group On the Rise

Principles & Practices Sails into Bay Area

Tales from the Field

Proseries Workshops

CPT News from Around the World

Students Needed in Orlando

Career Center

SkillCast Webinars

Performance Marketplace

Join ISPI Now!

Newsletter Submission Guidelines

ISPI Board of Directors

ISPI Advocates

Back Issues





From the Board
Now More Than Ever…

by David Hartt, CPT, EdD, ISPI Director

We are coming off the election season where talk radio was all abuzz, and now moving into the inauguration it is abuzz once again. I am guessing that many of you, like me, tend to listen to talk radio during your morning or afternoon commute. If so, you may recognize the tagline “now more than ever, three hours a day is all we ask” used by a well-known talk radio host. Implied in this host’s call to action is the idea that some form of involvement can make a difference. The same can be said for ISPI and its membership. I imagine that ISPI members represent the full spectrum of political perspectives and I am not advocating any political ideology here. I simply use this well-known tagline as a call to action for performance professionals in challenging economic times. Now more than ever, ISPI and HPT practitioners can make a difference.

As I write this article, the unemployment rate is 6.7% and rising. The U.S. economy is in a full-blown recession—the worst in a generation. The President and the President Elect are both saying it will get worse before it gets better. Retirement accounts are down 40% from their highs of October 2007. Lehman Brothers was forced to sell or go belly up. Freddie, Fannie and other giant institutions are being kept alive with a mainline injection of taxpayer cash. The big three automakers received rescue aid from the U.S. government to prevent a massive collapse of the automotive industry.

What does it mean to us as a society and as professionals in the marketplace? What it means is…now more than ever…we have an opportunity to add value by focusing on the issues that directly impact our organization’s bottom line. Many organizations have and will continue to cut costs, look for efficiencies, and try to “do more with less.” This will work for some, but if we carry “do more with less” to its logical conclusion, we end up trying to do everything with nothing and we all know how well that works.

Our profession has the ability to focus on many levels of performance. Borrowing from Dr. Roger Kaufman’s work on mega, macro and micro levels, we can focus on efficiency by streamlining processes and eliminating waste to improve the bottom line (micro level). Or, instead of finding ways to claim a larger piece of a shrinking pie, we can apply a system perspective to the mega level and find ways to not only make the pie bigger, but better, and promote long-term sustainability for us, our customers, our suppliers, and our community. Now that is adding value!

We have heard over and over that the single greatest asset in any organization is its people. We have heard it so many times that the phrase has become objectionable to some. There is just one problem: it’s true. Unfortunately and all too often, senior leadership’s human capital rhetoric is not aligned with their human capital actions. To put it another way, how many organizations really treat their people like an asset and invest in them, particularly when times are tough? I think we know the answer. Now more than ever…I would argue that investing in our organization’s human capital is large part of our responsibility as performance professionals.

A recent MarketWatch article featured in a December 2009 ISPI Performance Digest highlighted this very issue. It stated that as businesses look to cut costs and overhead in the current recession, employees are the last place they should look to make cuts. After all, this is the asset that has the most potential to fix what ails them. The article further pointed to a study conducted by the Brookings Institute that found that nearly 85% of a company’s assets are related to human intellectual capital and talent. Put this in the context of the steady march away from the industrial economy to a knowledge economy and that statistic becomes even more significant. Forward leaning organizations realize cuts alone will not get them out of the hole and what they require is a real systematic and systemic approach to the way they do business. Now more than ever…this is where we, the performance practitioners, can carry the football, provided we have kept ourselves in tip-top shape and ready to play by investing in our own professional development through membership and participation in ISPI. Did you know that an individual membership amortized over the course of the year only costs 39 cents a day? For less than the cost of a postage stamp, you can increase your odds of staying relevant in tough times.

PerformanceXpress is distributed to over 20,000 people, but many of you are not current members of ISPI. If you are not a member and intend on staying relevant, never mind employed in this field, you are missing out on valuable professional resources. Your involvement in ISPI can make all the difference to you and your organization.

So…now more than ever…39 cents a day is all we ask.

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David Hartt



Changing Perspectives: OWLS (Older Worker Learners) in Context

by Joan Conway Dessinger, CPT, EdD, and James L. Moseley, CPT, EdD

Last fall Jim Moseley and I submitted a proposal to present at the ISPI-Europe Conference in Galway, Ireland. The presentation—“The OWLS (Older Worker-Learners) Are Here…Are You Ready?”—was accepted with the following suggestion from Nanci McDonegal and the review committee: “We are very pleased to inform you that your proposal has been accepted by the review committee. However, is it possible to include some data about Europe in this? Perhaps you could add a little about the job market in Europe, including things like the unemployment rate, retirement laws/rules and practices as well as cultural norms, or things like that.”

I had already begun to update our research on the global and EU context of the aging workforce. Although Jim found he could not attend the conference, I accepted the invitation and continued preparing the presentation. So far, our presentations had included a discussion of the global aging workplace (Moseley & Dessinger, 2007) but focused on the situation in the United States and Canada where OWLS are already “here.” This article explains the five changes I made to the presentation based on our new audience of primarily EU members.

1. The Title Says It All

First, I changed the title from “The OWLS Are Here…Are You Ready?” to “The OWLS Are Coming…Will You Be Ready?” Flocks of OWLS are already here in the United States, Canada, and Japan; flocks of OWLS are on their way to the European Union and industrialized parts of the Asia-Pacific region such as South Korea and China.

2. The Context Shifted

Second, I updated the global context. The global workforce is or will be aging; the demographic balance is shifting with more and more OWLS staying in or joining the workforce; and OWLS are getting younger, due to workplace perceptions of what is “old” and “older” because OWLS cannot afford to retire or do not want to retire.

Then, I added a discussion of the EU context. In the new millennium, the European Commission has worked with the national authorities in the Economic Policy Committee (EPC) to “assess how population aging will affect EU labor markets, economic growth potential, public finances (retirement, pensions, health care, and so forth)” (Carone & Costello, 2006). Individual European countries are also strategizing about how to retain OWLS in the workforce.

3. HPT Issues Shifted

The third major change in the focus of the presentation was to zoom in on two of the five HPT issues related to OWLS—retention of OWLS in the workplace and retirement issues.

The Netherlands provided a case study of how a country can intentionally adopt and support recruitment, retention, and retirement policies that benefit the country, the workplace, and the workers. As a result of planned changes in policies and procedures, “the employment rate of 55-64-year-old Dutch workers increased from 30% in 1995 to 42% in 2002 (for men from 41% to 55% and for women from 18% to 29%), and the average age of exit from the labour force rose from around 60 years in 1995 to 62 years in 2002 (Reday-Mulvey & Velladics, 2005).

The strategies employed included promotion of part-time work for all workers at all ages; policies to avoid forced early retirement where possible while leaving voluntary early retirement as an individual option; and allowing retired workers in critical areas to return to work without a reduction in their level of (early) pension benefits. Also, in 2000, the Dutch government set up the Older People and Employment Taskforce with the main aim of keeping people aged over 55 in the workforce. Concurrently, “Economic growth, the so-called ‘Dutch miracle,’ led to a high rate of employment growth. As labour supply did not keep up with labour demand, older workers were no longer seen as a threat for upwardly mobile youngsters, and employers were also less inclined to use exit routes for older workers” (Reday-Mulvey & Velladics, 2005).

4. Age-Related Changes Refocused

The rest of the presentation remained much the same with just a slight shift in focus. Age-related changes themselves are common to all humans; although, there may be cultural or environmental factors that change the aging process for better or worse. However, instead of focusing on how age-related changes may impact OWLS as workers and learners, I adapted the discussion to focus on how age-related changes may affect the planning of retention and retirement policies and procedures.

5. Reactive to Proactive

The last change in focus for this presentation was directly related to the audience. In “The OWLS Are Here,” the focus is on helping HPT professionals and their organizations react to a situation that is already happening; in “The OWLS Are Coming,” the focus is on how to be proactive and help HPT professionals plan how to act before a situation happens. And isn’t that the ideal way to improve performance!

Unfortunately, the ISPI-Europe conference was canceled before I had a chance to present our new version of the OWLS. We will keep it on ice and hope that someday we will have another opportunity to focus on how proactively and prior planning can help OWLS and organizations soar.


Carone, G., & Costello, D. (2006, September). Finance and Development: A Quarterly Magazine of the IMF, 43(3). Retrieved September 13, 2008, from www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2006/09/carone.htm

Moseley, J. M., & Dessinger, J. C. (2007). Training older workers and learners [OWLS]: Maximizing the performance of an aging workforce. San Francisco: Wiley.

Reday-Mulvey, G., & Velladics, K. (2005, May). Employment of older workers in the Netherlands: Paper No.1, 2005. In The Netherlands: Second largest trade union demonstration in Dutch history. European Employment Observatory Monthly Newsletter, 19, October 2005.

DessingerJoan Dessinger, CPT, EdD, is an author, editor, consultant, and an adjunct faculty member in the Instructional Technology Graduate Program at Wayne State University. She may be reached at jdessinger@comcast.net.


MoseleyJames L. Moseley, CPT, EdD, is associate professor of instructional technology in the College of Education at Wayne State University. He is a frequent contributor to books, chapters, articles, presentations, and in evaluation, human performance, and older adult interests. He may be reached at moseley@wayne.edu.

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Age-related changes themselves are common to all humans; although, there may be cultural or environmental factors that change the aging process for better or worse.



TrendSpotters: Preview 2009

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

Welcome to 2009! Join us for a quick peek into the new year to see what TrendSpotters plans to bring you in the months to come.

For the last few years, our readers have responded enthusiastically to our focus on “models and tools you can use. With the ongoing generosity of our guests who have graciously shared their work and their tips for success, we will carry on with this theme, continuing to show how the models and tools we feature:

  • Have been used successfully to produce results.
  • Can be adapted to our readers’ individual situations.
  • Support the RSVP+ standards.

Because we view performance technology as an integrator—a methodology that can unite efforts to improve organizational performance—we will also point to ways that the featured tool or model can serve to integrate performance improvement initiatives across an organization.

In addition, in recognition of the challenges presented to all of us by the current worldwide economic climate, we will partner with our guests to show how the models and tools they contribute can add value in difficult circumstances.

As we have mentioned, the two of us, along with Lynn Kearny, have written a book to be published by Pfeiffer and ISPI in 2009. Titled Performance Architecture: The Art and Science of Improving Organizations, the book features models and tools, examples of their use, and provides a proven personal approach to improving performance in organizations. The three of us learned a great deal as we developed the book and we hope to share appropriate insights in this space as the year progresses. We look forward to continuing to learn along with you in 2009.

To find all the models and tools featured in TrendSpotters, click here.

Carol Haig may be contacted at carolhaig@earthlink.net or http://home.mindspring.com/~carolhaig; Roger Addison may be contacted at roger@ispi.org.

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Goal-Setting: Critical in Tough Times

by Sharon Armstrong

Join Marshall Brown and Sharon Armstrong on Tuesday, February 24, 2009, for their SkillCast on “Building Success Through Strong Networking.” Register today!

These are tough times! Yet the key to your success at your organization is simple. It is to make sure employees know what they are to work on and how they should direct their energy. When everyone understands what he or she should accomplish throughout the year, it is much easier to make a significant contribution.

A clear mandate helps everyone succeed and helps your organization reach its goals. There are two types of performance goals: collective and individual. Each goal starts with the organization’s vision and goals, and then includes other priorities, goals and objectives. This helps illustrate the concept:

  • Vision and goals
  • Corporate priorities and objectives
  • Business unit goals and objectives
  • Department goals and objectives
  • Manager objectives
  • Employee objectives

Both collective and individual of goals need to cascade down from what you want to accomplish as an organization this year. Make sure all your employees know the strategic focus for the coming year. Disseminate that information as many ways as you can.

The job your managers have is to translate the larger goal into smaller steps and then discuss them with each employee. He or she can do that once the senior team has met and the responsibility of the work unit is clear.

Where Do Goals Come From?

In addition to getting your goals from your strategic direction, you also get them from your job descriptions, special projects, member and client feedback, temporary challenges and opportunities, processes, practices, and discussion and dialogue. The dialogue is the most important—ongoing communication is critical.


What are the benefits for your organization?

  • This process helps you coordinate the work of all the individuals and all the departments, so that you are all working in the same direction. There is a line of sight and accountability.
  • It results in better performance across the board.
  • It improves teamwork through a common sense of purpose.
  • It increases member and client satisfaction.

What are the benefits for your employees?

  • Employees will understand what they need to accomplish and how it fits into the organization’s bigger picture.
  • They will understand how they personally fit in to the organization and that will give meaning and context for their work.
  • They will be able to chart their own progress and be ready to discuss the status with their manager at designated times throughout the year.

This goal setting should be a collaborative process that is worked on with your manager…not imposed. This creates an incredible sense of ownership. Employees should think about how they can best contribute and what their strengths are. They should be ready for the goal-setting meeting.

Let’s Make SMART Goals SMARTER

Specific: What are we trying to achieve? What needs to be done? What will it look like?

Measurable: How do we know we achieved it? How many? How frequently? How long from start to finish? Remember, what gets measured, gets done.

Attainable: Can it be achieved with current resources and skills? Is it a stretch or challenge? Aim to stretch.

Relevant: Does the goal or expectation support your vision and mission? How does it link?

Time-based: What is the deadline? When will it be achieved? Remember, a goal without a date is a dream.

Engaging: Be motivated by it!

Reinforcing: Make sure it supports your values.

You’ve heard the expression “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Don’t do that!

Final Thoughts on Goals

The more specific you can be with the goals, the clearer it will be at the end to determine whether you reached them. For some of the complex goals, you should develop action steps, timelines, and metrics for each critical point. Employees should work with their managers on this. Keep in mind that goals are not etched in stone. Our world is dynamic and changing. It is not uncommon to modify goals through the year. That is another reason for ongoing communication.

In summary, your goals should be based on the direction of your organization. They are generated through discussions with managers at the beginning of the cycle and throughout the year. (This is what Peter Drucker called a participative system back in the 1950s!)

Start talking and keep talking! Build in a regular and scheduled way to communicate about progress toward goals. Go forward into 2009 with renewed attention to aiming and guiding performance through the year. This process will contribute to the overall success of your organization. It will be an investment in time and effort that will pay huge dividends for your organization.

Plan on having a lot to celebrate this time next year. These times do not have to be so tough!

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. She is a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR). She may be reached at www.sharonarmstrongandassociates.com.

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This goal-setting should be a collaborative process that is worked on with your manager…not imposed.



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“Emerging Talent” Emerges into the Spotlight at ISPI 2009 in Orlando

by Marci Paino, 2009 Conference Committee

When the 2009 Conference Committee first convened in October 2007, the Board gave us three major goals: to increase interest and attendance by those in the corporate community, youth population, and international audience. We split into sub-teams with champions to ensure the execution of each of the goals, and my concentration has been on a youth, or “emerging talent,” initiative.


Identifying what the Board really meant when they said, “youth,” was the first task. We had to first clearly define the term “youth,” then analyze data provided to us from the ISPI 2007 Appreciative Inquiry, and finally brainstorm how to create a sustainable difference for both the conference and the society. We defined “youth” as the “emerging talent” target audience, or people who are:

  • Between 18 and 38 years old.
  • Recent graduates of an undergraduate, master’s, or PhD/EdD program.
  • New members of the HPT world, either from a recent career change or just those with limited experience in the workplace (one to five years).

The 2007 Appreciative Inquiry indicated that first-time conference attendees feel uncomfortable or unwelcome. We also noticed that there have been offerings perfect for the emerging talent audience, for example, the resume writing sessions, which are often overlooked or missed by first-timers. Our discussions regarding our first ISPI Conference elicited several ideas for improvement; however, we wanted to ensure we applied principles of human performance technology (HPT) in our decision-making process and knew that we needed to analyze the actual opinions and attitudes of our emerging talent audience. This resulted in a University Survey that is being used to collect and analyze data to tailor initiatives toward actual needs. We plan to use the data collected from the University Survey to continuously add to our initiatives.

The Initiatives

The efforts that have resulted over the past year include:

  • University Survey—An analysis of university students, from the undergraduate to doctorate level, which was distributed once in April and again in November. The survey addresses perceptions, attitudes, and understanding of ISPI, as well as peak areas of interest in the HPT field.
  • The University Case Study Competition—An opportunity for five universities to participate in a four month long simulation that requires students to consider real-world situations and apply principles of HPT in a real-world context.
  • Mentoring Program—An event that provides an opportunity for emerging professionals to meet, and potentially establish a mentoring relationship, with some of the key opinion leaders in our field.
  • An emerging professionals marketing package—A guidebook of information that spotlights the events and resources provided throughout the conference that are specifically targeted to emerging professionals.
  • An emerging professionals Community Center booth—A booth set up in the Community Center during the conference to display resources that may be helpful to emerging professionals.

We are anxious to know how you feel about the new initiatives you will see in Orlando, and we look forward to gathering feedback and continuously improving these programs for years to come.

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We Want to Hear Your Stories!

You do excellent work every day with great results. Submit your accomplishments and research to one of ISPI’s prestigious journals to receive the recognition you deserve, and share your findings and ideas with your peers.

Performance Improvement (PI) journal publishes articles about all types of interventions and all phases of the human performance technology (HPT) process, as well as hands-on HPT experiences, including:

  • Models
  • Interventions
  • “How-to” guides
  • Ready-to-use job aids
  • Research articles

PI also publishes updates on trends, reviews, and field viewpoints. The common theme of articles is performance improvement practice or technique that is supported by research or germane theory.

To submit an article, download and read the Author Guidelines, then email your article as an attachment to the editor, Holly Burkett, at pijeditor@ispi.org. PI is a benefit of ISPI membership, but if you are not a member you can still subscribe. If you are interested in joining ISPI, please click here.

Performance Improvement Quarterly (PIQ) is a peer-reviewed journal that publishes original research, theory, and literature reviews relevant to improving the performance of individuals, groups, and organizations. As a scholarly forum for the HPT field, the journal seeks to integrate and expand the methods, processes, and findings across multiple disciplines as they relate to solving problems and realizing opportunities in human performance. HPT work focuses on valued, measured results; considers the larger system context of people’s performance; and provides valid and reliable measures of effectiveness. The journal values both methodological rigor and variety, and publishes scholarship related to:

  • Process improvement
  • Organizational design and alignment
  • Analysis, evaluation, and measurement
  • Performance management
  • Instructional systems
  • Management of organizational performance

To submit an article, download and read the Author Guidelines, then email your article as an attachment to the ISPI Publications Office at pubs@ispi.org. A subscription to PIQ costs only $45 for ISPI members, so be sure to take advantage of this valuable resource.

As you know from reading this online newsletter every month, PerformanceXpress (PX) publishes exciting feature articles highlighting current developments and ideas in the field of performance improvement, as well as regular columns written by dedicated professionals spotting trends, Tales from the Field, and CPT News from Around the World. And, that is just the beginning. What contributions and ideas do you have to add to PX? “I wish I had thought of that” articles, practical application articles, articles about the application of HPT, or success stories? Read the Newsletter Submission Guidelines and send us your work to px@ispi.org.

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Early Registration Deadline Fast Approaching!

Act now and register by February 11, 2009 and SAVE! ISPI Members may take advantage of our special $875 rate. Non members save with a rate of $1,125. For only $1,000, non-members may join ISPI and register for the conference at the same time!

THE Performance Improvement Conference is the leading annual conference focusing on the principles and practices of performance improvement and the results achieved. With this eagerly anticipated educational event, April 19-22, 2009, in Orlando, Florida, the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) continues to shape the future of performance improvement through learning, sharing of best practices, and networking with the smartest minds in the industry from around the globe. THE Performance Improvement Conference will focus on three key areas: improving human performance in corporate settings, applying the theory and practice of human performance improvement worldwide, and sharing knowledge and innovation with those who are newly entering our profession.

In addition to over 100 educational sessions—in the categories of analysis, evaluation and measurement, instructional interventions, organizational design interventions, process and tool interventions, the business of HPT, and research to practice-—THE Performance Improvement Conference offers a number of half-, one-, and two-day workshops to advance your professional know-how and knowledge in a specific topic area. Attendees may also take advantage of our three-day, hands-on Principles & Practices of Performance Improvement Institute or the CPT Certification Workshop: Preparing for the CPT.

To register, visit www.ispi.org/ac2009 or call ISPI at 301.587.8570.

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ISPI Member Spotlight
An Interview with Grant Meier

Welcome to ISPI’s 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 Grant Meier, manager of training for Thomson West.

Brian: Grant, how long have you been a member of ISPI?

Grant: For four years.

What got you involved in human performance technology (HPT) and ISPI?

My boss, Rich Braden, who was an ISPI member, told me, “Hey, ISPI is something you ought to be a part of. You ought to go to the conferences.” Didn’t feel excited about it at first but it turned out to be a great experience—since then I’ve learned a lot. I can now “speak the language” of a professional performance improvement practitioner.

How does what you do contribute to the wealth of wisdom of HPT and other areas within the Society?

It’s an organization where I get a lot more than I could possibly give! I wouldn’t say I’m passive when I come to conferences and workshops; I contribute within those settings as a participant who actively engages with the presenter and other attendeees. When I am facilitating a class, many of the techniques I use I learned through ISPI events.

What do you think sets ISPI apart from other similar types of organizations?

The big names, like Thiagi, Cal Wick, Judy Hale, Carl Binder. The value-added experience, especially the conferences and workshops, the Cracker Barrel and the ability to check out and purchase books in person [at the annual conferences]. ISPI keeps me current with developments in the field.

If someone came up to you on the street and asked, “What is the International Society for Performance Improvement?” how would you reply?

It goes to HOW PEOPLE CAN IMPROVE. It’s an organization that brings together people who know that training and human performance improvement are sciences and academic disciplines. It’s a place where people share methods that have been proven through research to improve performance.

What do you like best about ISPI?

The conferences! Every year! They power up my batteries. Re-energize me. Teach me new things and refresh my memory on things I’ve learned before.

What would say to someone interested in HPT who asks “Why should I belong to ISPI?”

If you’re interested in improving yourself and doing a better job helping other people improve, this is the best place to be. I mean, where else do you have such camaraderie or a cadre of people who have similar interests in trying to improve the discipline. Come join us! I’ll see you once a year!


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Inaugural University Case Study Competition
Well Underway

by Dawn Papaila, Co-chair, 2009 Conference Committee

The inaugural University Case Study Competition culminates with team presentations at THE Performance Improvement Conference in Orlando. This pilot educational program offers teams from five universities the opportunity to practice performance improvement for a panel of expert judges and to receive the benefit of their comments and guidance. Click on Competition Web Portal or go to the HPT Connections menu on the ISPI website for more information about this exciting pilot program. The success of this pilot will be assessed during and after the conference. Our hope is to allow more universities to participate in the future.

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ISPI’s Facebook Group On the Rise

Last month, ISPI’s Facebook Group was launched on the popular social networking site. As many of you know, Facebook is a social networking website where users can join networks organized by city, workplace, school, and regions to connect and interact with other people. Users can add friends and send them messages, update their personal profile, and notify friends about their activities.

ISPI encourages everyone (members and non-members) to join the group. In just over one month, over 100 of you have joined our Facebook Group—but we know there are more of you out there! To join ISPI’s group all you need is a Facebook account and search for “International Society for Performance Improvement” or click here to view ISPI’s group page. Simply click “Join this Group” and begin networking with other ISPI members and practitioners in the field. The group includes events, SkillCasts, conference information, and important reminders. But most important, we want to provide you with a place to network with each other. Visit now to check out our photos from our 2008 Fall Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. If you have photos or videos you would like posted to the group, please email John Chen at johnc@ispi.org.

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Principles & Practices Sails into Bay Area: 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 program designed to introduce the fundamentals of human performance technology (HPT). Instructional strategies include workplace examples and collaborative analysis of case studies. Using tools and techniques recognized as best practices in the industry, this program provides knowledge and resources from veteran instructors and facilitators in the field. From January 27-29, 2009, ISPI and our talented faculty will be in San Francisco, California.

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. Imagine obtaining performance improvement techniques that delivers measurable results.

Join us January 27-29, 2009, at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel.

Sir Francis Drake Hotel
450 Powell Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
800.227.5480 or 415.392.7755

For more information, click here, or call us at 301.587.8570. Group registration discounts are available. Ask about getting the Principles and Practices of Performance Improvement Institute designed specifically for your organization.

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Tales From the Field
How Are You Using the Data Obtained from Your Employee Engagement Survey?

by Shelley A. Berg

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 University’s Instructional and Performance Technology department.

The Field—What is an Employee Engagement Survey for?

Employee engagement is a buzzword we have all heard in the performance improvement and human resource circles. Engaged employees tend to be high-caliber performers who take personal responsibility for working toward the success of the organization. As a result, an organization that enhances engagement within its workforce will likely experience the financial benefits produced by higher levels of quality customer service, teamwork, and productivity. To systematically enhance engagement, it must be measured, and the organization must act on the results. Unfortunately, many organizations fail to act on survey results, which can actually lead to negative consequences, such as frustration, disillusionment, and distrust on the part of the employee respondents.

An Evaluation Study—How Do They Use Employee Engagement Survey Data?

SumHealth (a pseudonym being used for confidentiality purposes) is a health insurance company based in the northwest United States. The author conducted her master’s thesis research at SumHealth to investigate how the organization uses its employee engagement survey data. SumHealth administers an employee engagement survey annually; however, the actions and benefits that result from the survey’s findings are not tracked. Therefore, at the time of this evaluation, the organization could not ascertain whether it was benefiting from this effort. The evaluation was initiated to determine how the organization’s frontline leaders were responding to the survey’s data, to identify the reasons for those responses, and to make recommendations for how the survey can be used more productively.

Data Collection and Analysis

Data was collected in two phases. The first phase consisted of open-ended, exploratory interviews with frontline leaders and division heads to better understand processes, perceptions, and actions related to the employee engagement survey. A second phase of data collection consisted of an online questionnaire completed by frontline leaders to determine the extent to which the findings from the interviews applied to the larger population.

For instance, 66.67% of leaders interviewed indicated that they discuss the results of the engagement survey with their direct reports, and their perceptions of the value of this conversation were mixed. Interview responses also revealed that leaders were taking varying approaches to this discussion. On the questionnaire, 68.66% of leaders reported discussing the results with their direct reports, also with mixed perceptions of the value of this conversation (M = 4.57, where 1 = “not valuable at all” and 7 = “extremely valuable”). This result from the questionnaire is illustrated in Figure 1. Interestingly, the literature suggests that such a discussion can be quite beneficial (e.g., Rossett, 1999; Smith, 2003). With this in mind, one of the recommendations from this study was to develop a meeting guide or “meeting-in-a-box” to assist leaders with structuring this discussion more productively.


Figure 1. Extent to which discussing the results of the engagement survey
with direct reports is a valuable activity (N = 46).

Project Recommendations

The primary recommendation from this evaluation was for SumHealth to create a comprehensive communication plan for their employee engagement initiative, which should include:

  • How to communicate the engagement survey results down the organization’s ranks of leaders (as well as what to communicate)
  • How leaders should communicate engagement survey results to frontline employees (i.e., non-leadership direct reports)
  • Targeted, “actionable” recommendations that can be used to respond to the engagement survey results to enhance engagement within divisions and teams
  • A year-round plan for integrating the communication of positive changes resulting from the engagement survey into routine communications throughout the organization

This communication plan should be designed in a way that builds on the perceived benefits of the engagement survey, addresses (and decreases) the perceived barriers to using the engagement survey results, demonstrates the relevance of employee engagement and the survey itself to leaders and their teams, connects the engagement survey to positive change in the organization for employees of all levels, and integrates the topic of engagement into routine communications throughout the year to increase the perception of engagement as an ongoing priority and a core component of SumHealth culture.


Rossett, A. (1999). First things fast. San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Smith, F. J. (2003). Organizational surveys: The diagnosis and betterment of organizations through their members. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Shelley A. Berg holds a Master of Science degree in instructional and performance technology from Boise State University. She currently works as a senior instructional designer in the financial services industry. She may be reached at ShelleyAnnBerg@yahoo.com.

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ProSeries Workshops Coming to Las Vegas: Hale, Ramias & Rummler, Chevalier, and Wittkuhn

ISPI’s ProSeries Workshops are an unique, two-day, peer-to-peer educational opportunity led by exceptional performance improvement professionals. Before “lean,” Six-Sigma, Knowledge Management, or one-minute cures, our presenters were breaking new ground in the principles and practices of performance technology.

In the spirit of collegial sharing for which ISPI is known, join these consummate performance professionals to expand your knowledge and skills. Work with proven tools and techniques, and merge new approaches with your own to enhance your value to your organization and your clients.

2February, 17-18, 2009

Judith Hale’s Implementation: Sustaining Initiatives will enlighten you on how to continue the advancement of corporate initiatives beyond their initial launch with guidance through the phases and processes required to support and fulfill the promise of increased workplace performance.

34Alan Ramias and Richard Rummler’s Introduction to Serious Performance Consulting will take you beyond job-level performance improvement for individual workers to an exploration of the process and organizational levels of performance improvement where HPT practitioners really can make a lasting contribution to their organizations.

1February 19-20, 2009

Roger Chevalier’s A Manager’s Guide to Improving Workplace Performance will present techniques on how to teach managers and supervisors to apply HPT on a tactical level in their divisions, departments, and workshops.

5Klaus Wittkuhn’s Performance Improvement Tools and Techniques invites you to an intensive program to utilize contact time with your internal clients, and change the stereotypical view of you and your department from trainer to human performance consultant with a wide range of tools and tips to improve your clients’ understanding of your potential.

Click here for more information or to register today!

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CPT News from Around the World

Special Work by CPTs—Healthcare Team

I want to introduce you to a group of special CPTs who are members of the CPT Healthcare team. The team members are Rebecca Bodrero, Shane Bush, Margaret Stemzynski, and Jay Spitulnik. A subset of the team developed the Healthcare Story contest to recognize the application of HPT in Healthcare.

Rebecca BodreroRebecca Bodrero, CPT, MS, MBA, is an adjunct professor at Boise State University. She is also the program manager for instructional and performance technology for Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC), an independent, nonprofit, professional services company that provides management and technology-based solutions to a wide variety of clients, representing state and federal government, as well as the private sector.

Rebecca’s expertise and research interests are in facilitation and coordinating collaboration among multiple organizations. Within her work, she takes a business-oriented approach, focusing on quality products designed to meet defined needs and goals. Rebecca has over a decade of experience designing and developing training programs and other performance improvement interventions. These programs have encompassed a broad range of media and have been applied in a wide variety of environments. Rebecca is an experienced project manager; in addition to instructional and performance technology work, she manages software development and business process–related projects. Rebecca is a published author and has presented at many industry and government conferences.

Rebecca has performed instructional and performance technology work for the Department of Veterans Affairs, Navy, Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, Centers for Disease Control, National Guard Bureau, Intermountain Healthcare, Boeing, Albertsons Inc., Idaho Supreme Court, Western Governors University, West Publishing Company, and the Smithsonian Institution. Rebecca may be reached at Bodrero@ctc.com.

Shane BushT. Shane Bush, CPT, of Bush Co, Inc., provides services to aggressive organizations in the area of performance improvement. His clients include companies such as Textron Inc., Fluor, BWXT, Battelle, Bechtel, Fluor, BNG America, Washington Group, Westinghouse, CH2M Hill, Grand Teton National Park, Forrest Service, Rosemark Health Care, Department of Energy, Stanford University, Berkeley University, Lawrence Livermore University, Cessna, Lycoming Engines, Bell Helicopter, Cirque De Soleil, and numerous others. Shane has provided keynote addresses at Princeton University, VPPPA Region X, BWXT Safety Summits, Bechtel Safety Conferences, DOE Emergency Preparedness Conference, American Society of Safety Engineers, Washington Group Annual Safety Conference, as well as numerous presentations at national conventions.

Shane started his career in 1980 as a health physics technician working in numerous commercial nuclear power plants supporting refueling activities. In 1984 he then began working at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) and is currently on a three-year professional leave from the INL working for Bush Co, Inc. Shane’s career has included facilitating accident investigation courses for DOE (Management Oversight & Risk Tree/Accident Investigation), working in all areas of radiological control, implementing safety programs such as Integrated Safety Management, Voluntary Protection Program, and Human Performance. Shane also facilitates numerous leadership courses.  

Shane has an AA in nuclear technology, a BS in corporate training, an MS in industrial safety; he is a Registered Radiation Protection Technologist (NRRPT) and is a Certified Performance Technologist (CPT) with the International Society for Performance Improvement. Shane works as an adjunct professor at the University of Idaho facilitating graduate courses in behavior based safety, human performance fundamentals, and human error investigation. Shane has been involved in developing and overseeing a university 15 credit Human Performance Certificate program at the U of I as well. Shane may be reached at bushco@cableone.net.

Jay SpitulnikJay Spitulnik, CPT, EdM, celebrated his fifth anniversary in health care in 2008. He works as an organizational consultant for Lifespan, a health system in Providence, RI. Lifespan has four hospitals and a physicians’ PSO, plus a central corporate services organization.

Jay’s duties involve everything that falls under the definition of an OD practitioner. If you look at the HPT model on the ISPI website, that is also pretty much what an OD practitioner does. Although Jay has only been in health care for five years, he has been doing PI work for about 30 years. His graduate training was in instructional technology and, like many others, he got his start as a training professional and has evolved into the OD/PI practice. He is currently working on a PhD in organizational psychology that he hopes to complete next year. When Jay first became involved with ISPI it was National Society, not international, and PI stood for programmed instruction, not performance improvement. Jay may be reached at jspitulnik@lifespan.org.

Margaret (Marge) Stemzynski, CPT, is the senior learning development specialist for the Oakwood Healthcare Inc., a major health care system in Southeast Michigan with four acute hospitals, a long-term care facility, and numerous physician practices. Marge manages the Learning and Development Department that provides leadership development for over 600 managers.

Marge is proactive regarding upcoming changes and strives to position the department as a strategic partner with the organization, aligning leadership programs with Oakwood’s strategic goals. She also plays a significant role in the Service Excellence initiatives of the organization, serving on the Employee Engagement, Physician Engagement and Leadership Development teams.

Prior to coming to Oakwood, Marge enjoyed a career in health care as a registered dietitian and a certified diabetes educator. Striving to add value for the customer and improve patient outcomes, she obtained her master’s degree in adult instruction and human performance technology. A passion for human performance technology led to a work assignment in the manufacturing sector for the skilled Trade Apprentice Program of a large automotive company for six years after graduation. Unable to resist the satisfaction of a career in health care, she came full circle and joined the Oakwood system. Margaret understands the unique challenges of the health care industry and strives to support human capital, which is the greatest resource of any organization. Marge may be reached at stemzynm@oakwood.org.

Mike WichmanMike Wichman, CPT, is the CEO of Wichman & Associates. Mike has been consulting with business leaders and managers for over 25 years. He has successfully improved employee and organizational performance in many diverse organizations from Milwaukee Road, Yellow Freight, Ryder, Ohio University, and USAA to American Express and NASA. Most recently he led a team of instructional designers to prepare and launch a global e-learning project. Mike is a Certified Performance Technologist who sees human performance as dependent on an environmental system as well as individual capabilities. Mike believes in and practices performance-based training and learning. Mike says, “People learn by doing the job, under job conditions, to job standards.”  Mike is also a certified AchieveGlobal leadership facilitator and Master Trainer. He has created and delivered leadership, process improvement, customer service, and communication training all over the world. Mike facilitates strategic planning with organizations and individuals helping them crystallize their vision, core values, mission, and goals. Then Mike helps his customers align their resources to those visions, values, and missions. Mike is an inclusive leader who honors all stakeholders and is experienced in working in union environments. Mike has extensive experience in helping organizations brand themselves through the organization’s customer experience. Mike may be reached at wickworks@sbcglobal.net or www.wick-works.com.

Your Story

If you have a story to tell that you think others would value, send it to judy@ispi.org.

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2009 conference banner

Students Needed in Orlando

We are currently seeking student volunteers to join us in Orlando, Florida between April 19-22, 2009 at THE Performance Improvement Conference. If you want to become part of the volunteer team, now is the time to let us know. We only have a limited number of volunteer opportunities available.

We are accepting applications for a limited number of hard-working, knowledgeable, enthusiastic people who are interested in serving as conference volunteers at THE Performance Improvement Conference in Orlando, Florida. Volunteers receive the following compensation:

  • Volunteers receive free conference and/or workshop registration.
  • Complimentary breaks and networking lunches.
  • Networking opportunities with other student volunteers.
  • Access to expert practitioners in the field of human performance technology.
  • Opportunities to become more involved in your professional organization.

To learn more about the available opportunities, and to tell us how you’d like to be involved, contact Ellen Kaplan at conference@ispi.org.

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ISPI Career Center

The International Society for Performance Improvement’s
Career Center will revolutionize how you search for jobs and source candidates! Our 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:

Seattle Children’s Hospital, Research & Foundation
Training Specialist
Job Location: Seattle, Washington 98105
Job Type: Full Time

Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario
LEAN Process Improvement Specialist
Job Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Job Type: Full Time

Resource Associates Corporation
Job Location: Nationwide Locations, United States
Job Type: Contract

Memorial Health System
Senior Organization Development Internal Consultant
Job Location: Springfield, Illinois 62781
Job Type: Full Time

NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS)
Tests & Measurement Specialist
Job Location: New York, New York 10007
Job Type: Full Time

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ISPI logo



ISPI’s SkillCast Webinars
Career Development Series

Join us for
SkillCast webinars presented by Marshall Brown and Sharon Armstrong of Marshall Brown & Associates.

The series includes Building Success Through Strong Networking, February 24, 2009, and Behavioral Interviewing, March 24, 2009.

These SkillCast webinars 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 www.ispi.org/webcasts.

Recorded and Available!

With the re-launch of ISPIís SkillCast
webinars with a new vendor, Boston Conferencing, ISPI is proud to announce you can view our past SkillCast webinars at your convenience beginning with Julyís presentation. If you missed the opportunity to attend Jim Hill, Ruth Clark, Margo Murray, or any of our past live SkillCast webinars, you can hear the recorded session and obtain the handouts. For more information and to order these webinars, visit www.ispi.org/content.aspx?id=390. 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.

Schedule of Events


  • January 14, SuperFrames: Combining Job Aids and Performance Based Activities to Increase Transfer with Darryl Sink, EdD
  • February 11, Innovation: Strategies and Practices with Donald Tosti, CPT, PhD
  • February 24, Building Success Through Strong Networking (Career Development Series, Session 3) with Marshall Brown and Sharon Armstrong
  • March 11, How the Unconnected Employee Hurts Your Business & What To Do About It with Lynne Waymon

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

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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 Sales, 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.

Don’t miss out on Principles and Practices Institute on January 27-29, 2009, in San Francisco, CA. Imagine obtaining performance improvement techniques that deliver measurable results. Register today!


Attend the ProSeries Workshop, February 17-20, 2009, in Las Vegas, NV. Professional development designed for the performance professional. Register today!

Join us for THE Performance Improvement Conference, our Annual Conference, April 19-22, 2009, in Orlando, FL. Early registration deadline is February 11, 2009. Register today!

Magazines, Newsletters, and Journals
Performance Improvement journal is available to subscribers in print and online through John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 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 johnc@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 johnc@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 johnc@ispi.org, 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 johnc@ispi.org.

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

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Silver Spring, MD 20910 USA
Phone: 301.587.8570
Fax: 301.587.8573


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