April 2009

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In this issue:

Membership Survey Article

A Better Way To Frame Change

Ad: 2009 Conference


How Well Do You Handle Workplace Conflict?

Ad: Performance Improvement Institute

iLearning: Create an Innovative
Learning Organization

From the Board

Second Annual HPT Video Podcast Contest

ISPI Member Spotlight

ISPI Needs New PIQ Editor!

ISPI Bestows Honorary Awards

PT Certification in Education

Industry Networking Roundtables at Conference

Tales from the Field

University Case Study Competition Culminates at Conference

CPT News from Around the World

ISPI Recognizes Excellence in the Field of HPT

A Crisis Is a Terrible Thing to Waste

SkillCast Webinars

Career Center

Performance Marketplace

Join ISPI Now!

Newsletter Submission Guidelines

ISPI Board of Directors

ISPI Advocates

Back Issues





Building for a Better Tomorrow:
Membership Survey Article

Thank you to the more than one-third of our members who provided valuable feedback by participating in ISPI’s online Membership Survey which kicked off in January and concluded in March. We asked members for their input in the areas of membership, professional development, chapters, and communication. In addition, we gathered useful demographic information and provided an opportunity for open-ended responses.

As an incentive to participate, members were given the opportunity to enter their name into a drawing to win one of three $100 American Express gift cards. We are proud to announce the following three members who were randomly selected as our winners:

  • Gary DePaul, CPT, PhD, Florida
  • Ward Mann, CPT, Oregon
  • Joan Ustin, South Carolina

Congratulations, and thanks again to everyone who participated. The data from the survey is important to both the Board of Directors as they focus on ISPI’s strategic direction and the staff as they develop and implement member programs and services. Look to a future issue of PerformanceXpress for more details on the survey results.

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A Better Way to Frame Change

by John J. Meggiolaro, The Travid Group

For the majority of us, the word “change” has an immediate and bone-chilling effect, usually based on past experience and often associated with a negative result. Yet business executives and those professionals who specialize in the fine art of change continue to use the word while appearing indifferent and seemingly oblivious to the connotation and images it engenders in others.

Human resistance to change has been well documented throughout history and may be one of our most basic of all instincts—that is to kick and scream whenever we are being forced to move from what we know to something we do not. Yet the need to go from one state to another is often necessary and may even be critical to an organization’s survival. So the question becomes, how do we get those that need to move to be more open and willing to jump aboard the “change” train? I offer that we just simply drop the use of the word “change” and frame it with a more familiar, more appealing, and less threatening word that everyone is more comfortable with—“new.”

Think about it. We use the word “new” every day to explain or describe some change in our life. How many times have you heard a woman say that she has decided to try a new hairstyle? How about when we decide to replace our existing auto or move to another home? We normally explain to friends and family that we decided on a new car or a new home—even if the car or home we plan to purchase has been previously owned. We tell ourselves that we need a new job or a new attitude on life; all coded messages for undertaking some sort of change. Call it psychological deception, but we all tend to do it and, for whatever the reason, it seems to work.

Now it does make perfect sense for change professionals to use the jargon of their profession just as physicians do when talking among themselves. However, it may prove more beneficial for the change manager or change agent to try dropping the word “change” and inserting the word “new” whenever initiating and communicating the change process. Much in the same way a doctor will explain to a patient, in layman’s terms, the nature and extent of the diagnosis.

There is also another dimension to the use of the word “change” that requires serious consideration, and that is that the word is often associated with the belief that a mistake or poor judgment was initially involved. For example, we have all heard the phrase “we need to change direction.” On first blush, our reaction is that we will now be heading in a different way. But beyond that thought and lurking close to the surface is the strongly held belief that the original plan was ill conceived, that someone made a mistake, or that someone got it wrong from the start. And usually that someone is judged to be the leader or senior management.

On the flip-side, the word “new” tends to impart a more positive and energizing feeling, often bordering on the reassuring notion of hope. Just think back to that new car or new home and the feelings of excitement that were swelling within. And while the new item may not have been truly new in the purest sense, you cannot deny that you did feel better about where you were and where you were going and there was little thought that a prior mistake had been made.

In truth, the need for change is a constant and ever-demanding requirement for any organization if it hopes to remain relevant and successful. Moreover, a simple reframing of the organization’s intent will not, in and of itself, overcome the natural anxiety that comes with the change process. Yet, using the word “new” would seem to more closely represent and better define the desired outcome of change; that is to move from a current state to a different (i.e., new) state. And it may also make that critical first step of gaining acceptance and commitment that much easier.

John Meggiolaro is the managing partner of The Travid Group, a business/ management consulting and professional skills development firm in New Jersey. John may be reached at jmegg@thetravidgroup.com.

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2009 Conference ad

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In truth, the need for change is a constant and ever-demanding requirement for any organization if it hopes to remain relevant and successful.



TrendSpotters: The Moxie Coefficient

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

Do you have moxie? In our current financial climate, moxie may be just the leverage you need to make a difference in your organization’s performance and in your career. Jim Hill, CPT, EdD, joins us this month to help us leverage our Moxie Coefficient. Jim, info@proofpoint.net, is CEO of Proofpoint Systems, an organizational performance diagnostic software provider, past president of ISPI, and consistent innovative contributor to performance improvement. He adds the very timely Moxie Coefficient tool to the TrendSpotters Open Toolkit (TOT).

Genesis of the Tool

The Moxie Coefficient is a combination of Jim’s research on executive confidence, attribution theory, and self-regulation, and the decision tools in the Proofpoint analysis and decision support software applications that assess stakeholder and sponsor backing and organizational readiness for change. The result is a simple assessment that helps people determine whether or not they are ready to strongly advocate for a project or program. That level of readiness is an indicator of one’s personal level of confidence, or Moxie.

Description of the Tool

The Moxie Coefficient is a 10-item assessment. There are four steps to complete it. The questions ask about the nature of the project followed by a number of self-assessment items. Totaling the answers leads to an appraisal of the situation and either advises caution or encourages going forward.

How to Use the Tool

Click here to download the Moxie Assessment Sheet (PDF).

Jim advises that it is best to have a moderate level of confidence to ensure maximum effort. If we are under-confident, we think we are destined to fail and do not exert the necessary effort. If we are over-confident, we think success is inevitable, and since we are certain of the outcome, we do not prepare or work hard enough.

Many performance consultants find it challenging to get recognized by their executive team. We tend to be more tactical than strategic. The Moxie Coefficient can help us identify the strong points and vulnerabilities in our projects and understand our professional strengths and weaknesses, so when we present an idea or ask for executive support, we are more likely to get what we want.

Some ways to use the Moxie Coefficient:

  • Assess your readiness to present a project or idea
  • Determine your team’s likelihood of success with a project or initiative
  • Assess potential new hires or project team members

Success Story

After looking at the Moxie Coefficient, you can probably name at least one co-worker who has moxie. At TrendSpotters Central, we immediately thought of a colleague of ours who exemplified the benefits of moxie to both the organization we worked for and to her own professional success. As an internal consultant, Ms. Moxie supported the performance improvement efforts of several field groups that included executives, managers, salespeople, frontline service workers, and technical specialists. They considered her an indispensible member of the team. Ms. Moxie succeeded by leveraging her:

  • Previous work experience in the field
  • Existing contacts including managers, supervisors, and co-workers
  • Knowledge of the business in the geographical areas she supported
  • Continuing interest in keeping up with new developments that affected her internal clients
  • Community involvement in the market area
  • Well-developed social and communication skills to build executive relationships
  • Ability to assess situations against the internal political arena and provide strategic recommendations

Advice to Users of The Moxie Coefficient

Using this tool is fun and informative. It is simple and quick, and makes a great conversation guide. Jim suggests using the Moxie Coefficient as a self-readiness check, a team tool in a staff meeting, or perhaps to guide a conversation with a project sponsor. Try using it as a bridge between a current tactical approach and a more strategic one.

Links to the Performance Technology Landscape

The Moxie Coefficient supports these principles of performance technology:


Focus on Results: Moxie helps you get the business and demonstrates your reliability.


Take a System view: Moxie requires you to understand the organizational system: the work, worker, and workplace.


Add Value: Moxie demonstrates that you can deliver and maximize your value to your organization, clients, and co-workers.


Establish Partnerships: Moxie prepares you to partner for success.

Application Exercise

Think about a project you are currently working on. Either alone or with your project team,talk through the questions and determine the appropriate next steps. The Moxie Coefficient will help ensure that you have thought through all aspects of the project and identified the support you need to be successful.

You can also use it to assess many teams. The result would be a “Moxie Map” of your organization that would fit in to a broader “performance map” showing where there are high and low confidence levels.

Advice for Our Times

The Moxie Coefficient gives you a mechanism to take advantage of tough times. In many organizations, we are looking at survival of the fittest. We think the fittest have moxie. They are strong performers who tackle tough issues in tough environments, deliver beyond their jobs, and earn a seat at the table.

Click here to find all the models and tools featured in TrendSpotters.

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

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Jim Hill



How Well Do You Handle Workplace Conflict?

by Marshall Brown, Marshall Brown & Associates

Like taxes, conflict in the workplace is inevitable. This is not all bad. Handled well, conflict can strengthen communication, spark new ideas, and generate new levels of performance. Handled poorly, however, workplace conflict can damage important relationships and drag down productivity. In fact, many agree that the ability to manage conflicts can make or break a career. Take this self-quiz to discover how well you handle conflict in the workplace.

Self Quiz: Conflict in the Workplace

1. If the conflict is escalating, I offer to set the subject aside and address it later, possibly in a separate meeting. No Yes
2. Defining the problem—and making sure that everyone agrees on this definition—sets me well on the way to solving the problem. No Yes
3. I avoid attacking or criticizing, and I control my language. It does not help any situation to be offensive or raise people’s defenses. No Yes
4. Because good decisions are sometimes reached when everyone gives a little, I keep myself flexible and open to compromise. No Yes
5. I do all I can to not get defensive. I listen to what others have to say and honestly evaluate whether their opinions might be valid. No Yes
6. In any conflict, I keep my focus on a positive, solution-based outcome in which all can win. No Yes
7. Even if it feels uncomfortable, I look the other person in the eye, showing respect for that person and for myself. No Yes
8. I try to listen to and understand the feelings and needs beneath the spoken statements of others. No Yes
9. My attention and activities are focused on what I can influence and control, and how I can make a difference. No Yes
10. I explore with myself how my actions might have contributed to the conflict situation. No Yes
11. Taking a bigger view is often all it takes to resolve for myself the smaller problems and irritations. No Yes
12. I recognize that not everyone will live up to my expectations all the time. No Yes
13. Maintaining a sense of humor is an important “tool” in my conflict toolbox. No Yes
14. I work to establish ground rules for how to resolve the conflict. No Yes
15. In conflicts, I take the time to deal with people face-to-face rather than by email. No Yes
16. I challenge myself and others to be creative about the possibilities for conflict resolution available to us. No Yes
17. I try to deal with regularly occurring conflicts and those that negatively impact my productivity before they escalate to a bigger conflict.
No Yes

If you answered yes to fewer than 10 questions, you might benefit from learning new communications skills. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to work together to develop these. Remember, when confronting office conflicts, it is best to keep the focus on work-related issues, not personality. Doing so can help you keep a cool head—and your career on track.

Marshall will be presenting in ISPI’s Career Center at the 2009 conference in Orlando. Would you like to discuss your career goals with a professional coach? Do you want to have your resume reviewed? Want to practice your interviewing skills and get immediate feedback? Do not miss an opportunity to meet with a career coach one on one. Space is limited. Contact Francis George at 301-587-8570 x110 or send an email to francisg@ispi.org.

Marshall Brown, a certified career and executive coach has always had a passion for helping people find ways to live more fulfilling lives. He found that a personalized, “no nonsense” approach to coaching was the most efficient and effective way to get people on a successful life course. As a coach, Marshall helps individuals to find their passions and encourages them to move ahead in reaching their goals. Marshall may be contacted at marshall@mbrownassociates.com or www.mbrownassociates.com.

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In fact, many agree that the ability to manage conflicts can make or break a career.



iLearning: How to Create an Innovative
Learning Organization

ISPI has partnered with author Mark Salisbury and John Wiley & Sons to bring you a new book, iLearning: How to Create an Innovative Learning Organization. According to Salisbury, most organizations do not know what they know when it comes to improving their performance. The traditional way of sending workers “away” to a training session to learn what they need to know does not help organizations build on what they know. Even having workers “go away” to a distance education course that is launched from their workstation takes them too far away from the learning that is needed for their immediate work. It is becoming apparent that learning must be part of work—and that it must take place in collaboration with others as teams solve problems together. iLearning is a means for organizations to facilitate this innovative learning in a purposeful manner. Once instituted, iLearning becomes an organizational strategy for innovation.

Salisbury invites you to celebrate the arrival of iLearning by signing up to win one of five new iPod Touches. To do so, visit: www.ilearningu.com/newsletter.aspx.

Mark Salisbury has an extensive academic background in economics, computer and information science, and education. Professional experience includes working for a large aerospace company and successfully founding and running a high-tech startup company. He is currently an associate professor at the University of New Mexico where he teaches courses and conducts research in the way organizations create, preserve, and distribute their knowledge. As a result of this vast experience, he is a leading expert on preparing individuals, groups, and organizations for success in the new knowledge economy.

Salisbury will be speaking at THE Performance Improvement Conference in Orlando, Florida, on Wednesday, April 22. In addition, he will participate in a book signing at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 21.

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From the Board
A Vision for the Future

by Darlene Van Tiem, CPT, PhD, ISPI 2008-09 President-Elect

Human performance technology (HPT) is an emerging field with much to offer because is it comprehensive and inclusive. We look at issues, challenges, and situations from a holistic view—we can approach issues without excluding factors. For example, HPT can combine a quality orientation focused on improving or perfecting the delivery of services and products with a communications orientation enhancing teamwork, consensus, and clarity to issues while measurably adding value for all stakeholders. Using this comprehensive approach, ISPI has important work to do throughout the world to foster application of HPT.

This upcoming year will be full of challenges and opportunities for ISPI. With HPT as our mindset, we will focus on our four principles:

  • Results-orientation
  • Value-add in our activities, initiatives, and direction
  • Systemic and systematic approach based on internal and external value-added
  • Partnering and collaboration with our members, our field, our Society

Grassroots take ISPI into the communities and often introduce businesses, nonprofits, government agencies, universities, and other community groups to ISPI and HPT. For this year’s Annual Conference in Orlando, the pre-conference chapter leaders’ workshop has more chapter leaders enrolled than ever before, underscoring the importance of our chapters. Chapters are important because they provide a network of professionals enabling projects to be completed and enable expertise to develop and flourish regionally. Chapters often have job-referral services, new member orientation, and other outreach activities that help those new to the field gain experience. ISPI is strong globally, which is another important grassroots aspect. Some countries are developing communities of Certified Performance Technologist (CPT) practice within their chapters. They are becoming a cadre of practitioners who can help each other with projects and initiatives, and coach new emerging talent into the field. The Board encourages more international involvement through the new International Implementation Committee that will focus on actions that support our members globally.

ISPI is being asked to participate in new initiatives associated with the emerging changes in society. As the Director of Certification, July Hale has been instrumental in forming industry groups. These are groups of CPTs who are actively seeking ways to enhance their industry area through application of HPT. For example, the Environmental Industry Group, known as the “green team,” will be showcasing the work of an environmental clean-up company located in Alaska. The Health Industry Group is creating one-page discussion guides designed to pose CPT-oriented questions, such as issues of regulatory compliance. In addition, governmental agencies with new mandates are coming to ISPI asking for assistance as they develop certifications and accreditations.

ISPI has been in the midst of change, leading to transformation, and will continue that effort with new energy. The research community, university professors, students, and graduates have put a great deal of effort into providing outstanding conference programming, including bringing in a guest speaker and providing monetary support for worthy research. ISPI values their evidence-based, research-to-practice approach. One practical application is the Indiana University comprehensive effort to evaluate the CPT standards based on the actual practice of CPTs, which is leading to revisions of the CPT standards to keep them up to date, realistic, and of high integrity.

ISPI’s two stellar outputs are THE Annual Performance Improvement Conference and its publications. In Orlando, as at other conferences, attendees value connecting with gurus or senior leaders in the field, hearing cutting-edge insights, networking and sharing ideas, and getting quick tips from the Cracker Barrel and other Community Center activities. ISPI’s publications are admired by those looking for new ideas from around the world and by scholars looking carefully at the evidence provided. Even in these successful venues, we will be looking for ways to serve our members and the HPT field better.

We are an organization of members willing to volunteer and who care about our Society and other members. In the “Best of ISPI” online survey that Jennifer Rosenzweig and I conducted last year, members told of many instances where colleagues helped each other, particularly at the chapter level. I close by emphasizing that ISPI members are very special—I am amazed at the number of times colleagues indicate that they admire the intelligence of caring, patient, thoughtful, thought-provoking members.

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Second Annual HPT Practitioner
Video Podcast Contest

The goal of ISPI’s Video Podcast Contest, spearheaded by Guy Wallace, is to showcase the diversity of human performance technology (HPT) situations and applications and practitioners. The dual focus this year is on HPT elevator speeches and everyone’s current or next focus for learning more about the diversity of human performance technology.

This year’s five-point script is:

  1. Name/Home location: _________
  2. First exposure to HPT was: _______ when: ________
  3. My biggest influences have been (people, books, articles, etc.): ____
  4. Your 30-second elevator speech on “HPT” or “What I do”: ________
  5. Your current or next focus for learning more about HPT is on: ______

You can interview your subject—or have your subject speak directly into the camera.

Joe Harless has again agreed to be one of the first for this year’s efforts!

The Board of Directors will vote for the one winning podcast that meets the goals and rules of the contest. Up to two prizes will be awarded to the “best” submission’s subject and video producer—if they are different people. The prize is either a free annual ISPI membership or a copy of the Handbook of Human Performance Technology.

Our 2008 HPT Podcast Contest winners include Margo Murray and the team of Mari Novak and Steven Kelly.

Why not get started? Take your three- to five-minute video—edit and add a title slide at the beginning and a credit slide at the end to identify the subject, the producer, and both the date and location where the video was taken—and then post it online at YouTube or Google Video, etc. Then post/embed your Video at HPT Connections —where you can find the 2008 submissions, the rules for 2009, and guidelines and tips to walk you through the submission/posting/embedding process.

You do not have to be a member of ISPI—at either the international or chapter levels—but you do need to be a registered member of HPT Connections. It is free to post your submission. Once registered, check it out and then share with your fellow HPT practitioners!

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ISPI Member Spotlight
An Interview with Ildi Oravecz

by Brian Johnson

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 Ildi Oravecz, human performance technologist for the Department of Energy Training Center.

Brian: How long have you been a member of ISPI?

Ildi: This is my third year as a member. I got involved at the chapter level some years ago. It wasn’t until I joined the the board of our local chapter that I became an international member.

What got you into HPT?

I was teaching English overseas for a nonprofit organization and was there for five years. I continued in the nonprofit arena doing some training, working with an internship program, and working with youth in a leadership development program. We took them on summer trips overseas and it was exciting to see these young people take ownership of things and grow as people and leaders. After that I went into sales and marketing training for about four years and was working on my master’s degree in the Organizational Learning and Instructional Technology program at the University of New Mexico. One of the classes I had to take required that the student go to a meeting, so I went to a local chapter (NMISPI) meeting and bumped into somebody I knew and had not connected with in a long time. And it was because of my relationship with this person that I got more involved with ISPI than I did with any other professional organizations. I think that the 10 Standards of Performance Technology resonated as far as HPT versus just training and development or instructional design because it was more holistic: that’s my approach in general. When you’re working in an organization, you see that what you do is not in a vacuum. Everything you do affects everybody else around you. You’re part of an “organism.” So [HPT] seems to make more sense to me.

How would you explain HPT to someone unfamiliar with the term or concept?

I would try to deconstruct it for them and say that it’s all about improving performance and that the focus is on people. You identify gaps and where you need to address your solutions. I would give the example of an athlete who is trying to improve their performance. They are measuring how quickly they are running and they want to increase their speed for a marathon. The athlete realizes that they have to increase their speed by a certain amount and they set about determining what they need to do to get faster. They begin interval training or perhaps adjust their diet to get to that next level. It’s a lot like that in the work world.

Have there been any situations in your non-corporate, non-business life where you consciously used HPT tools?

I think it gets into your blood—it’s something you’re always doing, consciously or unconsciously. I remember at the Annual Conference last year (New York City) when we were in the dessert lines on the harbor cruise and we were all standing there, joking about how we should arrange the tables to speed up the process! It just becomes part of your thought process, your personality.

What do you think sets ISPI apart from other organizations? What keeps you in the Society?

The caliber of people involved in ISPI is incredibly high. We have all different sorts of industries in New Mexico and that really feeds a variety of perspectives into the local chapter and that makes it easier on the local level to trade ideas face-to-face. There’s a sense of family. It’s like a family of professionals, a very welcoming group. The quality of our speakers is very good. For instance, we had Judy Hale come out and speak to our chapter and we were very lucky to have her. How wonderful to be able to offer that opportunity to our chapter members! I’ve really made my professional home on the local level—my network has been built there and REALLY grown. On an international level, I “caught the bug” when I attended the 2007 Annual Conference in San Francisco. My director of training, Jerry Harbour, has been involved in ISPI for many years, to different degrees, and is very much a performance improvement person; he just wrote his fifth book deconstructing HPT (The Performance Paradox: Understanding the Real Drivers that Critically Affect Outcomes). Having that type of influence at work along with meeting people at the annual conferences and the level of questions people ask during the conference sessions keeps me involved. I quite like the size of the sessions at the conferences and of the conferences overall. The president of a local chapter for another professional organization and I were talking about some of the differences and someone asked how the two conferences differ. She said that there were a lot of similarities but that the ASTD conference had MANY more people and I don’t think bigger is always better. Super-sizing things might be okay for some things but I don’t think it’s necessarily beneficial for a professional organization. When I can see the faces of people who are the really big speakers, the “ head honchos” whose sessions I’ve sat in on, when I see them on the elevator and have a little chat or we wave to each other when we pass, that REALLY speaks to me, as opposed to be being a nameless face in a huge crowd. Just like at our state chapter level, it’s a bit of a village with an accepting, family-like, welcoming atmosphere.

I highly recommend ISPI and I’m constantly encouraging local chapter members to join at the international level. We also try to always highlight ISPI international and not just our local chapter. We want people to have the big picture of people you can connect with.

Thank you, Ilda, for your enthusiasm and inspiration as an ISPI member for taking time to share your insights with us!

Know of a member who you think would make an interesting member spotlight? Is there someone you think has an interesting story to share? Send your recommendations and nominations to Brian Johnson at brianj@ispi.org.

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Ildi Oravecz



ISPI Needs New PIQ Editor!

The International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) is looking for a new editor to serve a three-year term for our highly-acclaimed publication, Performance Improvement Quarterly (PIQ). PIQ is a highly respected journal in the field of human performance technology (HPT) entering it’s 22nd year of publication. As a peer-reviewed journal its goal is to stimulate professional discussion and to advance the discipline of performance technology through the publication of scholarly works.

The editor should have an understanding of the practice of human performance technology as well as its theoretical underpinnings. The editor must be able to recognize sound applications of performance technology (especially in the workplace) which are supported by the use of theory. The editor must be able to identify valid research and practice related to the field of performance improvement.

For more information, click here or contact John Chen at johnc@ispi.org or 301.587.8570 x106.

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ISPI Bestows Honorary Awards on Three Longtime Members

The International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) has three special honorary awards that recognize outstanding individuals for their significant contributions to human performance technology (HPT) and to the Society itself. Those awards are the Honorary Life Member Award, Thomas F. Gilbert Distinguished Professional Achievement Award, and the Distinguished Service Award. ISPI is pleased to announce this year’s recipients: Carl Binder, Judith A. Hale, and Karen Medsker. The awards will be bestowed at THE Performance Improvement Conference 2009, April 19–22.

Honorary Life Member

Carl BinderISPI’s Honorary Life Member Award honors one of our colleagues for the totality of his or her contributions to both ISPI and the field of HPT over the course of his or her career to date. This award is not necessarily awarded every year, as it requires the unanimous agreement of two consecutive ISPI Boards. This year, ISPI is happy to announce that this year we have selected Carl Binder, CPT, PhD, as our newest Honorary Life Member.

What we strive to accomplish at ISPI is moving forward the evidence-based state of the art in performance improvement, but also getting it applied in the world in ways that are measurably value-added. Carl’s career has role-modeled this approach. After beginning his career as a graduate student with B. F. Skinner at Harvard University, Carl spent 10 years as associate director of a human learning research laboratory where his work established a foundation for what was to become the FluencyBuilding™ instructional technology. In 1982, Carl founded Precision Teaching and Management Systems, Inc., to bring the fruits of this research into practical application. In 1992, he co-founded Product Knowledge Systems, Inc., with Information Mapping, Inc., to extend fluency-based performance systems, HPT, and what are now called “knowledge management” strategies to Fortune 500 sales and marketing organizations. Carl is currently co-founder and senior partner of Binder-Riha Associates, focused on bringing its Six Boxes™ workshops and coaching programs to users in all functions and at all levels in organizations.

Carl has been a member of ISPI since 1985, and a very active one. In addition to participating on and chairing committees, Carl has been authoring articles and chapters for ISPI publications since 1988, commonly makes three or four presentations at each annual conference, and has been a Master’s Series presenter twice and an Encore presenter nine times. Carl also frequently presents workshops at annual conferences and local chapters around the world. From 1997 to 2001 Carl co-led the Got Results? Campaign, which recognized our colleagues who are documenting accomplishment-based results.

Carl has long been an effective ambassador for ISPI and HPT to related fields such as applied behavior analysis and the educational policy community. Through presentations and publications (including publications outside our field such as Behavior and Social Issues, Teaching Exceptional Children, and Software Marketing Journal), he makes sure they are hearing about HPT accomplishments while also getting them to share their accomplishments at ISPI. What more could we ask for from an Honorary Life Member? He is still young too, so we may find out.

Thomas F. Gilbert Distinguished Professional Achievement Award

Judith HaleNamed after a foundational contributor to the field of human performance technology, this award recognizes those who have made outstanding contributions to the knowledge and practice of HPT. This year the award is presented to Judith A. Hale, CPT, PhD.

As a Society, we will never fully realize how lucky we are that Judy became interested in human performance technology and decided to contribute to our organization. How can we fully appreciate the contributions that she has made? Judy is the penultimate multi-tasker. We have had phone meetings while Judy is feeding her dogs and washing her hair in the kitchen sink. Due to her vast energy and wit, Judy can draw upon her previous experiences and immediately provide an example of almost anything that she is having a conversation about.

As a Gilbert Award winner, Judy is recognized widely in the field. Her leadership and competency-defining efforts with the International Bureau of Standards for Training and Performance Improvement (IBSTPI) led to her designation as “fellow.” Her work with ISPI’s Standards of Performance Technology resulted in the Certified Performance Technologist (CPT) designation. The standards were developed by a “kitchen cabinet,” a highly regarded group of scholars and practitioners, including leaders in many highly respected industries. Judy has mentored hundreds of CPT candidates as well as HPT practitioners.

Judy has provided outstanding leadership in ISPI. She was president of ISPI in 2001–2002 and active in the Chicago Chapter for years. In 2006, she was awarded ISPI Honorary Life Member. She has published four books on performance and countless articles. Judy’s versatility is evident when members view annual conference books and see that Judy is participating in probably over six presentations each year. Judy has provided leadership, scholarship, wisdom, and the standards of our field; clearly, she has made outstanding contributions to the knowledge and practice of HPT.

Distinguished Service Award

Karen MedskerThis award, determined by a vote of the ISPI Board of Directors, recognizes long-term, outstanding, and significant contributions to the betterment of ISPI. This year’s award goes to Karen Medsker, PhD.

Karen Medsker has over 30 years of experience in the field of education, training, and performance improvement. After earning her PhD in Instructional Systems from Florida State University, she was an instructional technologist and course development manager at AT&T Bell Laboratories. Later, she was director of Instructional Development at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis. She is currently professor emerita at Marymount University, where she taught instructional design and performance improvement for 17 years.

In 1997, she founded Human Performance Systems, Inc. (HPSI), of which she is the president and principal consultant. HPSI creates custom training and other performance improvement tools and consults on related issues. Clients include ExxonMobil, federal government agencies, and nonprofit organizations such as Goodwill Industries and United Way of America.

Karen’s publications include two books on instructional design: The Conditions of Learning: Training Applications, co-authored with Robert M. Gagné in 1995; and Models and Strategies for Training Design, co-authored with Kristina Holdsworth in 2001. She is also a chapter author and section editor of the 2006 Handbook of Human Performance Technology edited by Jim Pershing.

Karen’s involvement in ISPI began in 1980, when she became a charter member of the New Jersey Chapter. Later, she was a founder and first president of the Indianapolis Chapter. Her move to Washington, DC, was driven partly by the fame of the Potomac Chapter, where Karen has been active for more than 20 years—as president and in other leading roles.

At the international level, Karen has been a presenter at workshops and conferences, a member of several committees, and a participant in planning sessions for the Society. With Michael Cassidy, she served as co-editor for Performance Improvement Quarterly from 2002–2009.

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PT Certification in Education

by Jeanne Hites Anderson, CPT, EdD

The perceived value of obtaining ISPI’s human performance technology (HPT) certification is the key to whether the Certified Performance Technologist (CPT) designation achieves successful brand recognition by individuals and employers across industries. There is broad acceptance of the CPT designation in the IT world as shown by over 70 certifications, which seems driven by the need for third party verification of skills based on a widely valued set of standards and competencies (Paul, 1996, p. 43). However, a recent survey of ISPI members in the educational arena—conducted by our Education Industry Committee—indicates that the same acceptance of certification for performance technology in education is yet to come.

Specifically, a survey was conducted to determine the perceptions of certification by K-12 or university educators. The ISPI education industry team invited 200 ISPI members to take the survey. It was hosted using SurveyMonkey and distributed to both CPTs and non-CPTs. The 58 respondents ranged in years of experience from 1 to over 50 years’ experience, with most in having 6 to 21 years’ experience. Over 41% had “very significant familiarity” with certification; and of those who chose to pursue certification, over 50% said “personal or professional value” was an influencing factor. Over 40% of non-CPTs said cost was the reason they chose not to pursue certification. Forty-one percent of respondents felt that employers showed some preference for certified performance technologists.

The data from the survey yielded both suggestions and concerns. Respondents were asked for ways to improve visibility and recognition of the CPT designation. Partnerships with schools and businesses were most often suggested. These were followed by promotions that highlighted case studies of effective use of HPT principles and businesses and business people that used these principles. Several people suggested that these studies and research should be published in non-ISPI professional publications that would reach a broad range of business and academic professionals. Several respondents expressed concern over cost for certification.

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Figure 1. Ways to improve visibility and recognition of the CPT

Responses generally fell into four categories: promotion, price, product, and place. Suggestions for promotion included publicizing the value of the certification (advertising, publishing, and presenting), building partnerships (with schools, businesses, prominent business people, other professional associations, and local chapters), and conducting research on the value of the CPT to use in building awareness. Under the category of price, the cost of certification was a concern to respondents both for themselves and for their students. In the product category, comments were expressed on both sides of the value equation: concerns about the value of certification to individuals and visibility vis-á-vis other such certifications, as well as those who expressed confidence in the rigor of the process. Finally, one respondent suggested that the rigor bar was set too high. Place was mentioned multiple times: members noted that there was no local chapter available nearby (or the chapter had folded) where they might learn about certification or to assist in certification pursuits.

Degree programs are gateways for many new members of the profession. As Marci Paino noted in her article in the March issue of Performance Express, “Attracting new and emerging talented individuals plays an important role in the association’s continuous success and impact within the HPT industry.” Yet 40% of the educators surveyed are concerned that certification “simply costs too much for those on an academic salary and for students.” Subsequently, it seems that the academic gateway may not lead directly to certification. This is consistent with the university survey in Paino’s article where cost concerns topped the student list. In spite of those concerns, the list of 88 suggestions conveys substantial support for the value of the CPT designation.

As a sub-committee, we extend our deep appreciation for those members who took the time and effort to give us the benefit of their feedback. It is our intent to use this input toward our committee goal of promoting a certification culture in which pursuit of certification will be favored by schools and students; employers will find certification useful as a vetting method for finding acceptable candidates; individuals will seek certification as a career development tool for assessing their own skills and experience; and certification will be viewed as a valid launching pad by entry-level HPT professionals who are seeking to validate their organizational and marketplace value.


Paul, L.G. (1996, July 22). Getting Certified. PC Week V, 13(29), 43.

Paino, M. (2009, March). University survey: A sneak peek at the results. PerformanceXpress. Retrieved March 2, 2009, from www.performancexpress.org/0903.

Jeanne Hites Anderson, CPT, EdD, has been working and consulting in the instructional design field for over 30 years, both in businesses and academia. She is a professor of Information Media at St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minnesota, where she teaches instructional design and research courses. Jeanne may be reached at Jeanne.Anderson@StCloudState.edu.

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Respondents were asked for ways to improve visibility and recognition of the CPT designation.



2009 conference banner

Industry Networking Round Tables at THE Performance Improvement Conference

This session is designed to provide key industry team leaders with an opportunity to share what they are doing to address issues affecting their specific industries and promote the application of human performance technology (HPT) in those industries. Fun, productive, and engaging! Come and learn how globalization and the tightening of financial markets are affecting key industries and government sectors. This year’s sessions include the following industries:

  • Defense
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Environment
  • Financial Services
  • Food & Restaurant
  • Healthcare
  • High Tech
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Professional Services
  • Retail

Hear about HPT at work. We hope to create a frank discussion about real issues, possible solutions, and what you as an individual can offer these industries. And, if you are aspiring to break into these companies, what must you equip yourself with to be part of the value proposition? You cannot afford to miss this new venue!

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Tales From the Field
Did the Training Work? An Evaluation of a Retail Training Program

by Erica L. Smith, Jodene Gilman, Ronda Harris, Corinna Provant-Robishaw, & Scott Rooke

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.

A New Cashier Training Program Implemented at a Retailer Company

Northern Tool + Equipment, a U.S.-based retailer specializing in power tools and equipment for contractors and weekend warriors, operates over 60 retail locations across the country. In light of the current tough economy being faced across the industry, the company decided to slow its growth of retail stores and to focus more heavily on creating consistency between stores and optimizing the retail staff.

In March 2008, the company implemented its first standard cashier training program with several goals in mind: to ensure consistency in cashier training across all retail stores, to set new cashiers up for success, and to reduce cashier turnover. The three-day training program became a requirement for all newly hired full-time and part-time cashiers. Within six months since the inception of the training program, 87 newly hired cashiers were provided the training through each store’s designated cashier trainer.

An Evaluation of the Training Program

In September 2008, the company wanted to evaluate whether the Cashier Training Program was meeting the predetermined goals and to find areas of improvement. The company also wanted to understand the program’s strengths and weaknesses before developing standard training programs for other retail store positions. The authors of this article were the team of evaluators who conducted the evaluation as a semester-long class project in Professor Chyung’s Evaluation Methodology class at Boise State University.

The evaluation team used Michael Scriven’s consumer-oriented approach as a framework of this evaluation project (Davidson, 2005; Scriven, 2007) because it would allow the team to incorporate the stakeholders’ needs into the evaluation design, instead of focusing only on measuring success of the training program against the predetermined goals. The evaluation team, working with stakeholders, identified six dimensions as key indicators of a successful cashier training program (see Table 1). The evaluation team and stakeholders also worked together to develop a method to determine the value of the training program (i.e., how good is good) by creating a rubric for each dimension. The data collection methods the team used were a record review to measure the program costs and turnover dimensions and a survey of cashiers who completed the training program to measure the other four key dimensions.

Key Dimension


1. Curriculum Accuracy

The curriculum accurately covers all aspects of the cashier’s job.

2. Program Consistency

The program is implemented consistently between stores.

3. Learning Environment

The manager and cashier training create a welcoming and positive environment for the new hire.

4. Cashier Confidence

The cashier is confident in his or her job after completing the training.

5. Program Cost

Program costs are minimal.

6. Decreased Turnover

Cashier turnover decreases as a result of the training.

Table 1. Key Dimensions for the Cashier Training Program Evaluation

Evaluation Results and Recommendations

Based on the results of the data analysis, the evaluation team concluded that the training program was excellent in all six dimensions. Analysis of survey results revealed that cashiers were more confident in completing tasks after the training program, had positive interactions with their trainers and managers during the process, and felt that the training program supported their needs to be successful as cashiers. Based on these results, the evaluation team expects that the existing program would continue to produce capable cashiers as long as individual store managers continue to support the training program and ensure its consistency and positive learning environment.

The evaluation team made a number of project recommendations to the client, Northern Tool + Equipment, including the following:

  • The low-cost design and implementation of the training program were found to be effective in teaching new cashiers. This led to the recommendation that these same strategies should be used with other retail training programs going forward.
  • The cash register practice transactions were the least utilized part of the training program. Increasing the amount of practice transactions during the training program was noted to be top priority.
  • There were three training topics with lower confidence ratings than the rest of the other 20 topics. This was noted as an area needing follow-up.
  • The evaluation team discovered several areas lacking easy access to data necessary for comprehensive evaluation. It was recommended that appropriate data be tracked for the Cashier Training Program and that it be made readily accessible for periodic evaluations of the program’s status.


Davidson, E.J. (2005). Evaluation methodology basics: The nuts and bolts of sound evaluation. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Scriven, M. (2007). Key evaluation checklist. Retrieved from www.wmich.edu/ evalctr/checklists/kec_feb07.pdf

All authors are currently working on a Master of Science degree in Instructional and Performance Technology at Boise State University. Erica L. Smith is currently the manager of Learning and Development at Northern Tool + Equipment. Erica may be reached at ericasmith@u.boisestate.edu. Jodene Gilman currently works as a cytotechnologist for the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. Jodene may be reached at jodene_g@yahoo.com. Ronda Harris has been in the training field with various companies for nearly 10 years and currently works as an instructional designer in the telecommunications industry. Ronda may be reached at helpmeronda1117@gmail.com. Corinna Provant-Robishaw is currently a training coordinator for Overstock.com. Corinna may be reached at corinna.provant@gmail.com. Scott Rooke is an active duty lieutenant in the U.S. Coast Guard and is attending college full-time before returning to the service for future assignment as a performance technologist. Scott may be reached at Scott.P.Rooke@uscg.mil.

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Inaugural University Case Study Competition Culminates at Conference in Orlando!

by Dawn Papaila, CPT, Co-chair, 2009 Conference Committee

Five university teams have been competing in ISPI’s Inaugural University Case Study Competition. This high-fidelity simulation is providing graduate students the opportunity to practice performance improvement with a client.

Since January the five teams have been working with a simulated company, Magic Sticks, a blended specialty retailer and wholesaler of baked goods. The company’s principal business is owning and franchising Magic Sticks stores. The five teams have spent the last three months applying human performance technology methodologies to analyze potential gaps and solutions, and create and design intervention proposals. Teams were responsible for interacting with the client, subject matter experts, and workers from the individual franchise stores.

Based on two deliverables—an analysis plan and intervention proposals—the three finalists were selected by a panel of expert judges. These three university teams are (in alphabetical order):

  • Accelerated Performance Improvement Group
  • S-Curve
  • Slam Dunk Solutions

The teams will present their findings at THE Performance Improvement Conference in Orlando. They will receive the benefit of the judges’ feedback and guidance in both written form and in-person during a Q&A session at the conference. Finalists will be recognized at the Closing Session where the first place team will be announced.

Click on Competition Web Portal or go to the HPT Connections page 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.

For more information on the University Case Study Competition, contact Dawn Papaila at dawn.papaila@gmail.com.

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CPT News from Around the World

New CPTs

Please join me in congratulating our new CPTs:

  • Scot B. Lambert, CPT, Steelcase, Steelcase University, Grand Rapid, Michigan
  • Anita S. Moseley, CPT, U.S. Coast Guard, York Town, Virginia
  • Wessel L. van Reede van Oudtshoorn, CPT, Metropolitan Holdings Limited, Bellville, Western Cape, South Africa

Last Chance to Enter the Healthcare Story Contest!

If you have worked in healthcare and have a story to tell, please send your story to Judy@ispi.org to get the details. We are looking for stories that illustrate how HPT helped improve patient safety, patient satisfaction, quality of care, or financial results.

Special Work by CPTs on the Education Industry Team

I want to introduce you to the co-leaders of the Education Industry Team Jeanne Anderson, CPT, EdD, St Cloud University, and Pooja Singh Mehta, CPT. Next month I will tell you about the rest of their team and the results of their survey to about 200 ISPI members who work either full or part time in education.

Jean AndersonJeanne Anderson, CPT, EdD, earned her doctorate at Northern Illinois University where she also received an MFA in sculpture. Her work experience started at MCC Powers as an instructional designer and later at AT&T where she was a marketing specialist and educational technologist. She joined St. Cloud University in 1991 where she still works today.

When asked why she continues to support ISPI, she said:

“One reason I support ISPI is the people, who are truly professional and always generous with their knowledge. I have also found that the professional development at both the chapter and national level is excellent. The emphasis on active learning in conference sessions and institutes and other professional development opportunities make the difference between enduring lectures and really learning. In addition, opportunities abound for learning by doing as a participant on ISPI committees and boards.

I support the CPT process because I believe it has both professional and personal value. Instead of simply passing a multiple-choice test or taking a specified number of courses, the ISPI certification process is rigorous and closely matches our standards and the demands of the workplace. When I earned my CPT, I felt that it verified that I have attained a degree of professional skills and knowledge. As I teach graduate students the principles of HPT, I believe in modeling the skills and attaining the goals I hope to see them pursue.”

Jeanne may be reached at Jeanne.Anderson@StCloudState.edu.

Pooja Singh MehtaPooja Singh Mehta, CPT, is a lead analyst of Advisory Services, Enterprise Learning Solutions, NIIT Ltd. She has a rich experience in different phases of the performance improvement life cycle, spanning over 11 years. Currently, Pooja provides performance consulting to NIIT’s global clients, spanning across multiple sectors, including IT, retail, insurance, education, logistics, multilevel marketing and government. Some recent assignments were to define competency maps for the IT business of a leading HRO organization, to create performance improvement maps for e-governance, to redefine learning strategies for a large direct marketing company operating worldwide, and to design a unique technology-enabled program for developing English language skills. Pooja has been a past judge at Brandon Hall. She is setting up a chapter in India. She lives in New Delhi with her husband and her little baby boy who turns 2 this June. Pooja may be reached at Poojasm@niit.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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ISPI Recognizes Excellence in the Field of HPT

The International Society for Performance Improvement
(ISPI) 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. The recipients below will be recognized during the Awards Luncheon at THE Performance Improvement Conference, April 20 in Orlando, Florida.

Outstanding Human Performance Intervention

This award recognizes innovative implementation of Human Performance Technology to solve a problem or achieve desired performance objectives.

Search and Rescue (SAR) Fundamentals:
From Cradle to Grave

United States Coast Guard Training Center–
Yorktown, Virginia

Anita Moseley, Rebecca Palmore, Philip Edwards, Performance Technology Center, Susan Finley and Irina Carriger, UNITECH, Christopher White and Eugene Turner, SAR School, Eileen Maeso, Performance Systems Branch

Leveraging HPT and a rigorous analysis, the Coast Guard identified several performance gaps for the job of On Scene Coordinator (OSC). The OSC plays an important role in collecting, analyzing, and organizing critical information used to deploy Coast Guard ships and aircrafts in response to Search and Rescue incidents. This project served as the catalyst for developing a comprehensive process model as well as the stimulus for obtaining an enterprise-wide e-learning delivery system. As part of a summative evaluation, an online survey was administered to graduates of both the online and resident Search and Rescue Fundamentals courses. The survey revealed a 100% increase in the number of trained and qualified OSCs, and that over 96% of the graduates from the new online course possessed the required skills and knowledge to effectively perform the duties of an OSC.

IBM Global Sales School

Kevin Bates, Global Sales School design lead, Tom Burke Communication lead, Paula Cushing Director, IBM Sales Learning, Matthew Valencius Manager, IBM Sales Learning Design & Development

Within the new Global Sales School, practice client calls, performance-based learning, and work-based learning create true-to-life situations. Sellers perform tasks based on real work, use actual sales tools, and create authentic deliverables. Results show Global Sales School graduates achieved higher quota attainment, 26% higher for experienced sellers and 70% higher for new sellers! This accelerated performance corresponds to an additional $1 million of net profit per experienced seller and an additional $1.8 million of net profit per new seller. Approximately 2,400 sales hires attend Global Sales School per year. It has a 98% graduation rate and receives an estimated 160,000 website visits per year.

Hyundai Service Certification Program:
Process and Performance Improvement

Ardent Learning, Inc.
Hyundai Motor America

Dr. Barbara Bucklin, Director of Instructional Design, Erica Cleveland, Program Coordinator, Hailey Kim, Instructional Designer, Cheryl Stavana, Account Director, Lindsey Thompson, Instructional Designer/Project Manager, Lori Townsend, Lead Instructional Designer, Ardent Learning, Teri Clemmer, National Manager, Sean Hebel, Analyst, Hyundai Motor America

Ardent recommended a needs assessment to provide HMA management with current, relevant service training and performance improvement recommendations to guide a Service Certification Program as well as future learning and performance improvement interventions. The assessment guided the design and development of the program, resulting in a 12-step service process, a series of facilitated workshops, and a comprehensive service certification program for Service Managers and Service Consultants. The program was instrumental in improving Hyundai’s customer satisfaction score by seven points from 2007 to 2008 on the J.D. Power and Associates survey to a record high score for HMA.

Starting an Angel Organization Seminar

Red Pepper Consulting

Rhea Fix, CEO/Sr Consultant, Red Pepper Consulting, Inc,
Marianne Hudson, Director, Angel Capital Education Foundation, Susan L. Preston, Author/Instructor, Marcia Schirmer, Marketing, Power of Angel Investing Programs

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation contracted Red Pepper Consulting to develop a seminar that would help people to make and reflect upon the decisions and steps necessary to form an angel investing group in their communities. Rhea Fix designed the project, working with experts and contractors to develop it. By participating in an angel group, an angel investor can gain the benefits of shared expertise, greater leverage in investing in the community, increased portfolio diversity, increased ability to support a growing company over a longer period of time, and reduced overall investment risk related to greater resources for due diligence, legal counsel, and other activities. These advantages to investors can lead to greater overall investment in the small businesses of that company.

Outstanding Human Performance Communication

This award recognizes an outstanding communication that enables individuals or organizations to achieve excellence in Human Performance Technology.

United States Coast Guard Annual Human Performance Technology Workshop

United States Coast Guard Training Center– Yorktown, Virginia

CDR Dave Hartt, Tim Quiram, LCDR Tom Morkan, LCDR Quincy Davis, Bill Seletyn, LT Chris Brunclik, Glenda Feldt, John Rhodes, MSTC Doug Craft, Charlene Fought

Since 2001, the Coast Guard has held its HPT Workshop in Southeast Virginia. What started out as a small group of people getting together to discuss Coast Guard training and performance issues, has grown into a premier regional event of 400 people. This annual event is attended by the Coast Guard, Department of Defense, Homeland Security, numerous federal agencies, private industry, academia, and international partners.

The 2008 workshop featured 61 break-out sessions and three keynote general sessions over the three-day period. Break-out presentations were grouped into the following tracks: analysis, design & development, measurement, technology, and general HPT topics. In addition to the presentations, the HPT Workshop included several organized social events to promote networking, catching up with old friends, and even telling a few Coast Guard sea stories.

Better Beginnings: How to Attract Attention
in 30 Seconds

REXI Media
Carmen Taran, REXI Media

The book presents a topic of interest to any training manager, corporate executive, instructional designer, or communicator who wants to attract attention right away. Most of our audiences are very busy, distracted, and sometimes disenchanted by the overwhelming amount of information around us. It is becoming increasingly difficult to persuade audiences to listen or to read what we have provided. Trainers and presenters need better ways to indicate right from the start an atypical event. The ten techniques included in Better Beginnings helps trainers and instructional designers create an appealing start so the audience is engaged immediately.

Outstanding Student Research

This award recognizes outstanding graduate student research in Human Performance Technology or related fields.

Analyzing Leaders’ Perceptions to Enhance
the Use of an Employee Engagement Survey

Shelley A. Berg, Boise State University

The focus of the study was to explore how the findings from the survey were used and perceived by SumHealth leaders and why, with the ultimate goal of making recommendations to help the organization maximize the benefits of conducting the survey. The first phase of data collection consisted of unstructured interviews with 11 division heads and 12 supervisors. The second phase of data collection consisted of an online questionnaire completed by 67 supervisors and managers, which was developed based on the analysis of the interview data.

Chapters of Merit

Chapter awards celebrate the accomplishments of local ISPI Chapters. The awards emphasize accomplishments rather than competition.

Chapter of Excellence

The award is given to chapters that fulfill rigorous standards of excellence.

Potomac Chapter

A Thought Leaders meeting, consisting of former chapter leaders, was convened to decide the fate of the Potomac Chapter. A series of meetings resulted in setting goals, alignment, a strategic plan, fresh ideas and re-dedication. The committed core group reinvented itself, made personnel changes, recruited volunteers, and developed a new website. The group remained true to the founding principles and began constructing a chapter that professionals committed to HPT learning would want to join. Today, membership has increased from 16 to more than 70 professionals. Leadership sites dedicated individuals, communication, promotion, strong programs, and technology as contributors to the chapter’s success.

2009 Distinguished Dissertation Awards

Funded by the ISPI Research Committee, these financial awards recognize and support excellence in student research.

First Place

Forecasting a Competency Model for Innovation Leaders Using a Modified Delphi Technique
David G. Glidden, PhD, Pennsylvania State University

Second Place

The Impact of Safety Culture on Worker Motivation and the Economic Bottom Line
Donna C. Crossman, PhD

Third Place

An Exploration of Factors Involved in Workers Making Meaning of Job Searches after Layoff
Maria S. Kokas, PhD, Wayne State University

Presidential Citation Award

The recipients of this award are selected by the ISPI Board President and honored for their contributions to furthering Human Performance Technology.

  • Matthew S. Donovan
  • Brian S. Grant
  • Marci Paino
  • Guy Wallace
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A Crisis Is a Terrible Thing to Waste:
From Myths to Real HPT Value-Added

by Roger Kaufman, CPT, PhD

It is clear that what organizations now do and deliver are wanting. They ignore the new realities we now face, and continuing to do so will serve no one well. If we are ever going to transform business and the way we do our work, we now have a rare opportunity; a crisis is indeed a terrible thing to waste.

To get viable transformation, we have to rethink some core drivers that might have served us in the past but if continued will likely continue to become the seeds of our destruction. Among the traditional myths under which many of us labor are (1) the organizations with which we work are organized appropriately, (2) the tools for organizational and performance improvement will work well if we only apply them correctly where we are asked to work, and (3) what business does and delivers is useful for all citizens of today and tomorrow. These will not work.

It is time to transform ourselves and our organizations and turn away from these myths to create today’s business so it will create our future legacy; to create a successful tomorrow.

Are we headed in the right direction for organizational success? Can and should we change? Economic hard times ebb and flow but are now flowing into what we call a crisis. We can choose to fail or we can take the opportunity to transform ourselves and those with whom we work.

The reality is that the world has changed dramatically—a paradigm shift, or a “sea change”—and what we have always done, no matter how good we are at doing that, will no longer suffice. We have to look to new and responsive ways of thinking, doing, and contributing.

Business reality is not divided into work units, sections, departments, divisions, or markets, and these silos must not limit the contributions that can be made by performance improvement specialists. Our fragmented performance and performance improvement efforts and tools are based on the myth of the primacy of individual performance and performers. And our organizational objectives are largely based on expert opinion and not upon what data demonstrate is required to contribute and survive. We do not routinely link and align what we use, do, produce, and deliver with the added measurable value to all, including society. Thus, our business objectives are suspect.

Transformation, Not Just Change

Shift happens, and change happens. The choice is to be the master of change or the victim of it. Conner suggests that only crisis—he uses the analogy of standing on a burning oil platform in the North Sea with no hope of rescue—will make people change. And we currently have something akin to our standing on a burning oil platform and realizing that the normal solutions, including our favorite approaches, just will not work.

What is called for is nothing less than transformation, a dramatic shift from ordinary change and business as usual. This is not the usual “change” that is trumpeted by management experts and offered in the literature and in workshops; it is not just tinkering with the status quo.

Some Concepts and Tools for Transformation

One model for dealing with transformation demanded by new realities I term Mega planning. It urges that everything any organization uses, does, develops, and delivers is based on adding measurable value to and for external clients and society. This is quite different from the conventional and widely applied models of strategic planning where the primary client and beneficiary is the organization itself.

In addition, most conventional planning models, at best, look to outside of themselves and do environmental scanning and shape their business to be responsive to sensed external realities so they can do a better job of selling—a reactive process that assumes that one’s organization is viable and one only has to find reactive ways to make all work cheaper, faster, and better to justify itself to external funding and look good to current or potential clients. This alone is not sufficient in and of itself.

In organizational transformation, one does not only react to current realities but seeks to create new initiatives and even unique organizations to add value in the new realities. One must justify his or her organization in terms of creating the future, not simply reacting to it.

Based on a societal needs assessment—gaps between current and desired results and consequences in terms of the survival, self-sufficiency, and quality of life of all people—the organization can identify needs (not wants) that should and could be met. And these data might even guide dramatic change of the mission of the organization or even close it down or replace it if it does not add any societal value. Mega planning can be both market creating as well as market responsive; both proactive and reactive. This aspect, which differentiates it from conventional approaches, is ideal for creating success in crisis conditions.

Rejecting Failure: Some Guidelines

  • Rethink and reject obsolete paradigms. Realize that what worked yesterday may not continue to work in the future. Do not assume that current problems are linear and logical extensions of what we have experienced in the past and attempt to apply the concepts, tools, and models that have worked for us before.
  • Do not get lulled into using the conventional methods of “strategic” planning. Use a holistic paradigm for thinking, planning, and doing where the primary client of your and any organization is tomorrow’s child and citizen. See your organization as a means to productive societal ends; Mega thinking and planning. As Dale Brethower notes “either you are adding value to society or you are subtracting value.” Additional support for a Mega focus is from Ian Davis, international practice director of McKinsey & Co., in his call for a core strategic planning focus on societal value-added for any organization as vital; at the nucleus of strategic thinking and not something at the margins. When we do not focus on measurable societal value-added, we get the crises that swirl around us today. Where is the societal value-added—Mega thinking and planning—primary concern in federal, state, and local legislation and oversight for the last several decades? Where is Mega in the objectives and performance criteria for today’s public and private business organizations?
  • Do not throw out your competence in “standard” human performance technology (HPT) but apply it if, and only if, you have validated that the tools and concepts will add value to the entire organization. But do not start with them, but prove their usefulness in terms of external and internal value-added. (ISPI calls this the RSVP—results, system thinking, adding value, and partnering. This suggested transformation approach will first validate any applications of HPT tools and approaches.)
  • Do not assume that since you work at a level below the corporate level that you cannot get change or even listened to. As Don Tosti notes, what we know how to do is “scalable” and can be generalized to help the decision makers ask and answer the “right questions.” Show them how linking everything to Mega results and payoffs is both practical and ethical.
  • Resist being limited by the conventional business case model. One current weakness in conventional business case frameworks is that they just include the conventional bottom line. For rational and ethics reasons, that defies rationality is why we don’t, in everything we do, whether we are at the top of an organization or just one of the staff, additionally include external and societal value added. It can be done, it is being done, and the data support the viability of doing so as provided by Bernardez (2009) in his double bottom-line business case, which uses a conventional bottom line as well as a primary societal value-added bottom line.

Reexamining Our Conventional Ways of Thinking About and Designing Business

Below are some “conventional wisdom” ways in which we plan and deliver business and a comparison for each in terms of what transformation will embrace and allow for future success.



Some things are just not measurable and intangible and we just have to use good judgment.

Everything is measurable on one of four scales: nominal, ordinal, interval, ratio.

Current business goals and objectives (vision, mission) are correct and useful.

The vision and mission of business must specify what measurable value will be added to all internal and external partners including society (Mega).

How things are done—e.g., time-on-task, automation, etc.—is the central core of business design, delivery, and evaluation.

All means—how things are done—must be justified on the basis of what measurable value they add to internal and external clients.

There is relatively little than can be done to change current federal, state, and regulatory laws, rules, regulations, and policies; we must work within that framework. We are subject to the decisions of others and are helpless to initiate or even suggest change let alone transformation.

Everything is on the table, including all current laws, rules, regulations, and policies, and many should be changed. We can take the role of cooperative organizational partners and make the case for transformation; we can generalize what we know how to do beyond individual jobs to total organizations.

The more we spend on business, and its parts, the better will be our results. The more we cut, the more dire the consequences.

It is not the amount of money that is spent, it is the performance results and value added that money does deliver that is important.

The major focus for business change and improvement is with individuals, their assignments, their jobs, and tasks.

While individual competence and performance is important, all contributions must be linked and aligned to the value added inside and outside the organization.

We do what we are asked to do and where we are allowed to do it, and do not have the position power to challenge authority.

We can help people at all levels of an organization to ask and answer the “right questions.” Ethics require that we let them know how to align everything that is used, done, produced, and delivered with external value-added.

It is important to do every job right.

It is more important to do what is right before doing things right (Drucker, 1990).

Start with analysis (the ADDIE model).

Add another “A” and start with assessment before analyzing (Guerra-Lopez). If you start with analysis you assume you know what should be analyzed and why you should start there.

Change must be gradual.

Change can be immediate if we find the appropriate incentives (Carleton).

Strategic planning can be done for every part of the organization.

Useful strategic planning starts with what should be delivered to all stakeholders, including society, and then, based on that we can do, sensible tactical and operational planning.

Needs and wants are the same things.

A need is a gap between current results and consequences and desired results and consequences. Wants are preferred ways of doing things. We should not confuse ends and means but link them

The basic metric for a business plan is accounting for what was spent as compared to what was left over—net, net, net profits.

A business case model should include both societal value-added as well as conventional academic “bottom line.” A focus on short-term profits may lead to long-term failure (Bernardez, 2009).

Antidotes to Failure—Embracing Transformation Enabled by Crises

The Chinese have been at this civilization business for a long time. And they have the wisdom to show for it. Their symbol for “crisis” combines “fear” and “opportunity.” At, at the same time that everyone else is retreating into failure modes, opportunities exist. Do not waste the current crisis.

Key Readings

Bernardez, M. (April-May, 2009). Sailing the winds of “creative destruction”: Educational technology during economic downturns. Educational Technology,

Drucker, P.F. (1990). The new realities: In government and politics/in economics and business/in society and world view. New York: Harper & Row.

Kaufman, R. (2006). Change, choices, and consequences: A guide to mega thinking and planning. Amherst, MA: HRD Press Inc.

Kaufman, R., & Guerra-Lopez, I. (2008). The assessment book: Applied strategic thinking and performance improvement through self-assessments. Amherst, MA. HRD Press Inc.

Schumpeter, J. A. (1975). Capitalism, socialism, and democracy. New York: Harper & Row. (Also see McCraw, T.K. (2007). Prophet of innovation: Joseph Schumpeter and creative destruction. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business Press.

Roger Kaufman is professor emeritus, Florida State University, director of Roger Kaufman & Associates, and distinguished research professor at the Sonora Institute of Technology. He is a past president, Member for Life, and Thomas Gilbert Award winner, all with ISPI, and the recipient of the American Society for Training and Development’s Distinguished Contribution to Workplace Learning and Performance Award. Roger has published 39 books and more than 265 articles on strategic planning, performance improvement, quality management and continuous improvement, needs assessment, management, and evaluation. He may be reached at rkaufman@nettally.com.

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In organizational transformation, one does not only react to current realities but seeks to create new initiatives and even unique organizations to add value in the new realities.



ISPI’s SkillCast Webinars
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


  • April 8, How to Turn Learning into Improved Workplace Performance with Calhoun Wick
  • May 13, Accelerating Top-Line Sales Performance with Paul H. Elliott
  • May 27, Is Your Learning Organization Healthy? How to audit your learning function and create a plan for improvement with Will Thalheimer, president, Work-Learning Research, and Anne Marie Laures, Walgreens Company
  • June 10, Like Your Mother Said: Perfect Practice Makes Perfect Performance! With Scott Colehour, Allen Interactions Inc.
  • July 8, Building Credibility: 10 Ways to Cultivate & Capitalize On Your Network in Tough Times with Lynne Waymon, Contacts Count

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

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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:

American Academy of Pediatrics
E-Learning Instructional Designer
Job Location: Elk Grove Village, IL 60007
Job Type: Full Time

Energy Northwest
Human Performance Program Manager
Job Location: Richland, WA 99352
Job Type: Full Time

Express Scripts, Inc.
Senior Instructional Designer
Job Location: Maryland Heights, MO 63043
Job Type: Full Time

LifeWay Christian Stores
Human Performance Technology Manager
Job Location: Nashville, TN 37234
Job Type: Full Time

York University
Program Director, Health Leadership & Learning Institute
Job Location: Toronto, ON, M3J 1P3, Canada
Job Type: Full Time

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ISPI logo



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
The WHITNER GROUP, your full service, technology-driven, test development and delivery company has been serving the accountability needs of our clients for over 45 years. Our talented professionals and skilled staff would like to manage your next project. Stop by our booth at THE Performance Improvement Conference in Orlando to discuss your training and assessment needs.

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.




Join us for THE Performance Improvement Conference, our Annual Conference, April 19-22, 2009, in Orlando, FL. Early registration rates have been extended! Register today!

Capella University offers the only graduate specializations that include certification in the Phillips ROI Methodology™, and Capella is one of the very few universities to partner with ISPI to expedite the review process for ISPI’s CPT certification. For more information, visit www.capella.edu.

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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