May 2009

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In this issue:

Saving Your Corner of the World With HPT

Ad: Performance Improvement Institute


Presentation Enhancements That Engage the Audience

Ad: Fall Conference

Indiana University Wins Inaugural Case Study Competition

From the Board

ISPI Member Spotlight

Principles & Practices Comes to the National’s Capitol

Make Performance Improvement Strategic

The Power of Performance: Achieving Results in Uncertain Times

Tales from the Field

iLearning: Create an Innovative
Learning Organization

CPT News from Around the World

SkillCast Webinars

Career Center

Performance Marketplace

Join ISPI Now!

Newsletter Submission Guidelines

ISPI Board of Directors

ISPI Advocates

Back Issues




Saving Your Corner of the World With HPT

by Jennifer Rosenzweig, CPT, and Darlene Van Tiem, CPT, PhD

By any measure, the world today is in terrible shape. From an economic and social perspective, the financial system is in disarray, civil unrest continues to grow, and poverty and disease remain enormous challenges. Tightening the lens down to an individual level, jobs, homes, and businesses are being lost at unprecedented rates. Tight credit and rampant fear has limited spending, contributing to the slowdown, while even the best prepared households, businesses, and governments have gone from thriving to barely surviving.

Clearly the world needs saving, and there is a growing chorus of voices who believe that business, and not government or nonprofits, can be a catalyst for the needed change. Advocates for this position have proposed that the current view of capitalism needs to evolve into one that generates value not just for its direct stakeholders, but simultaneously creates value for the world. This concept has been described as corporate social responsibility and sustainability, in which business self-regulates and promotes public interest through the production of its goods and services. One means to determine the impact is by applying a triple bottom line as a measure, which uses not just profit as a success factor, but also businesses’ ability to foster the improvement of people as well as the planet. Bill Gates has weighed in on this and offers a vision that he calls “creative capitalism.” As described in the book by the same title, creative capitalism is designed to combine the “self-interest,” which drives the competitive, free trade system, with a desire to “care for others” (Kinsley, 2008). Gates believes, “This hybrid engine of self-interest and concern for others serves a much wider circle of people than may be reached by self-interest or caring alone” (Kinsley, 2008).

These ideas are powerful and thought provoking, challenging our understanding of what it means to function as a business in today’s society. And the viability of these concepts is being debated by the government, in the media, and inside companies around the world. But perhaps the best way to determine their potential impact is to simply move from discussion and debate to action and assessment. Only through the redesign of the business enterprise and the implementation of new ways to create value can we truly recognize and galvanize these possibilities.

Which brings us to the opportunity for human performance technologists. One of the obstacles that has slowed down progress is the question of where to begin and who best to lead the charge. A case can quickly be made that the discipline of human performance technology (HPT) is ideally suited to embrace these new concepts and to initiate change. HPT’s systemic approach, insistence on adding value, and collaborative mindset all set the stage for helping businesses adopt new ways of doing business that expand value beyond the bottom line. Roger Kaufman has described this through his concept of “Mega.” As he states, “A Mega plan aligns everything we and our organizations use, do, produce, and deliver in order to add measurable value to external clients and society” (Kaufman, 2004). The idea of using HPT to “save the world,” was also proposed and debated in a series of Performance Improvement journal articles, the core of which was written by Andrews, Farrington, Packer, and Kaufman (2004).

But improving society by eradicating poverty, improving the education of our youth, and eliminating disease is daunting, if not overwhelming. This seems so enormous that our human reaction is to think, “Sounds like a job for Bill Gates.” Yes, Gates is ideally suited to the job, and he is taking it on. However, there is simultaneously an opportunity to approach these concepts on a smaller scale, in our own backyard, by changing our own small corner of the world.

Think about these possibilities: a business that is redesigning its manufacturing processes might consider where its products end up at the end of their natural life and explore what it would mean to build a fully recyclable product; a service organization could expand its expectations and commitment to training its employees to include family and friends, further fostering a network of individuals prepared to take on the challenges we face today; a company might create team-building activities anchored in community service, thus building bonds between the organization and the local town. And who better to analyze, design, and implement such ideas than HPT practitioners?

Many of the needed tools are already in place; all that is required is for practitioners to realign and enhance them to address the larger challenges inherent in social change. For example, is sufficient attention given to understanding the external environmental forces that a business is facing? Or is an “external” view limited to the issues of marketplace competition? If an intended outcome defies measurement from a tangible perspective, do we set aside that goal? Or should we more deliberately explore the assessment of intangible benefits, opening up thinking that includes the potential for social impact? These are just a few ways that HPT practitioners can reframe their standards and processes and go beyond project-based work to powerful, systemic change that affects constituents beyond the immediate environment.

We are in the midst of terrifying change, but also exciting, profound change that will leave all of us living in a new and different world. This provides an unprecedented opportunity for the profession of HPT to make its own contribution. Instead of attempting to change systems back to “the way they were,” HPT can be a catalyst for new thinking and action that allows business to play a key role in building a healthy, thriving world. We encourage you to look around with fresh eyes. How can you save your corner of the world?


Andrews, J., Farrington, J., Packer, T., and Kaufman, R. (2004). Saving the World with HPT: Expanding Beyond the Workplace and Beyond the “Business Case.” Performance Improvement, 43(2), 46-49. [DOI 10.1002/pfi.4140430210].

Kaufman, R. (2004). Mega as the Basis for Useful Planning and Thinking. Performance Improvement, 43(9), 35-39. [DOI 10.1002/pfi.4140430909].

Kinsley, M. (2008). Creative Capitalism: A Conversation with Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Other Economic Leaders. Simon and Schuster: New York.

Jennifer Rosenzweig, CPT, is president of Libera Consulting LLC. She may be reached at Darlene Van Tiem, CPT, PhD, is the 2009-2010 ISPI president. She may be reached at

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But perhaps the best way to determine their potential impact is to simply move from discussion and debate to action and assessment.



TrendSpotters: Instructional Systems Design Model

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

This month, we welcome Karen Medsker, PhD, to TrendSpotters. Karen ( is the founder and president of Human Performance Systems, Inc., a company that provides instructional design services and interactive web-based job aids. She served as the co-editor of PIQ and is the 2009 recipient of ISPI’s Distinguished Service Award. Karen studied with Robert Gagné at Florida State University. Her interest in the Instructional Systems Design (ISD) model began with her work with Gagné, and she shares some valuable insights into the evolution of this model over the years.

Genesis of the Model

The joint U.S. military services contracted with Florida State University to develop the ISD model. Professors and their graduate students worked on the project and provided an extensive set of procedures for the military to use [Branson, R.K., Rayner, G.T., Cox, I., Furman, J.P., King, F.J., & Hannun, W.H. (1976). Interservice procedures for instructional systems development (5 vols.). (TRADOC Pam 350-30 and NAVEDTRA 106A). Fort Monroe, VA: U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command. (NTIS No. ADA-019 486 through ADA-019490)].

Subsequently, large U.S. corporations such as AT&T adopted the ISD model and modified it to meet their specific needs. Other government agencies and consulting firms also used the model, ensuring that the basic logic and concepts of ISD endured and became part of the systematic approach to instructional design.

Description of the Model

Karen shares her version of the ISD model with us. She evolved the current format over years of teaching ISD at the graduate level, ensuring that the model was simple, logical, and user friendly. Readers familiar with other versions will note that Karen’s provides outputs rather than activities for each phase.

How to Use the Model

The ADDIE acronym still applies to the phases in the ISD model. And, while the phases appear as linear, experienced users know that reality is not quite so orderly. Most instructional designers find that the steps overlap and that we often circle back to do more analysis, for example, if we discover additional information during design or development that affects the approach we have taken.

Karen reminds us that spending the most time in the analyze and design phases yields the best results in ISD. Besides analyze and design being the two most neglected phases in the process, design is the key to the instructional system and deserves extra effort.

Note that evaluation, although positioned as the last phase of the ISD model, actually provides a feedback loop at the conclusion of each phase. Evaluating your progress regularly saves time and effort and keeps you on track with your project.

To make the instruction that results from the use of the ISD model richer and more complete, Karen recommends additional tools that Gagné developed. As one of the first people to bring together the best of both behavioral and cognitive psychology in the use of the design phase of ISD model, he created four important tools:

  • a taxonomy of learning to describe the six different types of learning that can be included in instructional design
  • learning hierarchies that enable instructional designers to identify learning prerequisites and properly sequence learning activities
  • conditions, both internal and external, that are necessary for each type of learning described in the taxonomy
  • the Nine Events of Instruction that guide the designer through the presentation of learning content

Learn more from Gagne, R.M., & Medsker, K.L. (1996). The conditions of learning: Training applications. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace.

Success Story

The ISD model is its own success story. The model has been used in business, industry, academia, government, and the military for many years. It has become part of the fabric of what we do to develop training. It is a standard we use to measure successful instruction, it is a job title, it is taught in colleges and universities at the undergraduate and graduate levels. It has been branded and rebranded over the years and continues to maintain its integrity as it guides us in developing learning.

Advice to Users of the ISD Model

As with any tool, the ISD model can be dangerous in the hands of a novice. If you are new to instructional design, partner with an experienced user who can coach you through the fine points until you gain the experience and confidence to go it alone. Even though the model has been with us for years, it is basically a shell into which the user inserts the best practices of the experienced to produce quality instruction.

For the more seasoned, the ISD model is easily adapted to rapid prototyping and to skipping steps that may not apply to your project. Consider the model a structure for your instructional design creativity.

Links to the Performance Technology Landscape

The ISD model supports these principles of performance technology:


Focus on Results: The ISD model is results oriented.


Take a System view: ISD is a system.


Add Value: The ISD model is a value chain.


Establish Partnerships: The ISD model encourages partnerships between the instructional designer and subject matter experts (SMEs) as well as the learner.

Application Exercise

For the next learning event that you design, use the ISD model as a checklist against your own instructional design process. Align the activities you engage in as you follow the model with the outputs Karen specifies for each phase.

Advice for Our Times

If you conduct a front-end analysis, get the performance requirements and identify which parts are deficiencies in skills, knowledge, or attitude. Then, only provide training for the segments of your project for which your target population has those deficiencies. Look for other less expensive solutions for the rest.

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

Carol may be reached at or; Roger may be reached at

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Upstaging the Sage-on-the-Stage: Presentation Enhancements That Engage the Audience

by Joanna C. Dunlap, CPT, PhD, University of Colorado Denver

Conference presentations almost invariably rely on presentation slideshows (e.g., PowerPoint) for delivering the bulk of instructional content. Slideshows allow content to be covered quickly and succinctly, are easy to create and reuse, convey an impression of authority and expertise, and serve as audience comfort food—they are familiar and expected.

Sadly, presentation slideshows seldom offer an interactive, engaging learning experience. An engaging learning opportunity must move beyond listening to the sage-on-the-stage. It requires the audience do something with the content. Below are a few audience-does-something-now strategies that can be embedded throughout a presentation—even if you have only 30 minutes—to enhance the audience’s experience and opportunity to process and reflect on the content:

  • Think-pair-share. This strategy involves three steps: (1) ask the audience a question about the content; (2) give the audience an opportunity to consider the question; and (3) have audience members confer with their neighbor regarding their answer to the question. There are many variations on this strategy, especially in terms of how to handle the “share” aspect. For example, a pair can join up with another pair to discuss the question, or pairs can log their response on index cards, pass them to the front, and the presenter can randomly select a few responses to share with the whole group.
  • Interview. Have audience members interview you about the topic. Audience members work in groups of two to three to quickly determine three to five questions to ask about the topic. Then in round-robin fashion, each group asks an interview question until all questions have been addressed.
  • Point-counterpoint. Invite a colleague to participate in a point-counterpoint discussion on a particular topic. This strategy allows audience members to listen to two (or more, as with a panel) practitioners or experts discuss and debate issues related to the topic. It helps audience members recognize that there are differing perspectives on the issues, and to see how colleagues grapple with those differing perspectives.
  • Fishbowl. Invite a subset of the audience to participate in a small group discussion with you, with the rest of the audience listening.
  • Providing context.Tell stories, describe cases, and share current news items that illustrate issues and ideas for the audience to consider. This strategy helps the audience process the content in a more contextually meaningful way, helping them see how the content is relevant to their practice.
  • Mixing it up. As I described in my December 2008 PerformanceXpress article, there are other presentation formats (e.g., Pecha Kucha, Ignite, Lightning Talks) that can reenergize a presentation. Using specific timings per slide, and limiting slide content to images or one- to three-word phrases, can change the pace of the presentation, helping to keep the audience engaged.
  • A pause in the action. Give audience members time to summarize what you have shared, clean up their notes, ask for clarification from neighbors, and—in general—process and reflect on the content. After the pause in the action, ask for questions; often, after time to reflect on the presentation, audience members will ask follow-up questions. Allowing the audience time to summarize the presentation thus far, in their own words, gives them the time and space needed for fruitful cognitive processing. Without time to process and reflect, the presentation is for naught—and all that has been accomplished is hearing yourself talk.

These are just a few ideas for enhancing audience engagement during presentations. By embedding audience-does-something-now strategies throughout a presentation, you will effectively upstage the sage-on-the stage and instead provide the audience with the necessary time and space to work with the content in more relevant and meaningful ways.

Joanna C. Dunlap, CPT, PhD, is an associate professor of instructional design and technology at the University of Colorado Denver (UCD). Her research interests focus on the use of sociocultural approaches to enhance adult learners’ development and experience in postsecondary settings. She has served on the board of the Front Range Chapter of ISPI for over 10 years, including a term as chapter president. She may be reached at

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Sadly, presentation slideshows seldom offer an interactive, engaging learning experience.



Indiana University Team Wins Inaugural Case Study Competition

by John Chen, CSC Staff Liaison

After nine months of preparation, over 29 conference calls, three lead volunteers, five volunteer judges, and countless hours of development time, ISPI’s inaugural University HPT Case Study Competition (CSC), which concluded during THE Performance Improvement Conference in Orlando, Florida, was an immense success.

The CSC began in July 2008 with the formation of a volunteer team including 2009 co-conference chair Dawn Papaila, CPT, Matt Donovan, Marci Paino, and me. When Matt was asked by his co-worker, “Why are you spending so much of your time on this competition? What are you killing yourself for? Is it that important to you?” His response was, “Absolutely. This is something I feel strong about. These students and young professionals are the emerging talent and the future of HPT and ISPI. This is my chance to have an influence on what happens to them.” Several judges echoed a similar sentiment. They felt this was their opportunity to express what HPT means to them and direct their passion for this field to our emerging talent.

The team spent the months analyzing, designing, developing, implementing, and evaluating the CSC materials that would serve as the foundation for the competition. In January 2009, the CSC launched as a pilot program with five universities (anonymous to the judges):

  • Boise State University: Next Step Resulting
  • Florida State: Performance Solutions
  • Indiana University: S-Curve Consulting
  • San Diego State University: API
  • The University of West Florida: SLAM DUNK

The University Teams of four began the competition with conference call. During the next four weeks, the University Teams analyzed business trends, company data, and structure based on a fictitious company the volunteer development team created. This year’s company was called Magic Sticks, a blended specialty retailer and wholesaler of baked goods. The University Teams’ first deliverable consisted of an analysis plan and future actions required for continued development of an HPT solution.

Throughout the following four weeks, the University Teams began development of their Detailed Intervention Proposal. Over this period of time, more than 24 phone interviews were conducted with key personnel from Magic Sticks branches around the globe.

Based on the two deliverables, a panel of judges consisting of:

  • Cathy Brown, The Home Depot
  • Clare Carey, CPT, EdD, Texas Cryptologic Center
  • Darryl Sink, EdD, Darryl L. Sink & Associates
  • Char Wells, Sandia National Laboratories
  • Klaus Wittkuhn, CPT, Performance Design International GmbH

selected the top three finalists based on sound HPT practices and recommended interventions from their deliverables. The panel of judges selected (in alphabetical order):

  • Florida State: Performance Solutions
  • Indiana University: S-Curve Consulting
  • San Diego State University: API

The final component of the competition required the top three University Teams to present to their peers and the judges during ISPI’s conference. All five university teams were invited to the conference with waived registration fees as part of their participation in the competition. Following the presentations were 15-minute Q&A sessions by the judges which provided additional insight into the University Teams’ tactics and proposed interventions. This was a unique opportunity for each team to obtain real work knowledge and feedback from these seasoned professionals.

After many hours of deliberation, a first place finalist was announced during the conference’s closing session. The first place finalist of ISPI’s inaugural University HPT Case Study Competition was Indiana University. This team consisted of:

  • Serdar Abaci
  • Shameem Farouk
  • Sung Pil Kang
  • Simone Symonette

As the first place finalist, they earned:

  • Waived conference registration for THE Performance Improvement Conference 2010
  • A $500 stipend to be paid or used toward a future CPT application fee
  • A one-year membership to the International Society for Performance Improvement
  • A one-year subscription to Performance Improvement Quarterly
  • An invitation to submit a manuscript to Performance Improvement journal

Congratulations to all the participating universities and emerging talent, and thanks to everyone involved for the hundreds of volunteers hours given to this new initiative. To view the University HPT Case Study Competition portal visit

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From the Board
Modre z neba

by Steven J. Kelly, CPT, ISPI Director

“Blue from the sky” (a central European wish)

In the Czech lands and Slovakia, blue is a lucky color. This expression refers to getting a wish granted or something nice happening to you. My partner and I have received gifts during challenging times of little pieces of blue ceramic, or tiny bottles of blue flecks. Expressions of hope that things will work out.

This is to say that language is a gateway to culture. To values, to perspective, to what is important and what is less so. Colloquialisms express the familiar, the shared human understanding…often in unusual terms around the world.

And so there is the work of translating the jargon of our profession into the many and varied languages of the globe. Our concepts were originally much of American expression. So, do organizational systems, efficiencies and communications follow the same rules everywhere?

Gilbert gave us an initial framework to start this discussion. His 6 levels of philosophical, cultural, polity, strategy, tactics, and logistics are the reality of operating anywhere in the world. And of course, this provides our challenge with the higher levels of the framework. We have to consider some of the common “trip-ups” or false assumptions when we begin working beyond our borders.

I wish to highlight an important one, especially as many of us have just gathered in Orlando for our annual international sharing of ideas and practices. This is the cognitive trap of “mirror imaging”. This trap has so many variations that we might spend a years’ worth of sessions discussing and defining. But, it is an incredible provocation in our profession.

At its basic level: What is reasonable to me, is therefore, reasonable to you. It is a form of cultural arrogance that too easily leads to: Given the current situation, this is the next logical and best step to take. And so the advice we bring, the strategy, the imposition of the institutional model on the situation…is much less than optimal. Sometimes it is darn dangerous. We have all read various “lite analyses” about these impacts. But, there is much more to this issue than simply adopting a program to the local situation with different cases or revised acronyms.

So, we gain experience, and spend time working in different geographical lands (the traveler’s club currently lists 319 unique places). We are open to feedback. We begin to consider some assumptions that may or may not always hold true:

  • Is greater efficiency always the desired result?
  • Does sophistication solve complexity, or are simple tools more useful?
  • Can we challenge our imagination – what is possible in another’s context?
  • Who ultimately gets to select the mega goals – what is our role?
  • Will clear chain of command result in the better decisions?

I’m sure you could add to the list. It is really not a flat world as some have asserted. From my perspective, neither the playing field nor the rules are the same. And as a human race we are lucky for it. And so, my “modre z nebe” for you to consider today is for less empirical arrogance and more shared cultural consideration with our colleagues in the coming year (with shared inspiration from Mari Novak).

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ISPI Member Spotlight
An Interview with Lisette Gerald-Yamasaki

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 Lisette Gerald-Yamasaki, instructional designer for Everything Writing.

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

Lisette: Pretty close to 13 years! I went back to my records and found that I joined in ’96.

What drew you to HPT? How did you discover it?

Well, it’s hard to tell which came first. I think it may be more of a case of me finding a home in HPT with who I am. I don’t like to solve the same problem twice and that’s come out in my life in everything from buying clothes to preparing instructional projects. So you put all that together and that’s what’s called, in the professional realm, “HPT.” The 10 Standards of Performance Technology is what resonates with me as a person. It’s just the right way to do things. The short version is: I just kinda came home.

What was it like discovering ISPI?

It came when I joined Apple. I had an opportunity to switch from running servers to teaching people how to run servers, specifically to teach sales people how to sell running servers. That put me in the position of wanting to learn some formal skills around training, how adults learn. And that got me to Mager, and Mager got me to ISPI. My father was an archaeologist and a professor and so the idea of belonging to a professional society was in my background. I just wanted to find the “hotbed” of the “knowing” people.

How do you apply HPT in what you do right now?

I’m transitioning from being staff to being freelance, so I’m actually applying it to myself and learning a new mode of operating. I also apply it outside the professional arena in parenting and creative writing.

What is an example of how you have applied HPT in a “non-corporate” setting or situation?

I apply it everywhere. One of the times I really had fun applying it was teaching lower elementary children how to crochet. I look back and the standards were all there. It’s a Montessori environment too, so it’s not so much teaching as preparing an environment so that they continue their love of learning and creativity, whether it’s crochet or anything else. So how do I do that? I start with the simplest stitch and then go to the most complex stitch and eventually into pattern reading and maybe even pattern design. I think: how do I present that? Again: combining HPT and Montessori, I find myself creating samples, so I did a crochet chain and then a square of single crochets and then a chain of double-crochets and so forth, and I just put them out there on the table. Then I brought a book of patterns and other things you can make with crochet and set that out and let the children leaf through them and get excited and get them to ask “How do you do this?” and “Wow! How did you make the square?” Things like that. It’s a type of environment that lets them explore without painful consequences. It helps participants understand that errors are okay, that it’s part of learning. If you can create and foster an atmosphere that acknowledges mistakes as learning opportunities, that makes things much more pleasant. The focus is on learning, not on mistakes, and that makes things more positive. The great thing is that that model is extensible to any age group. The possibilities are endless. And teaching people how to learn how they learn is very helpful.

How would you explain HPT to a person unfamiliar with the concept? Or more to the point, unfamiliar with the name of the concept?

The way I describe it is: you take a group of people and what they’re doing and you compare that to what their manager wants them to do or as an individual what you want to be able to do. You look at the gap and you figure out how to bridge that gap. You really have to have a good idea of where you’re starting from and identify what the manager actually wants the person or persons to do. It goes back to the idea of communication, to the creative writing. One thing I’ve learned that’s been a bit of a challenge as a fiction writer is that you don’t tell the reader the ending. You take them right up to the brink and let them take the final step. That’s what good fiction writing does. And that’s really satisfying as a reader and as a writer. Likewise, you can get beyond just bridging the gap, you can get the student where they take the last step and give them that “aha!” moment. That’s what I find the most exciting and the most enjoyable. When I can get to that place, I really enjoy making it happen. It’s been proven that people learn better if they arrive at these epiphanies on their own rather than being spoon-fed.

What is the most important thing to you about being a member of ISPI?

The people are just so friendly and warm. All the times I’ve been to conference, I’ve felt like a part of an organization of really bright, committed people. It’s a great community to feel a part of.

Why should someone join ISPI?

Look at the kind of person you are and what you consider important. In my case, I consider the emphasis on research-based methods to be important. There’s a codification of standards. ISPI focuses on those things. Of all the professional organizations I see on the landscape that I could join, ISPI is one that offers the most return on my time and community investment.

What would you like to contribute to the pool of wisdom at ISPI?

I’d like for people to see the overlap between Dr. Maria Montessori’s findings about teaching and learning and human performance technology and how we can apply what we know about how children learn to HPT. They both resonate with me and there’s some crossover there. What might that crossover be?

Anything in closing?

I’ve had great experiences in sitting down with management and talking through the 10 Standards of Performance Technology that ISPI publishes and what HPT means. It has been a great springboard to talk about best practices.

Thank you for sharing your insights with us, Lisette!

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 to John Chen at

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Principles & Practices Comes to the Nation’s Capital

Principles & Practices of Performance Improvement Institute is a three-day, hands-on educational experience designed to introduce you to 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.

Have you considered attending one of our Performance Improvement 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 register now. Our instructors will teach you the HPT process and the application of performance consulting skills and tools to analyze a workplace performance problem, present solutions, and evaluate your results.

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

Join us July 21-23, 2009, in Washington, DC For more information, visit, or call us at 301.587.8570. Group registration discounts are available.

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Make Performance Improvement Strategic

by Howard Rohm, Balanced Scorecard Institute

Have you ever wondered if your performance improvement interventions are aligned with corporate strategy? Would you like to better align interventions at “the shop floor” with corporate goals and vision? Would you like to have prioritized improvement initiatives that are easier to budget justify because they are based on strategic analysis, not “argument by vigorous assertion”?

Your answer is probably “yes.”

Most performance initiatives I have seen are not very strategic, because they were developed with a “low altitude” view. To make performance improvement more strategic, you have to start at a higher strategic altitude, work down in altitude logically, and let performance initiatives be the end of a strategic thinking process.

Let’s look at a strategic approach to identifying and closing performance gaps that will help organizations execute their strategy effectively. The approach starts by thinking critically about “what” and “why,” before “how.” Performance improvement initiatives are “how’s”; organization vision, goals, and strategies are “what’s” and “why’s.”

To derive “how’s” from “what’s” and “why’s,” you need a strategic framework for building and connecting pieces of a strategic puzzle. The framework starts with development of organizational strategic elements (e.g., vision, mission, values, customer value proposition, and strategic themes). Then strategic objectives and a strategy map are developed based on the strategic elements. Finally, performance improvement initiatives are developed to close performance gaps in the objectives.

Most organization’s have some pieces of the puzzle completed and understood, usually as a result of a yearly strategic planning process. But not as many organizations have developed all the necessary pieces and connected them in an aligned way. The pieces that are usually not present—developing high-altitude strategic objectives and strategy maps—are critical to becoming a more strategy-focused organization.

Strategy mapping is a powerful tool. Strategy maps show graphically how organization value is created for customers and stakeholders. Good strategy maps communicate strategic intent internally and externally, and are one of the most effective communication tools an organization can use to build alignment, accountably, and a focus on results. Strategy mapping starts with creation of a few strategic objectives that are the building blocks of strategy—strategy DNA, so to speak. The objectives are then linked in cause-effect relationships to create a “map.” Once strategic objectives are developed and the map created, performance measures and performance gap interventions can be identified for each objective.

The figure below is based on an airline and shows how the pieces come together to “tell the strategic story.” The first column shows a simplified strategy map, and the second column lists the strategic objectives. Objectives are placed in the strategic perspectives (the rows of the table) that they support. In the next two columns, strategic performance measures and targets are identified to measure objective performance; and in the last column, strategic performance initiatives that will improve objective performance are shown. By following the “routes” of the map, the individual and cumulative effect of individual performance interventions can be correlated to the desired outcome—increased profitability of the company. By tying everything together logically, we have line-of-site alignment among corporate vision, corporate and department strategy, and personal goals and accomplishments.

The generic example above is based on a business, but this approach works equally well for governments and nonprofits. For these organizations, strategy map logic is changed to reflect different desired outcomes. In governments and nonprofits, the end of the value chain is not profitability—it is the effectiveness of services and delivery to government customers (e.g., citizens) or, in the case of nonprofits, the effectiveness of service delivery to members and other stakeholders. In governments and nonprofits, the customer or stakeholder perspective is placed at the top of the strategy map, and the financial perspective becomes a cost-effective resourcing or stewardship perspective. Performance measures reflect unique results, such as member satisfaction and retention, advocacy, service effectiveness, and resource utilization.

By focusing on strategy first, organizations can make better performance improvement choices that are aligned with corporate goals. A completed scorecard system aligns the organization’s picture of the future (shared vision) with business strategy, desired employee behaviors, and day-to-day operations. Other benefits include measuring what matters, identifying more efficient processes focused on customer needs, improving prioritization of initiatives, improving internal and external communications, improving alignment of strategy and day-to-day operations, and linking budgeting and cost control to strategy.

How strategic are your performance initiatives?

Did you miss Howard's SkillCast, Using the Balanced Scorecard as Your HPT Framework? Visit to purchase his recorded SkillCast and many others.

Howard Rohm is president and CEO of the Balanced Scorecard Institute, a training, certification, facilitation, and consulting organization. The Balanced Scorecard Institute’s Strategic Scorecard Systemª is an integrated strategic planning and management system built on balanced scorecard principles. Widely used in business, government, and nonprofit organizations in 22 countries, this framework helps prioritize the most important things an organization must do to be successful. Learn more about the Institute at

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Strategy maps show graphically how organization value is created for customers and stakeholders.



The Power of Performance:
Achieving Results in Uncertain Times

ISPI is bringing our Fall Conference to St. Louis
, Missouri, September 24-25, 2009. As you know, our field has a chance to provide real change and performance improvement during these difficult economic times. The focus of this year’s conference is to provide you with the tools and knowledge to show your organizations The Power of Performance Improvement and how to focus on Achieving Results in Uncertain Times.

The Necessity of Business Process Management

Paul Harmon, Business Process Trends

Processes define how companies do work and provide value to customers. Organizations have been working on one form of process improvement since the early years of the 20th century when F.W. Taylor first proposed work simplification and best practices. Since then we have seen various movements spawned by quality control engineering, business management, psychology, and IT.

HPT and the Knowledge Revolution

Marc J. Rosenberg, CTP, PhD, Marc Rosenberg and Associates

There is a revolution going on in the workplace. The realization that far more learning takes place in the context of work than in the context of the classroom has made it possible to focus on knowledge as an essential business resource. Delivering knowledge to people, wherever and whenever, is now mission critical, and has spawned a host of new technologies and approaches that include, but also transcend, training. This is a great opportunity for human performance technology (HPT) and HPT professionals.

Who Attends

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

  • entrepreneurs and business leaders
  • managers, directors, and VPs
  • business and strategy consultants
  • vhief learning and chief people officers
  • VPs and directors of human resources
  • directors of organizational development
  • performance consultants and solutions providers
  • human factors and Six Sigma practitioners

Visit periodically as we begin to reveal additional details about this can't miss educational opportunity!

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Tales From the Field
Finding Causal Loops and Systemic Solutions through an Ethnographic Approach to Needs Assessment

by Erica Cormack, Diana Fenicottero, John O’Connor, & Glen Scott

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 Performance Issue

Global Delivery Services (GDS, a pseudonym) is a worldwide package distribution company with operations in over 200 countries, servicing 7.9 million customers every day. The operation of concern is a small package sorting facility in the northwest region of the United States made up of three shifts employing part-time employees to unload, sort, and reload packages. Employees are supervised by part-time supervisors directly responsible for producing the desired performance.

Prior to 2002, this facility had a reputation for providing strong results. Since then, performance had decreased measurably. By the end of the third quarter of 2008 (see Table 1), the operation was meeting its goal in only one of the five major performance elements being tracked (*), and had experienced only minor improvements in just two of the five areas (^).

2008 Results
1st Q
2nd Q
3rd Q

1. Safety

100% to goal of OSHA recordable injuries


2. Production

100% to goal of packages per hour


3. Scanning

1/80 frequency


4. Misloads

1/2500 frequency


5. Damages

1/4500 frequency


Table 1. Performance Results of Year 2008

From the perspective of organizational leaders, erosion of performance was the result of deficiency in the competencies and skills of part-time supervisors, an element that had previously been viewed as a key strength. A team of students in Professor Don Winiecki’s Needs Assessment class conducted a needs assessment on this performance issue.

Planning, Data Collection, and Data Analysis

To provide a systemic solution to this gap, the team used Gilbert’s (1996) Third Leisurely Theorem as a guide throughout the project. This theorem states:

For any given accomplishment, a deficiency in performance always has as its immediate cause a deficiency in a behavior repertory (P), or in the environment that supports the repertory (E), or in both. But its ultimate cause will be found in a deficiency of the management system (M). (p. 76)

Utilizing Gilbert’s Behavior Engineering Model (BEM) as a framework for developing interview questions and analyzing results, the team employed an ethnographic approach to “get the story” behind the management system. There were multiple phases in this approach:

  • Initial open-ended interviews with all part-time supervisors and 10% of the sort employees.
  • Data from the initial round of interviews were analyzed and sorted into categories in Gilbert’s BEM framework. This analysis revealed a more systemic problem, which prompted a second round of interviews.
  • A second round of semi-structured interviews was conducted with part-time supervisors.
  • In-field observations were conducted and archival data collected on performance measure. Archival data were triangulated with interview data.
  • Based on analysis of data gathered, a causal loop diagram (Anderson & Johnson, 1997) was developed, graphically depicting the system. We identified a leverage point that would have the greatest systemic impact on long-term performance outcomes.

The Causal Loops of Performance

Our analysis determined that as performance increased, organizational support elements for supervisors decreased. Decrease in organizational supports affected other factors in the system to ultimately lower performance. With performance eroding over time, it was determined that the greatest leverage for improving the system, and thus performance outcomes, rested within the element of organizational supports.

This phenomenon is illustrated by the causal loops as shown in Figure 1. The relationship between variables in the figure is represented by an “s” when variables move in the same direction or an “o” when variables move in opposite directions. For example, in Figure 1, as performance goes up, organizational support decreases; and as training increases, so does performance.

Figure 1. Causal loop diagram of sort team management

IPT-Grounded Advice

The following recommendations were provided for leveraging organizational support for part-time supervisors:

  • Managerial governance—Including daily job aids and checklists for part-time supervisors
  • Managerial training—Consistent training for part-time supervisors in data collection, communication skills, training skills, and labor relations
  • Managerial communication—Regular strategy and planning meetings with full-time and part-time sort supervisors to support communication of goals, expectations, and results and facilitate peer coaching of part-time supervisors
  • Increases in these factors impact multiple elements such as data, tools, knowledge, and capacity, as Gilbert reflected in his “diffusion of effect” theory. The result was improvement of sort performance even with increased production demands.


Anderson, V., & Johnson, L. (1997). Systems thinking basics: From concepts to causal loops. Waltham, MA: Pegasus Communications.

Gilbert, T. (1996). Human competence: Engineering worthy performance (tribute ed.). Washington, DC: International Society for Performance Improvement

Erica Cormack manages a regional law enforcement training academy. She is pursuing a Master of Science in instructional & performance technology (IPT) at Boise State University. She may be contacted at Diana Fenicottero has worked for many years in organizational training and support. She is earning a Master of Science in IPT at Boise State University. She may be contacted at John O’Connor is pursuing his Master of Science in IPT from Boise State University. He may be contacted at Glen Scott is working toward his Master of Science in IPT at Boise State University. His work experience includes operations management, human resources, safety compliance, and industrial engineering. He may be contacted at

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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:

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.

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CPT News from Around the World

New CPTs

As of April 20, there are 139 candidates for the CPT designation. If you are interested in learning more about the CPT or finding out if you qualify to apply, you can contact Judy Hale, director of certification, at or go to the certification page on the ISPI website at

Special Work by CPTs on the Education Industry Team

The April issue of PerformanceXpress introduced you to the co-leaders of the Education Industry Team—Jeanne Anderson, CPT, EdD, St. Cloud University, and Pooja Singh Mehta, CPT, NIIT, India. This issue introduces you to two other members of the team—Holly Burkett, who you may know as the editor of the Performance Improvement journal, and Mahelet Senbetta. This team has been instrumental in identifying members who work in academia (public, private, and corporate) either full time or in an adjunct capacity.

Holly Burkett, CPT, SPHR, is principal of Evaluation Works in Davis, California. She has more than 20 years’ experience in the performance improvement field, with a special focus on evaluation and measurement, particularly ROI analysis. Formerly with Apple Computer, she has assisted a range of public and private sector clients in defining the performance impact of diverse initiatives. As a certified ROI professional (CRP), she is a frequent author, workshop leader, and conference presenter. Publications include co-authoring Converting Data to Monetary Value (2008) and The ROI Fieldbook (2006). She wrote an award-winning case study featured in the ROI in Action Casebook (2008). Editor of ISPI’s Performance Improvement journal, she has served as an AEM track reviewer for the 2007 Conference, and has served on the 2006 “Got Results” Committee. A certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), she is also a select Item Writer for the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) SPHR/PHR certification exams. With a master’s in human resources and organization development, she is currently pursuing doctoral studies in human capital development. Holly may be reached at

Mahelet Senbetta, CPT, has over 18 years’ experience in the design, development, and delivery of blended performance improvement solutions in pharmaceutical, banking, manufacturing, and distribution, including a Fortune 100 corporation. Currently at W. W. Grainger, Inc., she builds processes and tools to support global employee development and diversity strategies. A former process and standards manager with Motorola, her management of Global University relations and allocations earned her special recognition for performance excellence.

She is an active member of ISPI’s education sub-team focused on building awareness about the value of the Certified Performance Technologist (CPT) designation. Mahelet is also active with Toastmasters International, where she serves as an area governor. She has a master’s in instructional design from Purdue University. In her personal life, her primary drive is the love of her family. She enjoys traveling and has been lucky enough to visit Ireland, Mexico, France, Taiwan, Kenya, Turkey, Israel, England, and Ethiopia in recent years. Mahalet may be reached at

Your Story

If you have a story to tell that you think others would value, send it to

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CPT logo



ISPI’s SkillCast Webinars
Recorded and Available!

Are you finding it a challenge to keep up professionally? Got a stack of books and articles you keep meaning to get to? Let ISPI provide that vital professional boost with our new SkillCast series. A SkillCast is a 60-minute webinar educational session designed to enhance the skills and knowledge of the performance improvement professional. Each month, ISPI will feature the latest thinking from the experts you rely on for your continued professional development. In just an hour a month, you will come away with new ideas, perspectives, and tools that you can put to work immediately.

Put your focus on your own results, for a change, and join a SkillCast!

Schedule of Events


  • 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

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

Previously recorded SkillCasts include:

  • Using the Balanced Scorecard as Your HPT Framework, Howard Rohm, CPT, Executive Director, The Balanced Scorecard Institute
  • Innovation: Strategies and Practices, Donald Tosti, CPT, PhD, Principal, Vanguard Consulting Inc.
  • Increasing Interactivity in Webcasts, Sivasailam “Thiagi” Thiagarajan, CPT, PhD
  • Accelerating Speed to Proficiency with Cognitive Learning Strategies, Marty Rosenheck, CPT, PhD
  • Building Expertise through Problem-based Learning, Ruth Clark, EdD
  • Measuring Mentoring Results, Margo Murray, CPT

For more information, or to register, visit

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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:

Advance Auto Parts
Manager of Corporate Training & Performance Improvement
Job Location: Roanoke, VA 24012
Job Type: Full Time

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
Manger Trainer L&D Immunoscience
Job Location: Plainsboro, NJ 08536
Job Type: Temporary-to-Hire

Freddie Mac
Learning Consultant
Job Location: McLean, VA 22102
Job Type: Full Time

Philips Healthcare
Instructional Designer
Job Location: Highland Heights, OH 44143
Job Type: Full Time

Resource Associates Corporation
Job Location: Nationwide Locations
Job Type: Contract

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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 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
Learn the Principles & Practicies of Performance Improvement, July 21-23, in Washington, D.C. Take your performance improvement skills to the next level. Register Today!

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.



Online Anytime: The Course Developer Workshop Online 24/7. Darryl L. Sink & Associates, Inc. Register online at, or call Jane at 800.650.7465.

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

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 Each article will be reviewed by one of ISPI’s on-staff HPT experts, and the author will be contacted if it is accepted for publication. If you have any further questions, please contact

About PerformanceXpress

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

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

If you have any questions or comments, please contact John Chen at

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

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


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