June 2009

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In this issue:

CEO Mischief: Top Down HR Interventions

Ad: Performance Improvement Institute


Teaching Concepts: Combining Science and Creativity

Ad: Fall Conference

Principles & Practices Comes to the National’s Capitol

From the Board

The Power of Performance: Achieving Results in Uncertain Times

Performance Architecture: The Art and Science of Improving Organizations

THE 2010 Performance Improvement Conference Will Be a Gold Mine!

ISPI Office Relocation

Tales from the Field

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





CEO Mischief: Top Down HR Interventions

by Irving H. Buchen, Capella University

What do CEOs not know about their own organizations that they should—sometimes at their peril? Most CEOs probably have forgotten all the negative stuff they learned on the way up—namely, the number of devious forms of evasion, cover-ups, trickeries, and short cuts; and the mostly minor matters such as waste, pilfering, malingering, and so on. To be sure, although cumulatively such flimflams mount up, they are obviously survivable. Not so one area that routinely escapes the gaze and knowledge of top leadership: the questionable hirings of HR, especially at the middle level.

Here a double loss is often involved. We frequently duplicate rather than differentiate; and we confirm our course rather than go in any new direction. In short, we lose the opportunity to bring about organizational change from within—and often for a generation or the working lifetime of an employee. But why would that make such a difference? Imagine the different fate of our automobile industry if it had hired Toyota types; of banks if they had brought on experienced hands from Office of the Budget; and so on down the line. The point is obvious: all companies are dominated by a critical personnel mass that drives, shapes, and defines their fate, for good or ill. All the efforts of engagement, the pressures of culture, and the stirring visions of leaders will not take hold or make much difference if the cast of players and their scripts remain the same. To be sure, downsizing of various kinds offers opportunities, but typically only results in less people compelled to do more—but essentially only more of the same. Diversity-driven hiring has given us a new more global look, but how different are color and gender when they all are stamped with a standard MBA? Even the commitment to massive training and retraining falls short: the same people are training the same kinds of workers with the same kind of updating and upgrading. In short, all interventions are obediently incremental and support the status quo; they are not discontinuous and newly directional.

We are beginning to recognize at least three sad truths. The first is that the capacity to learn and implement change is a function of an internal and given set of locked-in and mutually reinforcing set of cognitive, generational, and psychological factors that operate within a limited range and are subject to the law of diminishing returns. In other words, every organization is stuck. It can tinker and tweak with what it has, but that is it. Second, we have done little to alter who we hire as well as how we do it. We still favor bringing on those who are like us—who come from the same clusters of universities, who sound and converse like us, who are round pegs in round holes, and who can and will fit in. To find another hiring pattern, we have to go far afield to prestigious research centers or institutes where professionals from other countries and international learning institutions are working side by side with Americans on projects. But what sets them and those hires apart is a double focus on innovation rather than maintaining the status quo, and on excellence not just competence. The third factor is perhaps the saddest of all: the absence of a HR leadership role, which may have to be filled by the CEO. With all due respect to chain of command, the only way CEOs can dramatize the missed opportunities to bring about organizational change and direction through hirings is to become more directly involved in candidate identification and selection.

The first step would be to set aside and reserve three hiring slots for the CEO alone to fill. But lest this invite the appearance of cronyism or the suspicion of planting Big Brother, the recommendations advanced should be minimally puzzling, even enigmatic, regularly mischievous but always dislocating. Each one should deviate from the norm, rock the boat, and feed the rumor mill. How else to stir things up—to get every one talking around the proverbial water cooler? Here are three executive choices:

  1. Hire someone not needed
  2. Hire someone very old
  3. Hire the overqualified

There are minimally two problems with these HR arguments. The first is that they are not empirically based. We generally have not hired the overqualified. Before we can, the myth of the stereotype cuts them off at the knees. Second, we are less than honest. The truth is many of the jobs that the overqualified apply for already are boring and attract temporary types anyhow. The overqualified thus expose those qualities and make it clear that the emperor and the job have no clothes. But the critical truth that is obscured is the fear of supervisors that they will be exposed and outclassed by someone who knows as much or more than they do and jeopardize their power to command. But perhaps that is precisely the kind of bossism you want to change and, in addition, seek to introduce a level of expertise that causes all ships to float higher. The biggest problem is getting the overqualified candidate to accept an additional role as an informal go-to person. We know how important and role-defining internal learning and knowledge can be as an agent of change, and the overqualified are ready-made for such a pivotal role and a win-win situation.

In summary, the sage warning of Robert Frost should perhaps be applied to the entire HR process: “Before I build a wall/I would like to know/What I am walling in? And what I am walling out.” Good fences may make for good neighbors but they do not make for savvy employees who have to think outside and beyond the boundaries of their boxes, Sometimes that growth process can be helped along by a few eccentric executive HR interventions—change through the exceptional, if you will.

Irving Buchen, PhD, is a member of the doctoral business faculty (specialist in HR) at Capella University, active consultant and executive coach, frequent contributor to Leadership Excellence, and author of Partnership HR (2007).

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But what sets them and those hires apart is a double focus: on innovation rather than maintaining the status quo, and on excellence, not just competence.



TrendSpotters: The Leverage Finder

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

Klaus Wittkuhn, CPT, is the founder and managing partner of Performance Design International, a consulting firm based in Bonn, Germany, that specializes in the design of performance systems, and of Train, a company focused on performance based training. Klaus, klaus.wittkuhn@pd-international.de is a recipient of one of ISPI’s highest award, Honorary Member for Life. The Leverage Finder is an example of one tool developed at Performance International that Klaus and his team use internally, and is also customized for clients’ specific needs. It is this month’s addition to our TrendSpotters Open Toolkit (TOT).

Genesis of this Tool

The Leverage Finder was developed during a project for the German postal service, a large organization that includes a shared service center with 40 internal consultants that support the major lines of business. The challenge was to manage customer expectations during the service center’s planned transition from a training function to a performance improvement function. The presenting problem was how to reframe the service center as a performance improvement resource that clients would welcome and use while sustaining the changes for the long term.

Klaus and his team saw that the service center consultants would need specific tools to help them through this major change and enable them to approach their responsibilities from a new and broader perspective. The team also realized that to make the planned transition from training to performance sustainable, the use of the tools would have to be required. They developed a suite of tools that included one to help the consultants understand their clients’ business, as Geary Rummler’s Relationship Map does; another to use in analyzing human performance problems; and the Leverage Finder to help the consultant gather information during the first meeting with a client and to open the client’s thinking to solutions other than training. The Leverage Finder was specifically designed to convince internal customers that the former training people had more to offer than what their customers used to expect from them.

Description of the Tool

The Leverage Finder is a large-format worksheet that guides the consultant through the initial information-gathering meeting with a client. This is a high value tool that supports the consultant in forging a partnership with the client and guiding them through a refining process to elicit all the components of the problem or opportunity. Everything is made visible on a single sheet of paper, and the client is educated along the way. Through conversation, the client and consultant list such critical components as the specific problem/opportunity, the organizational level at which it manifests, related performance goals, and applicable competencies if these are established in the organization.

The Leverage Finder can be customized for individual clients and includes some generic examples of interventions and performance goals to help the consultant gather information. It is a valuable aid for marketing and change initiatives, making alternatives visible, and helping consultants identify what to leverage for a successful change.

How to Use the Tool

Sitting side-by-side with the client, introduce the Leverage Finder as a map that will help organize and guide the discussion and ensure that no relevant information is overlooked. The tool’s flexibility allows you to start where the client is in his or her thought process, following the flow of the tool, and perhaps backtracking to complete pertinent information. The collaborative design of the Leverage Finder encourages ownership, with clients often commandeering the pen to fill in information during the discussion.

To complete the worksheet:

  1. Specify the Problem or Opportunity in the first column in concert with the organizational level
  2. List solutions requested in the Interventions boxes that correspond to the organizational level
  3. Move to desired Performance Goals, how they are measured, and the desired results for each
  4. Add relevant Competencies in the appropriate gray boxes if they are tied to results in your organization
  5. Add information about the Work Environment such as feedback systems or incentives that support or affect the problem or opportunity
  6. List Workplace information such as relevant procedures
  7. List the Performance Goals and how you will know they have been reached
  8. List the Business Goals that correspond to the Performance Goals you have added—this is an alignment box that can help you identify any nonaligned conditions
  9. Add organization-specific Interventions and Performance Goals—for customized versions of the tool, pre-fill these
  10. Summarize the Competencies listed earlier, if any, in the large final gray box—for customized versions of the tool, pre-fill these
  11. Make photocopies of the completed worksheet and give the original to the client

Success Story

A large home improvement chain wanted to train thousands of employees in relationship selling. This was a major change from the standard sales practice of pushing products, and focused instead on helping the customer make the best purchase choice.

Klaus and the HR manager spent three hours discussing the new sales program with the help of the Leverage Finder. By filling in the boxes, the HR manager could see that sales management was not included. The tool, not Klaus, showed the manager that this program would fail unless senior management took an active role in supporting the new sales approach with an appropriate incentive system, among other changes—an example of the value of the alignment box where Business Goals, Indicators, and Results are captured to identify any alignment issues. The manager ultimately went to the CEO and asked to set up the program differently. This saved the company a lot of money that otherwise would have been wasted on an unsustainable solution.

Advice to Users of the Leverage Finder

The Leverage Finder is most effective in the initial project meeting where the client has old expectations to be changed by the problem or opportunity. Introduce it as a tool you and your client will use together to describe the situation and explore alternative solutions.

Links to the Performance Technology Landscape

The Leverage Finder tool supports these principles of Performance Technology:


Focus on Results: The tool contains boxes to list both performance and business results.


Take a System view: The tool itself is a system with components of information that fit together.


Add Value: The client owns the information collected on the worksheet, any unsustainable solutions are easily identified, and the tool supports the way the client does business.


Establish Partnerships: The tool is a conduit for collaboration between the client and the consultant.

Application Exercise

Action Item: Klaus says the best way to become familiar with the Leverage Finder is to use it at the kick-off meeting for your next project.

Advice for Our Times

As performance improvement consultants, we are charged with helping clients avoid wasting time, money, and people on non-sustainable solutions while generating viable alternatives to support organizational goals. The Leverage Finder helps us do this in any economic climate.

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 rogeraddison@earthlink.net.

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Teaching Concepts:
Combining Science and Creativity

by Darryl Sink, EdD, Darryl L. Sink & Associates, Inc.

Concepts are facts, objects, ideas, or events that have common features and are assigned a single name. There are concrete concepts and abstract concepts. We do a concept analysis to come up with the raw material to teach a concept. We need the critical and variable attributes, clear examples, close-in non-examples, and divergent examples that come from a concept analysis.

So what is the scientific way to teach a concept and how can we combine that knowledge with creative instructional strategies that not only get the concept across but also make it memorable and interesting to the learner?

Scientific Procedure

How to scientifically teach a concept so it can be learned is well researched and documented. Here it is in a nutshell:

  1. Provide a definition of the concept.
  2. Present the learner with simple examples of the concept. In each example, point out the critical and variable attributes of the concept.
  3. When the learner is able to identify clear examples of the concept, present the close-in non-examples. Point out the attributes that are missing in the close-in non-examples.
  4. After the learner is able to distinguish between examples and close-in non-examples of the concept, present divergent examples. Again, in each divergent example, point out the critical and variable attributes of the concept.
  5. To evaluate the learner's mastery of the learning objective, present clear and divergent examples and non-examples of the concept. Ask the learner to identify ones that are examples of the concept.

OK, that should do it… right? Well, yes and no. Yes, your learners can learn the concept in this expository way. But what about gaining the learners attention, and making it memorable and interesting so they will want to use the concept in all appropriate situations. In short, how can we get a little creative?

Making It Interesting

Could you start off with an experiential activity to gain their attention and capture their emotional energy? Could you draw some of the content from the learners themselves?

Example 1

One of our outstanding designers, Peter C. Honebein, PhD, demonstrated how you might gain attention when teaching a concept like trust in a recent workshop he and I presented to trainers at Fort Leonard Wood Army Base, Missouri. Peter did a blindfold activity to gain attention and have the learners experience the feelings associated with the concept trust. Half the audience was blindfolded and the other half led them around the area outside the classroom returning them eventually to the classroom. After the activity he debriefed the activity by asking the leaders and the followers (those that were blindfolded) to give one word that described their experience. He then continued with the approach by asking the audience for examples and non-examples of trust, pointing out the characteristics (attributes) of trust.

Example 2

In one of my newsletters, Learning & Performance Tips from Darryl, I gave an example of how we did a concept analysis of the concept physical aggression in educational environment (school). Click here to see the analysis. If you would like to see how that lesson turned out using a Socratic instructional strategy (teaching by guided questioning), send me an email and I will send you the full lesson design.

Reprinted with permission from Darryl L. Sink & Associates, Inc.

Darryl Sink, EdD, is president of Darryl L. Sink & Associates, Inc., an instructional design firm providing instructional design training and custom course design. Subscribe to Learning & Performance Tips from Darryl by visiting http://dsink.com/newsletters. Darryl may be reached at Darryl@dsink.com.

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But what about gaining the learners’ attention, and making it memorable and interesting so they will want to use the concept in all appropriate situations?



Principles & Practices Comes to the National’s Capital

The Principles & Practices of Performance Improvement Institute is a three-day program designed to introduce the fundamentals of human performance technology (HPT). Instructional strategies include workplace examples and collaborative analysis of case studies. Using tools and techniques recognized as best practices in the industry, this program provides knowledge and resources from veteran instructors and facilitators in the field.

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 www.ispi.org/content.aspx?id=746, or call us at 301.587.8570. Group registration discounts are available.

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From the Board
Are You Looking for Local Involvement?

by Paul Cook, CPT, ISPI Director

“Boring” and “dry as toast” are the first thoughts that will flash before your eyes when I mention I have exciting news about the new Chapter Affiliation Agreement (CAA). I know, because that has been the response of nearly everyone not directly involved with its creation. Constitutional documentation is rarely page-turning stuff; yet this year our new Agreement is very different and points our Society in a new direction to connect our chapters with our Society, to build “One Society”—where all the elements of our Society work together.

The CAA spells out how both the Society and its chapters will work together to advance our field and build our members. The Society will support its chapters with programs, marketing, and leadership development. Program support comes in the form of live presenters available to present. Chapter members for the first time will be recognized as “Associates” and will receive the PerformanceXpress so they stay up to date on the latest Society news. Leadership development is supported with a revised Chapter Leader Handbook, the free annual Chapter Leaders’ Workshop at THE Performance Improvement Conference 2010 in San Francisco, and quarterly Reach Out sessions covering topics important to leading. We will help chapters by providing marketing support materials to help them attract and recognize membership as well as build business interest in human performance technology (HPT) and the value of Certified Performance Technologists.

The agreement also defines how our chapters will be supporting the Society with proper branding, membership information, and community outreach. Consistent branding makes it clear that each chapter is part of a larger Society in terms of visual symbols, use of trademarks, and links to ISPI. The membership information will enable the Society to directly serve chapter members by providing them with the latest information on HPT and Society development programs.

Research shows members join to develop and grow their abilities as performance consultants. Chapters are very often the first place that people hear about ISPI and learn about HPT. Recent research on our Society’s volunteers has shown that about 51% of them received their start as chapter leaders. Our mission as an organization is to develop our members and advance the field of HPT; it is critical that our chapters represent our Society well.

We piloted the new CAA with five chapters for six months starting in the fall of 2008. Participating chapters found the program support helped them deliver great programs and better promote themselves in their local market and their chapter leaders gained new insights that helped them lead their chapter. One of the biggest lessons learned from the pilot was that new and reorganizing chapters received the biggest boost from the experience. This will help make forming new chapters easier. The new CAA will be rolled out to all ISPI chapters starting on June 2. For more information, join the Chapter Partnership Committee on Thursday, June 11, 2009 for its first "Reach Out" session. Contact chapters@ispi.org to register. Each chapter is expected to sign the agreement and return it to ISPI HQ by June 30.

It sure does not sound like earth-shattering or paradigm-shifting stuff, but in terms of its long-term impact on our Society the new Chapter Affiliation Agreement will help us grow and develop for years to come.

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The Power of Performance:
Achieving Results in Uncertain Times

ACT NOW to take advantage
of a member rate of $699 or a non-member rate of $899. This offer won’t last long! 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 Fall 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.

1The 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.

2HPT 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
  • Chief 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 our website for a complete schedule of the educational sessions and workshops being offered: www.ispi.org/fall.

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Performance Architecture:
The Art and Science of Improving Organizations

ISPI has partnered with authors Roger Addison, CPT, EdD, Carol Haig, CPT, Lynn Kearny, CPT, and John Wiley & Sons to bring you a new book, Performance Architecture: The Art and Science of Improving Organizations. This book, driven by the Performance Technology Landscape model, will provide a structure for anyone who needs to access tools and information to be used on the job to help achieve organizational results and build or increase their skills and knowledge in performance improvement. Performance Architecture is designed for any practitioner, from beginner to advanced, to access, acquire, or advance their performance improvement expertise. The authors support each component of the model with tools and examples that have proven value and are developed by experts in the field.

Members receive a 15% discount at the ISPI Bookstore by visiting www.ispi.org.

Roger M. Addison, CPT, EdD is the founder of Addison Consulting and an internationally respected practitioner of Performance Technology (PT) and performance consulting. Roger has served as the Senior Director of Human Performance Technology for the International Society for Performance Improvement and Vice President and Manager at Wells Fargo. Roger is also a past president of ISPI and past Chair of the Board for IFTDO.

Carol Haig, CPT, is principal of Carol Haig & Associates, a performance improvement consulting firm that specializes in performance analysis. Carol has served as director on the executive board of ISPI.

Lynn Kearny, CPT, leads a performance consulting firm that assesses organizational needs and designs and develops performance improvement solutions. Lynn also graphically facilitates client meetings. She is the author of several books, including Creating Workplaces Where People Can Think, from Jossey-Bass.

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THE 2010 Performance Improvement Conference: It Will Be a Gold Mine!

by Lisa Toenniges, Conference Chair, and Megan Young, Communications Lead, 2010 Conference Committee

The 2009 Conference was a great success thanks to the hard work and enthusiasm of Luise Schneider, Dawn Papaila, and their 2009 Conference Committee. Now that Orlando is over and the memories of the great learning and networking experiences are still vivid, it is time to turn our minds to next year’s conference.

The 2010 Conference will be held in San Francisco on April 19-22 at the Marriott. Those of you who attended the 2007 Conference will be familiar with the Marriott, which is centrally located in San Francisco, a few blocks from Union Square, close to the San Francisco Art Gallery, and opposite the Westfield Mall.

The 2010 Conference Committee is designing this conference to build on a number of the well-received initiatives that were introduced in Orlando:

  • A case study competition between five universities around an Internet-based case in which the top three teams presented their solutions to a panel of Pathfinders at the conference
  • A speed mentoring session where emerging talent met with dedicated ISPI professionals
  • A corporate/industry networking session where team leaders shared what they are doing to address issues affecting specific industries and promote the application of HPT in those industries

The 2010 Conference will also be designed to:

  • Promote the sharing of experiences related to current external environmental forces
  • Emphasize the worldwide applications of human performance technology (HPT)
  • Provide learning opportunities for chapter leaders
  • Develop new HPT practitioners

In addition, we will be focusing on ways to make sure that first time attendees and our international attendees feel welcome and included to ensure they get the most out of the conference!

If you would like to submit a proposal to be a presenter, please click here to access the 2010 Invitation to Present. For the first time we are asking proposers to include an example of how their topic and presentation applies to what Roger Kaufman calls the Mega, that is, the external environmental forces, such as, regulatory issues, economic issues, and poverty. As this is a new concept, in the coming issues of PerformanceXpress we will be providing a discussion of, and examples of, how you can demonstrate how your topic and presentation addresses the Mega.

We will also be showcasing a feature of the conference each month in PerformanceXpress and will be in regular contact via email to give you up-to-date information about the conference.

In these days of economic hardship the Committee is committed to ensuring that we bring you a conference in which the Results, Systems View, Value, and Partnerships are clearly apparent. We aim to show that “there’s gold in that thar conference” (with apologies to Yosemite Sam).

Visit www.ispi.org/ac2010 and download your Invitation to Present and Submission Forms. Act Now! Workshop submissions are due before July 31, 2009 and educational session and cracker barrel submissions are due by August 28, 2009.

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ISPI Office Relocation

As of Friday, June 5, 2009
, ISPI’s office will be located on the fourth floor, Suite 400, of our current building at 1400 Spring Street, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910. Our telephone (301-587-5870) and fax (301-587-8573) will remain the same. We are excited about the new space, as it not only saves the Society money, but better accommodates our current staff structure. If you are ever in the area, we invite you to drop by.

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Tales From the Field
Formative Evaluation of a Hampton Roads Regional Approach to FIRST Robotics

by Bill Piersol, Mike Hajba, Chandra Lyles, and Ed MacDougall

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.

Evaluation Context and Type

FIRST Robotics is a program with international outreach to produce a positive impact on getting more students involved in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics activities by inviting school children to build robots in local and regional competitions. In 2008, an ad hoc group in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia formed a steering committee and initiated a campaign to regionally promote FIRST Robotics programs. In the fall of 2008, a team of Boise State University graduate students conducted a formative evaluation to measure the merits of the campaign efforts and to give feedback to the Hampton Roads FIRST (HR FIRST) steering committee on the strengths and weaknesses of their efforts and strategies.

Evaluation Questions and Logic Model

The evaluation team explored the effectiveness of the campaign with the following questions:

  1. What has HR FIRST been doing?
  2. How well has it been executing what it wants to do?
  3. What are the areas for improvement?

After initial analysis of the objectives of the initiative, the team developed a logic model based on HR FIRST goals as shown in Figure 1:

Figure 1. Evaluation logic model for regional FIRST Robotics program.

Analysis of the Process and Outcomes

Through interviews of HR FIRST steering committee members, it was found that the program had already implemented a structured awareness campaign to guide group efforts in identifying and communicating with community stakeholders. Based on a literature review, it was learned that their five-step awareness campaign was comparable to those used by others as shown in Table 1.

HR FIRST Strategic Model

PR Campaign Model
(Rus, 2007)

Collaborative Tensility Model (Bradbury, Good, & Robson, 2006)

Awareness Define Problem Invitation and Facilitation
Understanding Research Learning Space
Commitment Planning Aligning Vision and Values
Action Implementation
Results Evaluation Benefit

Table 1. Comparison of supporting models.

The similarities between the models suggest that planned awareness campaigns have several sequential phases. Understanding these phases guides the actions of steering committee members in their efforts to build relationships and raise awareness. In addition, the model provides a troubleshooting framework if actions or results are deemed unsatisfactory.

Even though the HR FIRST initiative was only six months old and relatively immature, the evaluation team identified positive outcomes that indicated effectiveness in the effort, such as:

  1. Creating an information-driven HR FIRST website
  2. Conducting or scheduling multiple awareness meetings
  3. Forming a new HR FIRST school team committed to sending 3 teachers and 30 students to a FIRST-related event
  4. Obtaining the support of the local PBS television station to help with awareness efforts

In addition to these successful efforts, the results of an HR FIRST steering committee survey indicated that members overwhelmingly believed that their collective efforts yielded valuable results. This outcome will likely serve as a motivational driving force, which would tend to make members continue in their efforts. This continuation could lead to additional success, which would continue to drive motivation. High motivation becomes especially important in volunteer efforts where other tangible benefits may be lacking.

Evaluation Conclusions

The analysis of the HR FIRST program's strengths and weaknesses yielded the findings discussed below.


HR FIRST has adopted a strong, systematic approach for their awareness campaign. The adoption of a systematic step approach (Rus, 2007) and a synergistic cooperative approach (Dann et al., 2007) is seen as a key part of successful awareness campaigns.

HR FIRST has achieved desired results by its efforts. As a result of this group’s efforts, one school has established a FIRST Robotics program; a public TV station has partnered with the program; and several events have occurred that have introduced students, teachers, and other influential stakeholders to the FIRST Robotics program.

HR FIRST volunteering steering committee members are motivated and likely to continue these efforts. A survey shows that the HR FIRST committee members overwhelmingly see their efforts, and the results of these efforts, as having exceeded their expectations.


This ad hoc effort will likely need to mature into something more formal if it is to be sustained. While the collective expertise within the committee has contributed to desirable results in promoting awareness, the specific actions that led to these successes are not codified within a formal organization. Consequently, as members of the steering committee leave over time, and others join, the volunteers may not realize the same level of success.


Bradbury, H., Good, D., & Robson, L. (2006). What keeps it together: Collaborative tensility in interorganizational learning. In S. Schuman (Ed.), Creating a culture of collaboration (pp. 105-126). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Dann, S., Harris, P., Mort, G. S., Fry, M., & Binney, W. (2007, August). Reigniting the fire: A contemporary resource agenda for social, political and nonprofit marketing. Journal of Public Affairs, 7(3), 291-304.

Rus, F. C. (2007, September). Types of PR campaigns—means of raising product sales. Review of Business Research, 7(5), 144-150.

Bill Piersol is a consultant with Klett Consulting Group, Inc., and may be reached at bill.piersol@kcg-inc.net. He received a master’s degree in Instructional & Performance Technology (IPT) from Boise State University. Michael J. Hajba is a trainer at Progressive Insurance and may be reached hajba@sbcglobal.net. Chandra Lyles is training specialist at Weyerhaeuser, and may be reached at Chandra.lyles@weyerhaeuser.com. Edward MacDougall is a senior technical trainer at Casino Arizona, and may be reached at edmacd@elementsofperformance.com. Michael, Chandra and Edward are pursuing master’s degrees in IPT from Boise State University.

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CPT News from Around the World
Special Work by CPTs on the Environmental Team

I want to introduce you to a group of special CPTs who are members of the CPT Environmental team—Gary DePaul (Ceridian) is the team leader, and he is supported by Bonnie Mattick (Mattick & Associates, LLC), Margo Murray (MMHA The Managers’ Mentors, Inc), Terry Stevens (Busch Gardens), and Fred Stewart (VSD Online). Their homepage is http://community.ispi.org/members/group.asp?id=37219. You can find the tools they have created (including the organization profile and interview guide) and results libraries at http://community.ispi.org/members/group_content_view.asp?group=37219&id=19756.

The team has a two-pronged approach to applying human performance technology (HPT) to environmental challenges. The first approach is to target four environmental organizations to pursue how to best introduce them to HPT including seeking board positions. The targeted groups include Nature Conservancy, National Audubon Society, the Chesapeake Foundation, and the Campus Safety Health and Environment Management Association. For a complete list of environmental organizations they have identified, click http://community.ispi.org/members/group_content_view.asp?group=37219&id=19755.

The second approach is to get all of us to apply HPT with clients, specifically helping them analyze work processes to identify opportunities to eliminate or reduce waste, replace non-renewal resources with renewable ones, and so forth. This is what Bonnie Mattick, CPT, MAEd, MBA, is doing. The team with Margo Murray’s help developed a contact guide to introduce organizations to HPT. Bonnie used the guide when she conducted an interview with the general manager of Southeast Alaska Petroleum Resource Organization (SEAPRO), a spill removal organization. David Owings was the past president of the Board of the National Environmental Safety & Health Association, and has served on several other organizations in the environmental industry. In his work for SEAPRO, he must respond to calls regarding oil spills, much like a firefighter who gets called out to contain or extinguish a blaze. The nature of this work is highly hazardous and requires a high level of expertise.

During her interview, Bonnie described the HPT process to David, and introduced him to the concepts and theories that we use to help employees be more profitable and effective in their work performance. In conducting her interview, she referred to the ISPI Contact Guide that was designed to facilitate conversations about how the principles of performance improvement might contribute to addressing environmental challenges. David described several aspects of his work and how it must be done with a very limited staff, while dealing with large and demanding missions. Environmental issues are pervasive in his work. Some of these are:

  • Delivering hazardous materials training to people in remote areas
  • Conducting spill cleanup in remote areas in Alaska, using limited resources
  • Helping towns deal with an inadequate power generating system that requires them to rely on a diesel-powered generator for an entire population

SEAPRO is minimizing their environmental footprint by bringing efficiencies to their work—being “green” in all that they do, they are environmentally conscious. Some work features he described are:

  • Recycling all paper that is used in their office
  • Shredding paper that is then donated for wildlife rescue programs and bird habitats
  • Minimizing fuel that is burned

David asked questions pertaining to how HPT could benefit his company, and Bonnie explained how organizational productivity could be improved through an analysis of work processes. Some of the concepts that were discussed were: finding efficient methods to improve the way they do their jobs and utilizing feedback from the employees performing the work. These concepts are all tools that are familiar to us in performance technology, and may provide extraordinary benefits to companies like SEAPRO.

Gary DePaul, CPT, PhD

Gary DePaul is the senior manager of performance improvement at Ceridian Benefits Services, Inc. At Ceridian, Gary manages the knowledge and training departments. Prior to Ceridian, Gary worked at Fidelity National Information Services (FIS) as the performance improvement director and at Johnson Controls and Arthur Andersen as an instructional designer and performance technologist. Gary completed his PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has a BA in philosophy and history from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Gary may be reached at Gary@garydepaul.com.

Bonnie Mattick, CPT, MAEd, MBA

Bonnie Mattick is a speaker, author, and performance consultant. She focuses on results and increased profits by helping her clients use their staff more effectively to support their organization’s goals. She helps organizations engage and energize their top performers—their subject matter experts. Bonnie earned both a MAEd and an MBA, making her uniquely qualified to integrate business goals and core competencies with desired outcomes.

Bonnie’s programs deliver long-term results for employees, management, and their customers. Participants in her workshops and seminars embrace creative, interactive techniques, including music and parodies, to make learning a fun and memorable experience. Client services include global organizational learning programs for service-oriented businesses, financial institutions, and government agencies. Bonnie may be reached at bonnie@bonniemattick.com.

Margo Murray, CPT

Margo Murray is president & chief operating officer of MMHA The Managers’ Mentors, Inc., an international consulting firm, founded in 1974. Margo has a unique combination of experience in line and staff management, academic work in business and behavioral sciences, and experience in structuring and managing human performance systems. She originated the concept of facilitated mentoring, and her best-seller book, Beyond the Myths and Magic of Mentoring: How to Facilitate an Effective Mentoring Process, Second Edition, 2001, Jossey Bass/Wiley Publishers, includes 30-plus years of research and client experiences.

Margo is a highly acclaimed presenter and keynote speaker for international conferences. Working in more than 40 countries, she is consistently commended for clear, culturally sensitive communication. Her custom-designed programs, published books, workbooks, and articles have won professional awards and White House Recognition for Excellence, and been translated into Swedish, Spanish, Finnish, French, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, and Arabic. Margo may be reached at margo@mentors-mmha.com.

Fred Stewart, CPT

Fred Stewart is the director of international business development at VSD Corporation. Specifically, he is an advocate for human performance initiatives and he is responsible for the development of international business and foreign market penetration. His team is charged with anticipating the needs of the international and national education and training communities and to drive performance recommendations to our clients.

A retired naval officer with 24 years of service, in 1990 he was selected as the Atlantic Fleet Sailor of the Year and in 1993 was selected as Instructor of the Year. Fred was then commissioned as a naval officer specializing in naval propulsion systems and engineering technical management before being redesignated as a human resources officer.

Fred has a Bachelor of Science degree in sociology from New York University and a Master’s Certificate in instructional technology. His accomplishments include:

  1. Board of Director for the International Society for Performance Improvement 2009-2011
  2. President of the Hampton Roads Local ISPI Chapter (2008-2010)
  3. Board of Director for the Navy League of the United States, Hampton Roads 2009-2011
  4. Serves on the 2010 ISPI Conference Committee
  5. Served in the 2007, 2008, and 2009 ISPI Volunteer and Conference Committees
  6. Member of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership
  7. Member of the Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET)
  8. Certified Performance Technologist (CPT)
  9. Member of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce
  10. Gold Member of the U.S. Saudi Arabian Business Council

Fred may be reached at www.vsdonline.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’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.

Schedule of Events


  • 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

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.

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

Previously recorded SkillCasts include:

  • Is Your Learning Organization Healthy? How to audit your learning function and create a plan for improvement with Will Thalheimer, Work-Learning Research and Anne Marie Laures, Walgreens Company
  • Accelerating Top-Line Sales Performance, Paul Elliott, PhD, Exemplary Performance, LLC
  • How to Turn Learning into Improved Workplace Performance, Calhoun Wick, CEO, Fort Hill Company
  • 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 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:

Boys & Girls Club of Carlsbad
Director of Organizational Advancement
Job Location: Carlsbad, CA 92008
Job Type: Full-Time

Germania Insurance Companies
Senior Training Specialist
Job Location: Brenham, TX 77833
Job Type: Full-Time

Mackey & Guasco Staffing Associates LLC
Director of Human Resources
Job Location: Upper Faifield County, CT
Job Type: Full-Time

Teacher U
Academic Technology Coordinator
Job Location: New York, New York 10003
Job Type: Full-Time

The Research Foundation of State University of New York
Instructional Technology Coordinator–ATTAIN
Job Location: Yonkers, Queens, Far Rockaway, Brooklyn, Bronx, NY
Job Type: Full-Time

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Performance Marketplace

Performance Marketplace
is a convenient way to exchange information of interest to the performance improvement community. Take a few moments each month to scan the listings for important new events, publications, services, and employment opportunities. To post information for our readers, contact our marketing department at marketing@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
Learn the Principles & Practices of Performance Improvement, July 21-23, in Washington, DC. Take your organization to the next level. Register Today!

Join us for the Fall Conference, September 24-25, in St. Louis, MO. The Power of Performance: Achieving Results in Uncertain Times. 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 www.dsink.com, or call Jane at 800.650.7465.

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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Fax: 301.587.8573


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