October 2009

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In this issue:

Virtual Consulting

Ad: SkillCast


Getting Off to a Strong Start

Ad: 2010 Conference

ISPI Announces New Organizational Member

October Skillcast

THE Performance Improvement Conference 2010

ISPI’s Honorary Awards

Announcing New Season of SkillCasts!

What Is the Value of a Conference?

It Is Your Turn: Call for Articles

Tales from the Field

CPT News from Around the World

ISPI Europe Conference

Second Annual HPT Practitioner
Video Podcast Contest

Career Center

Performance Marketplace

Join ISPI Now!

Newsletter Submission Guidelines

ISPI Board of Directors

ISPI Advocates

Back Issues





Virtual Consulting: Effective Partnerships Across Time and Space

by Diane Gayeski, Gayeski Analytics

Mergers, layoffs, outsourcing, and travel cut-backs: these factors are all contributing to big challenges for HPT consultants. Whether you are an internal or an external consultant, it is more important than ever to effectively use techniques and technologies to manage projects at a distance. As virtual project teams have permeated organizations of all types, many challenges and opportunities have been documented.


  1. Virtual teams can leverage optimal creativity and experience, overcoming obstacles of time and distance. For example, it’s fairly typical for organizations to seek consultants by Internet searches and find the person or firm with the best fit, regardless of location. Diversity in teams can create breakthrough insights.
  2. The lack of visual cues can overcome many biases based on appearance, and can in some cases minimize effects of organizational politics and authority structures. There are ways for everyone’s input to be heard in an equal way, without judgment or favoritism based on level in the organization, age, or other individual characteristics.
  3. Virtual teams can get projects done more quickly. My first experience with this was in the mid 1980s when my programmer had an opportunity to study in Japan right in the midst of our biggest project. We actually got the job done ahead of schedule because we unintentionally created a 24-hour workday since he worked while we in the United States slept, and vice versa.
  4. Many organizations save significant expenditures on real estate and travel by allowing employees or contractors to work at home rather than providing office space, and to collaborate via phone and Internet rather than travel.


  1. The lack of face-to-face communication can impede trust and commitment. It is easier to ignore a project commitment to team members when you have never interacted with them in person and when the collaboration has a limited time scope.
  2. Cultural misunderstandings are commonplace—whether it is national, regional, or organizational culture. Is it acceptable to come to a meeting late? What kind of deference needs to be shown to individuals based on their position, experience, or age? When is joking a good way to break the ice and when is it offensive and unprofessional?
  3. Technology snafus are almost expected. People cannot open files, or they lose them, or they have the wrong version. The Internet goes down right before an important web conference. As technology becomes necessary for both communicating and storing key documents and data, any glitches can be devastating to a project.
  4. Ethical and professional dilemmas emerge that never occurred in traditional project teams. How much access should outside consultants be given to key organizational information? When project teams involve vendors who may also be competitors, how can you get them to cooperate and not sabotage each other? How do you maintain appropriate commonalities and differences between team members, some who are employees and others who are outside contractors—especially given tax laws and HR guidelines?

There is a whole new science of leading virtual teams and it involves a set of skills and knowledge that includes facilitation and team building, contracting and project management, technology selection and use, and leadership behaviors. Here’s a simple template to promote successful virtual consulting projects:

Key Factor Some Ways to Implement This

Getting members to identify with the team and its success rather than only with themselves or their “home” department or organization

  • Come up with a name for the team or project that captures their imagination, such as “Waste Busters” or “Project Alpha Launch.”
  • Develop key metrics for success in a collaborative way. Get out into the open what is in it for the project and what is in it for each team member.

Building trust and fluency in communicating

  • Try to have at least a face-to-face meeting to launch the project.
  • If that is not possible, have everybody send pictures and short bios to share via email.
  • Create acceptable ways for people to express their confusion or sensitivities.
  • Develop a “code of conduct” for interactions and expectations.

Making responsibilities and accountabilities clear

  • Develop a chart of each project deliverable or process, and clearly indicate who is responsible, who should be consulted for input, and who has authority over approvals or reviews.
  • Develop specific contracts for each external freelancer or vendor company.
  • Develop a timeline and deadlines.

Organizing and indexing key project information

  • Do not use email as a filing cabinet. Create project sites, which could be a virtual office site, a wiki, or a shared drive. Develop a scheme for naming and filing documents.

Keeping up team motivation and interest in meetings

  • Start each meeting with an ice-breaker.
  • Celebrate milestones; little tricks like sharing coffee or cake at each site will bring people together.
  • Do not use long telephone or web conferences; aim for short meetings in which everybody is an active collaborator.

Avoiding ethical or legal problems

  • Make clear what should remain confidential in all contracts, and clearly mark documents as confidential.
  • Openly discuss situations in which contractors may also be competitors and address how they should appropriately interact with each other.
  • Consider how you should select or manage outside contractors who work for your organization’s competition.
  • Clearly differentiate treatment of employees versus contractors. For example, contractors should be expected to use their own space and equipment and provide for their own professional training.

ISPI is also partnering with Ithaca College to offer an online professional certificate in leading networked organizations and virtual teams. Take any four of a series of two-week asynchronous courses to earn a new credential and network with colleagues around the world. Visit www.ispi.org/pim for more information.

Diane Gayeski, PhD, is a leading advocate, researcher, and practitioner of human performance technology consulting. A recipient of ISPI’s Thomas Gilbert Professional Achievement Award, Diane is currently interim dean of the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College, is the director of their online certificate programs in Performance Improvement Management, and practices what she preaches through her firm, Gayeski Analytics. Diane may be reached at diane@dgayeski.com.

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There is a whole new science of leading virtual teams and it involves a set of skills and knowledge that includes facilitation and team building, contracting and project management, technology selection and use, and leadership behaviors.



The Scenario-Based Learning Model

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

We are delighted to welcome Ruth Clark, EdD, to TrendSpotters. Ruth, ruth@clarktraining.com, is president of Clark Training and Consulting, which provides evidence-based resources for the design and development of classroom and e-learning training. She is a past president of ISPI and the recipient of the prestigious Thomas Gilbert Professional Achievement Award. Ruth’s seventh book, Evidence-based Training, is due out in the spring of 2010. She graciously contributes her Scenario-Based Learning Model to the TrendSpotters Open Toolkit (TOT) this month.

Genesis of the Scenario-Based Learning Model

Scenario-based learning owes its origins to the medical field where it emerged formally in the 1970s. The approach immerses medical students, nurses, pharmacists, and other health practitioners in simulated environments to address the kinds of issues and problems they will encounter on the job. Several studies have shown that scenario-based learning can significantly accelerate the skills of people in highly technical jobs in very short time periods.

Ruth has a long-standing interest in scenario-based learning. She developed a workshop to teach the design and development of this learning approach and built the Scenario-Based Learning Model inductively as she fleshed out the workshop. Sometimes called problem-based learning or case-based learning, the design process for this type of instruction is exacting, and the Scenario-Based Learning Model helps direct the efforts of the designer or developer.

Figure 1. Ruth Clark’s Scenario-Based Model

Description of the Model

While scenario-based learning includes a case study, it is not constructed in the same way as the traditional case study. Conventionally, a case is presented as a learning experience, often as a culminating event at the end of a larger workshop or course. Scenario-based learning uses the case as the frame within which the learning for the workshop or course is embedded.

Designers begin at the center of the Scenario-Based Learning Model with the Task Deliverable. The Task Deliverable, a summary of case outcomes, reflects the learning objectives and the specifications for the scenario that will create the problem-solving situations that participants will address. The remaining components can be constructed in any order:

  • The Trigger Event launches the scenario.
  • Case Data provides the details.
  • Guidance provides relevant models, tutorials, and references needed to work the case.
  • Feedback helps participants expand their scenario-based learning experience with insights and suggestions from their peers and from the instructor or from the medium in which the scenario is presented.
  • Reflection provides opportunities for participants to consider what they did and the lessons learned

Opportunities for Feedback and Reflection are provided together.

How to Use the Scenario-Based Learning Model

Generally, scenario-based learning is most effective for teaching non-routine tasks where problem solving or other forms of critical thinking are a core component and the learner has some relevant job experience. In addition to the medical field, military officer training, flight school for pilots, sales and management training, and trouble-shooting for technicians are all appropriate arenas for scenario-based learning.

Success Story

Ruth tells us that in one workshop where she used the Scenario-Based Learning Model, a graduate veterinary student designed a scenario-based learning program to teach the diagnosis of emergency cat cases that he planned to use for continuing education purposes.

Research suggests that this veterinarian will be successful. A study of two-year apprentice level electronics technicians who received 25 hours of scenario-based training increased their performance to the level of a 10-year expert.

Advice to users

To ensure that your scenario-based learning will be successful, Ruth offers this checklist to help you assess the prospective learning content and targeted learners.

When to Consider Scenario-Based Learning

Are the skills you need to build based on judgment and problem solving?
Are the job skills slow to build because of scarcity or unpredictability of the real-world events that lead to experience?
Do your learners have some relevant job experience?
Do you have access to subject matter experts to define scenarios and underlying decisions?
Do you have time and resources to design, develop, and test a scenario-based learning approach?
Will the time and resources you expend give a return on investment in accelerated expertise of critical skills?
Will your learners find scenario-based learning relevant and motivational?
If your content is volatile, will scenario-based learning be the best option to quickly update and redeploy updates?

Source: Clark, Ruth. (2009). “Accelerating expertise with scenario-based learning,” Training & Development, January, 84-85.

Start small and remember that your project must scale. You will need enough users to offset development time and dollars. Be sure you have access to critical resources.

Links to the Performance Technology Landscape

The Scenario-Based Learning Model supports these principles of performance technology:


Focus on Results: Design begins with the Task Deliverable, which is the result


Take a System view: Scenario-based learning creates a system within which participants simulate on-the-job actions


Add Value: This approach increases learner motivation, builds expertise quickly, and increases transfer back on the job


Establish Partnerships: Scenarios are developed in concert with subject matter experts

Application Exercise

Take a look at a military example of scenario-based learning to get a better feel for what is involved in design and development. Although this example makes intensive use of video, a less media concentrated production can work as well. Then use the When To Consider Scenario-Based Learning checklist to determine if this approach is appropriate in your organization. Start with a small project, follow the Scenario-Based Learning Model, and be sure to assess the availability of resources and the return on investment for the project during your planning process.

Advice for Our Times

Studies report that participants in scenario-based learning are more engaged and motivated compared with the traditional “rule-example-practice” approach we are familiar with. The acceleration of learning, coupled with the increased transfer of training, is attractive to organizations in any economic climate. Today, when expenditures are carefully scrutinized, organizations are likely to look with favor on scenario-based learning, particularly if the investment in resources on the front end results in benefits of scale on the back end.

Find all the models and tools featured in TrendSpotters at http://www.ispi.org/archives/perfXpress.htm#trendToolkit.

You may contact Carol Haig at carolhaig@earthlink.net or at http://home.mindspring.com/~carolhaig; and you may contact Roger Addison at rogeraddison@earthlink.net. Roger blogs at http://rachekup.blogspot.com.

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Getting Off to a Strong Start

by Bill Rosenthal, Communispond Inc.

Every performance improvement change begins with a common challenge: deciding how the initiative should be announced. Consciously or not, employees will form an opinion about the change as soon as they learn about it. Whether you make the announcement or another leader does, here is how to plan it so it motivates the employees to support the initiative and it gets a jet-propelled start.

To begin, put aside any thoughts about the idea that you can make the announcement by email. The most effective way to announce it is by doing it live and in person. Handled well, this will let you present an unambiguous definition of the change, take full responsibility for it, energize the employees to adopt the desired behaviors, and start the culture change right there.

Gather the employees together—or in groups if more than one meeting is needed. Get out in front of them, look them in the eye, and tell them the full story without resorting to apology, circumlocutions, or Dilbert-speak. Explain the reasons for the change, acknowledge that it may cause uneasiness, and assure everyone that you will address their concerns. Inexperienced presenters often fail to realize that what you say is not as important as how you say it. Trained presenters understand that to motivate and inspire an audience they must make a strong impact on that audience.

The way to make the needed impact is to speak without a script and get out from behind the lectern. Tied down by a script and lectern, you would not be able to make eye contact with the audience—an essential element for building trust. Planted in place, you could not use movement to create a high energy level.

This kind of presenting does not come easily to many performance improvement professionals. The good news is that it can easily be learned. Moreover, the more you speak, the more comfortable you will be in front of an audience. Your improved communication skills will make you a more effective leader and help advance an executive career.

As you rehearse your presentation, you should also rehearse the body movements that will help you underscore important points. Move around as you speak, and gesture with your arms, hands and head turns. To help you connect with the audience, look at one person at a time for as long as it takes to complete a thought, or about five seconds, then look at another person as you continue. Presenters who are nervous about speaking tend to scan the audience; this actually increases anxiety because the brain has too much information to process.

You also can underscore what is important with your voice—by speaking more loudly or quietly or with a pregnant pause. Inexperienced speakers tend to rehearse by sitting down and reading the script silently to themselves. Rehearsing with accompanying body and voice changes will do more than make you a more effective speaker; it also will help you get everything down pat and able to put aside the script more quickly.

If you are announcing an unwelcome policy change or anything else that adversely affects the audience, show your empathy. Let them know you understand the issues involved. Take some additional effort to explain the necessity for the change and why it was the best alternative for everyone.

Here are some additional tips that are taught in Communispond’s Executive Presentation Skills program:

  • Walk in strong, move confidently to where you’ll begin your presentation, stand tall, smile, survey the room, and only then begin speaking—with conviction. When you are not using your hands, rest them comfortably at your side, not in the fig-leaf position or the military’s parade rest posture. Avoid leaning forward and back or side to side, or making nervous gestures like fussing with your clothes or jingling change in your pocket. Do not use non-words like um or ah, which are the defining characteristics of inexperienced speakers.
  • If you use visuals, do not overload them with content. Communispond teaches its 4x4 rule—no more than four lines of four words each per slide. Speak to the audience, not the visuals. Keep the group’s focus on you and direct everyone to the visuals when you refer to them. Never present in a darkened room or use the visuals for cues about what to say next.
  • Keep your eyes on the audience. If you sense inattention, shake things up by pausing or asking a question. If you see puzzled expressions that might signal lack of understanding, explain better, perhaps with an example or an analogy.
  • Anticipate the kinds of questions you will be asked. Prepare concise, persuasive answers to them and tie back the answers to one of your main points. When you ask for questions, show the audience how they should be asked by raising your hand. Rephrase unfriendly questions so they are neutral. If you want to avoid a follow-up to an unfriendly question, look to another part of the room as you finish your answer and recognize someone else.
  • After the Q&A, when you summarize, make it clear what actions you want the audience to take. If there are key words or an acronym that identifies the change, repeat it. Do not drag this part out. In any presentation, the speaker gets points for building to a close—and closing.

Announcing a change live and in person is only the beginning of the effort to get everyone behind it and to distinguish it from previous change efforts that may now be regarded as flavors of the month. Keep everyone informed about the initiative’s progress and the payoffs it is providing via all the communications vehicles your organization has. Use high-tech and low-tech media—from email and your intranet to posters and cafeteria exhibits. More important, keep doing what only you can do: keep leading the change live and in person.

Bill Rosenthal is CEO of Communispond Inc., which provides consulting and training in presentations and other aspects of communications. Now celebrating its 40th year, the company has trained more than 600,000 persons on how to achieve critical business goals by communicating with clarity and power. Its programs are offered in standard and custom forms delivered by its own instructors or licensed instructors and in public seminars. Visit www.communispond.com for access to free articles, videocasts, and audiocasts on all aspects of communications and to receive its weekly e-newsletters. Bill may be reached at brosenthal@communispond.com.

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If you are announcing an unwelcome policy change or anything else that adversely affects the audience, show your empathy.



ISPI Announces New Organizational Member

Federal Highway Administration

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is a major agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). As a cabinet-level organization of the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government, the DOT is led by a presidential appointee—the Secretary of Transportation. The top-level official at FHWA is the administrator, who reports directly to the Secretary of Transportation. FHWA is headquartered in Washington, DC, with field offices in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

FHWA is charged with the broad responsibility of ensuring that America’s roads and highways continue to be the safest and most technologically up-to-date. Although state, local, and tribal governments own most of the nation’s highways, FHWA provides financial and technical support to them for constructing, improving, and preserving America’s highway system. FHWA’s annual budget of more than $30 billion is funded by fuel and motor vehicle excise taxes. The budget is primarily divided between two programs: Federal-aid funding to state and local governments; and Federal Lands Highways funding for national parks, national forests, Indian lands, and other land under Federal stewardship.

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October SkillCast

Using Web 2.0 to Maximize Organizational Performance

Jim Hill, CPT, EdD, CEO, Proofpoint Systems Inc.
October 21, 2009, 1:00 pm EDT
Register Online

Industry experts point out that—with the advent of Web 2.0 and the need to support more collaborative environments—many manual, paper-based processes are quickly moving to the internet. Performance analysis is one such process. Rather than relying on uncertain practitioner skill levels; time consuming, non-standard practices; and information that is fleeting and hard to access, Web 2.0 offers the opportunity to use high collaborative networks and easily accessible self-help methods to dramatically improve analysis and solution selection. Dr. Hill will join you to explore the world of 2.0 and the significant improvements it can offer in cost, time, accuracy—and performance.


  • Showcase Web 2.0 applications that support rapid analysis and decision-making
  • Discuss how these tools can be used in your organization


  • Gain familiarity with Web 2.0 tools that support performance improvement
  • Increase your knowledge and mastery of many performance improvement processes
  • Establish yourself as a leading information source regarding web-based HPT tools

About The Presenter

Dr. Jim Hill is the founder and CEO of Proofpoint Systems, a global provider of Web 2.0 systems that support individual and organizational performance improvement.

As a career officer in the United States Marine Corps, Dr. Hill was an acknowledged expert in the areas of leadership and performance. As an executive with Sun Microsystems he was responsible for establishing numerous regional and global productivity organizations.

He has been recognized by Training magazine, and featured in Sales and Marketing Management magazine, and Japanese Management Journal. Based on the success of his organization's applications, he has also been recognized by the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security. On behalf of Proofpoint, he has been a three-time finalist for the American Business Awards. He has also received three ISPI Awards of Excellence. He is a past president of ISPI.

His chapter in the Handbook of Human Performance Technology, 3d Edition (2006), Professional Ethics: A Matter of Duty, was selected as required reading for the 2008 International Relations program of the London Metropolitan University.

Dr. Hill and his wife, Aiko, have four children. They reside in Los Altos, California.

For more information or to register visit www.ispi.org/skillcasts or call 301.587.8570. Purchase your season pass today for only $649 members, $899 for non-members, or a Corporate Seat Season Pass for $1,429.

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Purchase your season pass today for only $649 members, $899 for non-members, or a Corporate Seat Season Pass for $1,429.



THE Performance Improvement Conference 2010: Keynote Presentations Announced

ACT NOW to take advantage
of a member rate of $750 or a non-member rate of $1000 until December 18, 2009. Join us at THE Performance Improvement Conference, April 19-22, 2010, in San Francisco, California, and learn from our many expert presenters sharing their thoughts on adapting to the current external environmental forces and applying and implementing innovations. Come find answers to some of the most significant problems many organizations are facing, share best practices, and network with the smartest minds in the industry from around the globe.

Keynote Presentation: Marshall Goldsmith, PhD

The American Management Association named Dr. Marshall Goldsmith one of 50 great thinkers and leaders who have influenced the field of management over the past 80 years. Major business press acknowledgments include: Business Week—most influential practitioners in the history of leadership development; The Times (UK)—50 greatest living business thinkers; Wall Street Journal—top 10 executive educators; Forbes—five most-respected executive coaches; Leadership Excellence—top five thinkers on leadership; Economic Times (India)—five rajgurus of America; Economist (UK)—most credible executive advisors in the new era of business; and Fast Company—America’s preeminent executive coach.

Marshall’s PhD is from UCLA. He teaches executive education at Dartmouth’s Tuck School and frequently speaks at leading business schools. He is a Fellow in the National Academy of Human Resources (America’s top HR honor) and his work has been recognized by almost every professional organization in his field. In 2006, Alliant International University honored Marshall by naming their schools of business and organizational studies the Marshall Goldsmith School of Management.

He is one of a select few advisors who have been asked to work with over 100 major CEOs and their management teams. Marshall is co-founder of Marshall Goldsmith Partners, a network of top-level executive coaches. He served as a member of the Board of the Peter Drucker Foundation for 10 years. He has been a volunteer teacher for US Army Generals, Navy Admirals, Girl Scout executives, International and American Red Cross leaders—where he was a National Volunteer of the Year. Marshall’s 24 books include: The Leader of the Future (a Business Week best-seller), Coaching for Leadership, and Succession: Are You Ready?

Marshall is a world authority in helping successful leaders get even better-by achieving positive, lasting change in behavior: for themselves, their people and their teams. Over two hundred of his articles, interviews, columns and videos are available for viewing and sharing online (for no charge) at www.MarshallGoldsmithLibrary.com.

Keynote Presentation: Diana Whitney, PhD

Dr. Diana Whitney is an inspirational speaker, provocative educator, and pioneering thought leader in the growing field of Appreciative Inquiry and Positive Change. Through her work, her teaching, and her writing she has positively influenced the lives of millions of people around the world.

Diana is an award-winning author. Recognized in 2004 by the International Organization Development Network (ODN) for her contribution to the field through writing she is the author or editor of 15 books, as well as dozens of articles and chapters. She is President of Corporation for Positive Change, an international consulting firm specializing in the application of Appreciative Inquiry-the revolutionary process she helped develop and spread-to resolve the most pressing challenges of our time. In fields ranging from health care to education; from peace-building to business; from community development to government, Diana coaches executives and their teams in support of organization culture transformation, strategic development and leadership capacity building. With over 30 years of experience, her clients include Merck, British Airways, Verizon, J&J, Calgary Health Region, University of Virginia Health System, Idaho Department of Education, and Sisters of Good Shepherd. The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) recognized her Appreciative Inquiry work at GTE (Verizon) with their Best Culture Change of the year award.

Diana is a Founder of the Taos Institute, a center for dialogue among family therapists, educators, and organization consultants. She is a Fellow of the World Business Academy and an ongoing advisor to the United Religions Initiative, a global interfaith organization dedicated to peace. Diana is a Distinguished Consulting Faculty at Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center where she teaches and advises PhD students. She is an expert faculty for the NCR Picker Patient Centered Care Institute.

Diana received her PhD from Temple University in the field of Organizational Communication. Her early research into the dissemination of educational innovations funded by the National Institute of Education created an agenda for the ongoing development of educational R&D laboratories throughout the United States.

For more information on THE Performance Improvement Conference visit www.ispi.org/AC2010.

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ISPI's Honorary Awards

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

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

This year’s recipients were Honorary Life Member: Carl Binder, CPT, PhD, Thomas F. Gilbert Distinguished Professional Achievement Award: Judy Hale, CPT, PhD, and the Distinguished Service Award: Karen Medsker, PhD. The deadline to receive nominations is October 23, 2009. For more detailed information on the guidelines used for selecting individuals to receive these awards, click here.

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The deadline to receive nominations is October 23, 2009.



Announcing New Season of SkillCasts!

SkillCast webinars are designed to enhance
your knowledge and skills in the field of performance improvement. Each 60-minute educational SkillCast has been carefully crafted to offer the most practical and relevant information to support your professional goals and objectives. From the leading industry experts presenting the material to the content and the session titles, ISPI’s mission is to ensure you and your organization get the most value for your investment. Register for a SkillCast today and you will see results tomorrow and beyond.

2009-10 SkillCast Schedule for Season 2*

  • October 21, 2009—Using Web 2.0 to Maximize Organization Performance, Jim Hill, CPT, EdD
  • November 18, 2009—Explaining Performance Issues to Executives, Gary DePaul, CPT, PhD
  • December 16, 2009—Training on Trial: The Urgent Need to Become a Strategic Business Partner, Jim Kirkpatrick, PhD
  • January 20, 2010—Selling Yourself: Six Essential Steps Required to Sell the Most Important Product YOU!, David Coad
  • February 17, 2010—Developing Rating Scales for Performance Tests, Bill Coscarelli, PhD, & Sharon Shrock, PhD
  • March 17, 2010—Performance Architecture: Build It and You Will Succeed, Roger Addison, CPT, EdD
  • April 14, 2010—Measuring Mentoring Results, Margo Murray, CPT, MBA
  • May 19, 2010—Evaluation: The Link Between Learning and Performance, Roger Chevalier, CPT, PhD
  • June 16, 2010—Evidence-Based Training: Moving Beyond Fads and Fiction in Workforce Learning, Ruth Clark, EdD
  • July 21, 2010—Creating Engaging Web-Based Training, Ken Steinman, CPT
  • August 18, 2010—Comparing Four E-Learning Applications: Lectora, Articulate, Captivate, and Camtasia, Siatmoy Chong, CPT
  • September 15, 2010—Working Together When You Are Apart: Web-Based Collaboration Tools, Peter Hybert, CPT, & Dottie Soelke, CPT

*Schedule subject to change.

To register for any of these SkillCasts, visit www.ispi.org/skillcasts.

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Click here for a SkillCast flyer (PDF) with the complete schedule.



What Is the Value of a Conference?

by Megan Young, Communications Lead, 2010 Conference Committee

In the August 2008 PerformanceXpress, Don Steiner wrote a thought-provoking article: “The Value of a Conference: What is the Return on My Investment?” It is a question that all of us ask ourselves and is asked of us by the organizations we work for, especially in the current financial climate.

Don suggested that we can evaluate whether to attend a conference or other professional gathering in the same way that we, as professional performance improvement consultants, evaluate the solutions we provide to our clients’ problems.

“In the field of performance improvement consulting, evaluation is sorted into four broad categories, which we see as increasing in their level of depth and value to a business analyst in determining success. The four levels can be thought of in terms of four general questions:

  • Did the learner accept or like the activity enough to participate fully?
  • Did the learner receive and retain knowledge from the activity?
  • Did the learner do something with the knowledge that moved behavior in a desirable direction?
  • Did the change in the learner’s behavior result in a positive change in business results?”

I am often asked by my colleagues, what is it about THE Performance Improvement Conference that compels me to fly halfway around the world each year to attend; after all, there are a number of conferences much closer to home. I have undertaken a quick exercise to use Don’s questions to provide a high-level evaluation of the return of my time and money investment over the last few years.

What are some of the activities that I like that make it worthwhile to attend? I love the fact that I can:

  • Attend sessions run by, and meet, people whose work I have read about and who have inspired me.
  • Network and meet people from all around the world who have a passion for performance improvement.
  • Find out about the latest research in performance improvement.
  • Attend sessions on a broad range of topics, not just training.

What have I learned? Some of the many things I have learned about are:

  • Evaluating ROI
  • Making systemic change
  • How the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are embedding HPT to improve service delivery
  • The manager’s role in improving workplace performance
  • The findings of research on the Wile HPT Model
  • The value of the mega

Has my behavior changed as a result of anything I have learned from the conferences? Has the change in behavior produced the desired results? I have certainly been inspired by hearing about research and what others are doing in their workplaces to use my new learning to, among many things:

  • Develop a post induction training support program for a call center to ensure that the significant investment in providing the training is paid off by retention of recruited staff. This program is still being run even though I no longer work for the organization.
  • Run workshops about giving constructive feedback that incorporated a gem from Don Tosti about appropriate timing—do not give the feedback immediately after the person made the error, give it just before the person repeats the task. The response to the workshops was extremely positive.
  • Use the simplicity of the Six BoxesTM approach to explain to people in the business and get their buy-in that training is not necessarily the answer to performance problems.

I am sure that my responses will resonate with the many from around the world who have attended our conferences.

We are currently preparing the program for THE Performance Improvement Conference 2010, hosted by the International Society for Performance Improvement, to be held in San Francisco, California, April 19-22, 2010, and these questions and the feedback we received from delegates to THE Performance Improvement Conference 2009 in Orlando are guiding what to include. In the coming months’ editions of PerformanceXpress, we will be highlighting some of the features and innovations for San Francisco that we believe will justify your investment of time and money to attend.

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It Is Your Turn: Call for Articles

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

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

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Tales From the Field
Where Are the Project Status Reports? Applying Needs Assessment in the Workplace

by Brett Christensen, Michael J. Hajba, Kayleen Grage, and Barb Spice

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

A New Project Management Process

In September 2008, the client implemented a new project management process following a one-day training event. The project officers (POs) were advised that each project assigned to them would include a project charter, a project plan, biweekly project status reports, and a final project report. From September 2008 to January 2009, only two of the seven POs completed all the project status reports as required. In January 2009, a group of Boise State University students was asked to conduct a needs assessment to determine the barriers to completion of the project status reports and offer recommendations on how to improve the POs’ performance.

Is There a Performance Problem?

The desired performance is a monthly report by each PO updating the status of each of his or her projects. With only two of seven POs reporting consistently, the potential for improving performance (Gilbert, 2007) was measured at 2.17 (PIP = Wexemplary/Wtypical).

Data Collection and Analysis

Data gathering consisted of quantitative and qualitative data from archival sources, interviews, electronic surveys, and a literature review. With forethought being given to analysis, Chevalier’s (2007) cause analysis worksheet was used as a template for survey questions. This worksheet, with origins in Gilbert’s (2007) Behavioral Engineering Model (BEM) and Lewin’s (1947) force field analysis, utilizes the six environmental and personal factors with behavioral subcategories. As an example, adapted questions for the BEM’s information factor are shown in Table 1.


Clear expectations

1a. Expectations for the project status reporting process are clear.

Relevant feedback

1b. Feedback given to me on my project status reports is timely.

1c. I receive feedback on my project status reports for good performance.

1d. I receive feedback on my project status reports for not-so-good performance.

1e. Feedback I have received on my performance on my project status reports is relevant.

Relevant guides/
job aids

1f. The handout (containing job aids, templates, and examples) for project status reporting is useful.

Performance coaching

1g. I receive coaching regarding the quality of my performance on project status reports.

Purpose/use of the reports

1h. I understand how my project status reports will be used by others.

Table 1. Adapted BEM Information Questions.

Evaluation Results and Recommendations

The analysis revealed five main variables impacting the performance of the POs in relation to the project status reporting requirement:

  1. No timely and relevant feedback on project status reporting performance.
  2. No incentives linked to project status reporting performance.
  3. No consequences linked to nonperformance.
  4. No information regarding how the project status reports fit into the big picture.
  5. The POs’ pressure on management to reduce reporting frequency.

Based on the analysis, the project team provided recommendations for the BEM factors of information, incentives, and motives. All of the recommendations fall in the organizational level of the Synchronized Analysis Model (Marker, 2007), indicating that changes should be implemented at the organizational level.


  • Provide timely and relevant feedback for both good and not-so-good project status reports.
  • Explain how the reports will be used by everyone in the organization, the purpose of the reports, and the systemic impact of the reports.


  • Provide incentives for POs who complete project status reports correctly and on time, which might include public and private recognition.
  • Provide consequences for POs who do not complete project status reports correctly and on time.

Motivation (can be influenced by a data intervention):

  • Help POs see how the completion of the project status reports ties into the bigger picture for the organization.
  • Help POs understand how completing project status reports relates to the rest of their job and can lead to career opportunities.
  • Help POs understand how the completion of the project status reports helps them successfully, effectively, and efficiently complete the project.
  • Help POs understand that reporting “bad news” in the project status reports is not a bad thing and that it actually has benefits (i.e., reporting that the project will not be completed on time is not a bad thing, but is beneficial because others can plan different projects and events based on that information).

Advice for Practitioners Conducting Needs Assessment

Each phase of the project provided valuable lessons on the conduct of needs assessment, the most important of which are summarized below.

  • Planning—Allocate extra time for survey research, design, and development. Build flexibility into schedules for conducting interviews to accommodate the schedules of the interviewees.
  • Interviews—Practice the interview beforehand. Consider developing additional probing questions and identify strategies to bring the interviewee back on topic.
  • Surveys—Use human performance technology (HPT) models such as Gilbert’s (2007) BEM, Rossett’s (1999) Problem Performance Analysis, and Chevalier’s (2007) Performance Analysis Worksheet as guides to frame survey questions and ensure all factors that may contribute to the performance problem are examined. Pilot test your surveys!
  • Data Analysis—Using HPT models to guide the analysis helps to categorize and visualize the potential factors contributing to performance problems.


Chevalier, R. (2007). A manager’s guide to improving workplace performance. New York: American Management Association.

Gilbert, T. (2007). Human competence: Engineering worthy performance (Tribute ed.). San Francisco: Pfeiffer.

Lewin, K. (1947). Frontiers in group dynamics: Concept, method, and reality in social science, equilibria and change. Human Relations, 1(1), 5-41.

Marker, A. (2007). Synchronized Analysis Model (SAM): Linking Gilbert’s Behavior

Engineering Model with environmental analysis models. Performance Improvement, 46(1), 26-32.

Rossett, A. (1999). First things fast: A handbook for performance analysis. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.

Brett Christensen, CTDP, is the learning projects manager at the Canadian Defence Academy in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, and the president of the Armed Forces Chapter of ISPI. He is a Certified Training Development Professional and is due to complete his master’s degree in Instructional & Performance Technology (IPT) in 2010. He may be reached by at brett.christensen@forces.gc.ca. Michael J. Hajba holds a Master of the Humanities from Wright State University, and is currently a six year trainer for Progressive Insurance and a master’s degree student in Boise State University’s IPT program. He will complete his graduate certificate in HPT in December 2009. Michael may be reached at hajba@sbcglobal.net. Kayleen Grage is currently the academic technology project coordinator for Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. She will complete her master’s degree in IPT in 2010. She may be reached at kayleen.grage@gmail.com. Barb Spice will complete her master’s degree in IPT at BSU in December of 2011. She is currently working as principal consultant for HRchitecture, LLC, located in northern Indiana. Barb may be reached at bspice@hrchitecture.com.

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CPT News from Around the World

Recognizing an Institution—Don Kirkpatrick, PhD

Did you know that 50 years ago Donald Kirkpatrick coined Level 1 “Reaction” and Level 2 “Learning” when writing his dissertation at the University of Wisconsin? He coined Level 3 “Behavior” and Level 4 “Results” during his postdoctoral work. His work was first published by the American Society for Training Directors in 1959-60. Did you know that he didn’t call them levels, but others did? Did you know Don was a professor of Management at the University of Wisconsin? It wa not until 1976, 20 years after his dissertation, that he contributed a chapter on evaluation in the Handbook for Training Managers and it was in 1993 that the first edition of Evaluating Training Programs was published. In 2008 Don and his son Jim established Kirkpatrick Partners, LLC.

Don and Jim published Transferring Learning to Behavior in 2005, Evaluating Training Programs in 2006, and Implementing the Four Levels in2007 (all Berrett-Koehler). Their books have been translated into Mandarin, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Turkish, Vietnamese, and Russian. A total of 65,000 have been sold in the United States.

In recognition of Don’s 50 years, Jim and Wendy Kirkpatrick published Kirkpatrick Then and Now: 50th Anniversary Celebration, 2009 (CreateSpace) and their book Training on Trial comes out in 2010 (AMACOM). Jim and Wendy Kirkpatrick, along with solid guidance from Don, are moving the four levels into new areas:

  • Business leaders leveraging training departments
  • Strategy execution
  • Kirkpatrick Business Partnership ModelSM
  • The power of Four Level Impact Studies
  • Kirkpatrick Goal Achievement ModelSM
  • More involvement with ISPI

Why feature Don Kirkpatrick’s legacy in this space usually dedicated to CPTs? His principles are very much aligned with ISPI Standards.

Principle 1: The End is the Beginning

The end is the beginning highlights a necessary shift in thinking and doing for training professionals to overcome the barrier of getting a seat at the business table. Rather than continuing to start a change initiative with training and hope that it ultimately aligns with and leads to positive business results, training needs to follow and support business goals, beginning at the end—specific business expectations. Then and only then does training have a good chance to focus its efforts and make significant impact to the bottom line.

Principle 2: Return on ExpectationsSM is the Key to Success

It is Don, Jim, and Wendy’s hope that return on expectations (ROESM) will soon replace return on investment as the popular and true indicator of training effectiveness. ROE is powerful enough to showcase even the loftiest business and human resource goals, yet flexible enough to target individual business executive’s own particular expectations for training. It is a living concept that all can relate to, because all employees, departments, and organizations have expectations to deliver on. While these expectations are important to negotiate, only when they are converted to measureable, observable indicators of success are they in the position to offer hope of ultimate, maximum impact.

Principle 3: Business Partnership Is Necessary to Bring About Positive ROE

For business success to be maximized through training efforts, it will take more than training to do it. For years, there has existed the crippling myth that training events, in and of themselves, will lead to significant business results. Though many will resist a broader definition, research and actual practice clearly show that training and learning are only major cornerstones of ultimate business impact. In fact, a number of other factors must be put in place and actively executed for there to be a transfer of learning to on-the-job behavior, and ultimately to achieve targeted business and human resource results.

Principle 4: Create Value Before Trying to Demonstrate It

Another training industry misconception is that evaluation is to be used exclusively after training events to see if participants were engaged at Level 1, learned at Level 2, performed their jobs differently at Level 3, and contributed to positive business results at Level 4. In actuality, one of the most powerful uses of a four-level evaluation—and in this case, Level 3—is to actually drive performance and results. With deliberate and persistent attention paid to Level 3 evaluation, coaching, reinforcement, role modeling, alignment of incentives, and accountability, training will be leveraged to actually create value. And that, then, sets the stage for all of us to confidently demonstrate programs that can significantly impact the bottom line.

Principle 5: Build and Present a Compelling Chain of EvidenceSM to Your Corporate Jury

Once success outcomes have been achieved, and a determination of cause-and-effect ROE has been established through data and testimonies from each of the four levels, it is time to leverage that information by presenting it to your key business partners—and specifically, the sponsors of the particular initiative you are highlighting. We call this presenting a compelling Chain of EvidenceSM, much like an attorney does in his or her closing arguments to a jury. Primary purposes of making this passionate, powerful “story of value” are to show the power of the business partnership model to gain a seat at the business table, and to be seen and treated as a true strategic business partner.

Chain of EvidenceSM

To find out more about what the Kirkpatricks are doing, you can register at kirkpatrickpartners.com to receive access to a free resource library that includes their latest white paper, articles, diagrams, and podcasts; and a subscription to their monthly e-newsletter containing timely articles, updates, and tips.

Do you have a story to tell? Contact Judy at Judy@ispi.org.

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CPT logo



ISPI Europe Conference
2009 Galway Preconference Workshops

The theme for the ISPI Europe/EMEA 2009 conference on November 5-7 in Galway Ireland is An Organization IS its People: Surviving and, in Fact, Thriving in Challenging Times.

HPT: The Essentials (Dr. Judith Hale)

This workshop focuses on the how to apply the principles of human performance technology (HPT) in ways that are relevant to clients, efficient in the use of time and other resources, and effective in producing meaningful results. This session is designed for people wanting to help clients focus on what matters, better understand what performance requires, and build sustainable solutions. It is ideal for professionals who want to distinguish their services from the purveyors of silver bullets and current fads.

Participants will learn how to:

  • Quickly get to measures that matter.
  • Distinguish between means and ends so they are focused on the right goals.
  • Recommend a suite of solutions with lasting power instead of a silver bullet that will fizzle in time.
  • Communicate what they do and have done in ways that build stakeholder commitment.

Level: Beginner

Value to the attendee: Attendees will gain rules, tips, and tools they can apply on the job. All of the resources are designed to engage clients in the mutual discovery and design of performance solutions and their eventual evaluation.

BPTA 101—Principles of Business Process Management (Dee Carri)

This course is the foundation for all courses in the Business Process Management curriculum and is required for BPM certification. It provides an overview and discussion of the principles, concepts, and techniques required to transform your business from a traditional, functional organization to a process-centric organization. The course introduces a systematic approach and methodology for planning, monitoring, measuring, and managing your company’s business process performance and for redesigning and improving specific processes.

Who should attend: This introduction to BPM is a must for everyone interested in business process improvement. It is designed for business managers, business analysts, and practitioners involved in process-based change and the automation of process solutions. This course is the foundation for all other courses in the BPM curriculum. It establishes a methodology, a common language, and a baseline for all other courses in the curriculum.

What participants will achieve:

  • An understanding of the value and benefits of business process management.
  • An understanding of the principles of business process management and how to apply them.
  • An understanding of BPM best practices and methodologies.
  • An understanding of the respective roles of relationship management, process architecture, process analysis, process redesign, process improvement, process automation, and organization design—and how to make them work together.
  • An understanding of basic BPM management and measurement techniques.

What participants will learn:

  • How to align their corporate strategy with a well-designed business architecture.
  • How to integrate their business process architecture with human performance and IT implementation plans.
  • The key considerations of a process-based approach to business process change management.
  • The strategic, tactical, and operational considerations in a comprehensive BPM framework.
  • How to plan for cross-organization acceptance and implementation.

ISPI Europe/EMEA Board

Carol M. Panza, CMP@orgmap.com
Arnoud Vermei, info@webperformance.info
Grainne Fielding, grainne.fielding@sap.com
Adolf Theron, atheron@crcn.co.za
Paula Campos, paula.campos@wechange.pt

ISPI Europe/EMEA Conference Committee

Juan Pablo Ortiz, juanpablo.ortiz@yesp.se
Belia Nel, belia@leadersoflearners.co.za

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Second Annual HPT Practitioner
Video Podcast Contest

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

This year’s five-point script is:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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ISPI 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:

Human Resource Generalist/Employee Relations Expert
Mackey & Guasco Staffing Associates LLC
Job Location: Lower Fairfield County, CT 06854
Job Type: Full Time

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

Manager, Clinical Quality and Performance Improvement
Macneal Hospital
Job Location: Berwyn, IL 60402
Job Type: Not Specified

Senior eLearning Consultant
Fidelity Investments
Job Locations: Boston, MA, Westlake, TX, Merrimack, NH
Job Type: Full Time

Sr. Manager, Sales Training & Telco Partners
Job Location: El Segundo, CA 90245
Job Type: Full Time

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ISPI logo



Performance Marketplace

Performance Marketplace
is a convenient way to exchange information of interest to the performance improvement community. Take a few moments each month to scan the listings for important new events, publications, services, and employment opportunities. To post information for our readers, contact 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)!

ISPI @ Amazon. ISPI has created a one-stop shop for all your performance improvement needs. Here we have boks written by ISPI members, CPTs, E-Documents, and featured books of the month. All purchases over $25 are eligible for free shipping.

Career Resources
ISPI Online Career Center is your source for performance improvement employment. Search listings and manage your resume and job applications online.


Conferences, Seminars, and Workshops
THE Performance Improvement Conference, our Annual Conference, April 19-22, 2010, in San Francisco, CA. Early registration rates at an all time low, ISPI member rate of $750, non-member rate of $1,000 until December 18, 2009.

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 don’t 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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