by David C. Forman

Increasingly, companies want to provide training
and learning opportunities for their top performers. These people, after all, are responsible for the most revenue, the best ideas, and the greatest impact on the competitive and future direction of the company. They are the company’s most important assets.

While the proposition of making the best better is compelling, it is difficult to achieve. Often, exactly the opposite effect is achieved: what should be a professionally exciting and enriching experience for top performers is a boring and negative experience, at best. The problem arises because we use the same educational models and approaches for this audience as for others. The result is like the mixture of oil and water—it does not work.

A big issue with highly skilled audiences is motivation: why should they go through traditional training when they are already at the top of their profession or field? Because these people are so productive and capable, think of how much money and “mind-share” is being lost by putting them into a room to hear lectures on basic skills.

But lessons can be learned from successful projects aimed at improving the performance of top performers. These projects included highly skilled people who were senior account representatives with mid-six figure incomes, top engineers at the cutting edge of technology, and senior consultants and practice leaders at Big 5 firms. Traditional training approaches simply did not work with such high-level, skilled, and experienced audiences.

The first critical success factor is that, in most cases, the primary objective is not to teach these skilled audiences directly, but to create an environment in which they analyze situations, solve problems, use their considerable skills and expertise, and see the need for continuous improvement. These audiences must be intellectually challenged; if not, they lose interest and tune out (Clark, 2002).

The second critical success factor is experts learn best from experts. These can be both internal and external experts, but they must have immediate credibility with the audience. If they do not, the training is suspect and motivation is lost. It is not even worth bringing in “traditional trainers” to work with highly skilled audiences.

The third critical success factor is that the audience must have an important role in their own learning. They could have a role in: selecting the experts, defining the topics to be addressed, having ample time to ask their own questions, interacting socially with the guru, and participating in challenging activities with the expert.

Some specific tactical activities that have proven to be successful in training highly skilled audiences are the following:

  • Include an executive message to frame the relevance and importance of the program. Even highly skilled audiences need this grounding and business rationale.
  • Capture best practices of revered internal performers: the “Howie factor.” Once top sales people at a computer firm knew that Howie (who sold three times more than anyone) had participated in designing the program, buy in was swift.
  • Bring in top external experts. Learn from the best. Motivation will be very high once the word spreads that industry leaders are involved.
  • Have plenty of Q&A and even social time with the experts.
  • Have activities that are intellectually challenging and force people to solve problems, analyze performance, and reflect on their own activities. Some examples include the following (Rothwell & Kazanas, 1998):
    • Present actual data: Report data back to the group and have small groups analyze the information and define next steps. Actual data can be a powerful teaching tool.
    • Respond to common perceptions: Report these views, with actual quotes if possible, and have small group sessions to analyze the findings.
    • Do rounds: Just as doctors report on their cases to colleagues and mentors, live reporting sessions can be structured where participants share cases and lessons learned.
    • Analyze documented case studies: Take several actual cases, document key activities and include as much specific data as possible. Have small groups analyze the situation and report their findings.
    • Compete with each other: Establish situations where individuals or teams compete with each other. Sales people, in particular, enjoy the competition and find it highly motivating.
    • Turn the tables: Take people out of their familiar roles. In a major account selling program, a business simulation was created in which the account execs became customer executives (note: the status of becoming a company executive in the simulation was very well received).
  • Develop a Web portal performance support system that houses information, tools, and resources. It therefore is not important to teach this information, but rather to show people how to access what they need, when they need it.
  • Ensure that the program continues and is more than just an isolated event. If the program is perceived as a one-time wonder, then there will be little support.

These critical success factors and tactical suggestions will help to train highly skilled audiences more effectively. Depending on the scope of the program, some or all of these suggestions may apply. But it is very apparent that simply transporting traditional training approaches to highly skilled and experienced audiences will not work. New approaches, ideas, and techniques are required to be successful.

Clark, R.C. (2002). The new ISD: Applying cognitive strategies to instructional design. Performance Improvement, 41(7), 8-14.

Rothwell, W. & Kazanas, H. (1998). Mastering the instructional design process. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.

David C. Forman is President of Sage Learning Systems and a 20-year veteran of the training and learning business. He has held executive positions with leading training organizations and has worked with clients such as IBM, FedEx, Ford, Allstate, Gateway, and American Express to design innovative learning systems. He has authored more than 30 books and articles and is founder of David may be reached at


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  Ensure that the program continues and is more than just an isolated event. If the program is perceived as a one-time wonder, then there will be little support.

by Carol Haig, CPT and Roger Addison, CPT

This month we chatted with Kathleen Whiteside of Performance International, a consulting firm specializing in improving performance by understanding work in business. She may be reached at Kathleen has observed three recent trends in the arenas of organizational implementation, operations, and performance.

Significant Trends
Kathleen reminds us that we performance technologists have a vested interest in the successful implementation of our projects. Many of us have seen great programs destroyed by poor planning. Performance International has had consulting engagements to improve performance due to poor implementation of enterprise-wide software, new product lines, or new cultures. As a result, they have noted the importance of well-designed implementation. Now it appears that others are agreeing, starting with Larry Bossidy’s recently published book, Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done. In it, Bossidy discusses the need for organizations to provide clarity and focus for their projects and initiatives. He goes on to illustrate how a well-executed implementation makes a valued contribution to these efforts.

With our recent economic misadventures and renewed focus on organizational survival, infrastructure is suddenly IN. Workers want to know the most efficient, effective ways to do their work and are asking for structure, methodologies, and defined paths. They want systematic operational procedures. Rather than spending their creative energies developing processes for the known aspects of their jobs, they prefer to be given the best routes to successful completion for these tasks so that they can concentrate on solving their new, and far more interesting, work challenges.

In established organizations, Kathleen has observed that this current interest in operations is likely cyclical. Often, there had been an operational structure in the past but with changes in leadership and direction over time, the old structure has been lost and needs to be rebuilt. In newer organizations, an operational infrastructure may never have been created and now, as maturity sets in, employees are recognizing how such a structure could free their energies for more creative work.

While proponents of performance improvement have existed for some years now, practitioners have historically experienced strong resistance around the globe to their ideas. The standard reactions have usually included the listener’s expressed appreciation for the information about performance, followed by a statement about how it would not work in their organization/culture/country.

In her work with clients, Kathleen perceives a sea change, with people more open to ideas and tools for performance improvement. Concepts that have been written about, taught, and used for years are now resonating with new, eager global audiences. Some of this awareness is a direct result of pain: people have learned that the old solutions do not work, and they are adopting performance-based solutions more readily. The client selling cycle is becoming shorter.

Impact of These Trends
It is interesting to look at the inter-relationships among the three trends. Workers want clarity about their organizations’ projects and initiatives. Much of their confusion may come from experiencing flawed implementations of these plans.

Workers want to put their creative energies to work where they are really needed—for new projects, technologies, and the challenging aspects of their jobs. They want to be given operational procedures for their routine tasks.

Finally, the increased interest in performance improvement solutions is blurring the lines between the “soft skills” and technology. One software development client is actively using the HPT model in his work because he now sees that its basis is the standard systems input/output model. The desire to use non-training solutions, or performance interventions, is also increasing.

Implications for Performance Improvement
Much of Kathleen’s work is helping clients use a mapping process for improving jobs and work group performance. One unique aspect is that clients can see where their jobs and their work processes intersect. For Performance International, improving performance means “Improving the implementation and execution of work.” The workplace stage is set for growth and success when implementations are well planned and executed, efficient operational processes are in place for routine tasks, and clients actively seek performance improvement solutions.

Bossidy, L., Charan, R. & Burck, C. (2002). Execution: The discipline of getting things done. New York: Crown Publishers, Inc.

If you have any suggestions about trends driving performance in today’s business environment that you feel would be of interest to the PerformanceXpress readership, please contact Carol Haig, CPT at or Roger Addison, CPT at


by Pierre Mourier

Nothing in the management of complex organizational change presents the senior leader with a more daunting proposition than minimizing employee resistance. Our recent research indicates failure rates for change of a staggering 70% or more. Yes, that is correct! Less than 30% of all change efforts actually succeed in meeting the expectations of key stakeholders. Just take a moment to imagine the money being almost purposely channeled this way to become corporate write-offs in a year or two down the road.

Organizations and their senior leaders need all the help they can get. And guess what? Help may be available where you least expect it, right at the end of your nose. When you strip away all the consultant-created mumbo-jumbo surrounding change management, what it boils down to is really just human behavior. Change is all about getting people in an organization to behave differently. Change is not about new systems or technologies, not about moving operations to different locations, not about reengineering processes or about combining functional areas. The fact is that people either embrace change or resist it. Furthermore, employees can do this loudly or quietly:

What Should Managers Do?
In the model you will notice that the change management “sweet-spot” is where people embrace the change loudly and become champions. The most dangerous people are those who quietly resist the change (perhaps while “nodding you to death!”). The ideal situation is where you can turn the people who quietly embrace the change while watching from the sidelines into champions and where you can minimize the ferocity of resistance from the opposers (opposers seldom become immediate champions). A further ideal scenario is when you can convince the people who resist the change in the shadows to become either champions, or perhaps more likely, watchers.

Does organizational culture play a role in this picture? Well, if the organization is one where you just do not “rock the boat,” you are almost certainly doomed for change failure. The watchers will never come on board, and the people in the shadows will never let their true feelings be known. At least not quickly enough that it matters. If you, on the other hand, have a culture where it is okay to rock the boat, your chances improve dramatically. The watchers will more easily come on board, and the people in the shadows will become opposers, which is okay because opposers are easier to deal with—at least you know where they are.

So, the question is: “Are you helping the leadership of your organization rock the boat?”

Pierre Mourier is the Founder and President of Stractics Group, Inc. a consulting firm, with offices in New York and Hong Kong, specializing in the design and implementation of performance-related organizational change. He is widely regarded as an authority on Change Management and Business Process Improvement and is a sought-after speaker in Asia, USA, and Europe. Pierre is the co-author of the award-winning book: Conquering Organizational Change: How To Succeed Where Most Companies Fail (CEP Press, 2001). He may be reached at or through



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Change is all about getting people in an organization to behave differently. Change is not about new systems or technologies, not about moving operations to different locations, not about reengineering processes or about combining functional areas.

ISPI’s “games guy” and QBInternational’s Resident Mad Scientist (a.k.a. Director of Research and Development) Sivasailam “Thiagi” Thiagarajan has created another interactive game designed especially for the readers of PerformanceXpress.

Do you know that Jim Hill is ISPI’s 41st president? The last name of a past president of ISPI is Lincoln. Do you know his first name? (Hint: It’s NOT Abraham.)

Thiagi’s new game requires you to match the first and last names of ISPI presidents. Sound simple? Well, this game will increase your fluency in performing this task.

Play this game by visiting:

You will find a 3 x 4 grid with the first and last names of ISPI presidents on different spaces. Click on a first name and the color changes. Now, click on the corresponding last name. If the match is correct, the tiles disappear, you hear a reinforcing sound, and your score increases. If the match is incorrect, you hear an unpleasant sound. Your challenge is to correctly match all first and the last names on the grid. To add excitement, you have to do all this matching while a timer is counting down.

You can play the game at three levels of difficulty. At Level 1, you have to match only four sets of names. At Level 2, you have to match five sets of names. At Level 3, you have to match five sets and ignore an unmatchable red herring. Click on the “?” for additional instructions on how to play the game at different levels.


by Brian Desautels, ISPI Director/Treasurer

The International Society for Performance Improvement’s fiscal year (FY) ’02 ran from October 1, 2001 to September 30, 2002. Just prior to the opening of that year, on 9/11, in the midst of our Fall Conference, came the tragedy that would impact us financially. The economy, already in the doldrums, continued to create caution among managers across the U.S. These two events combined to make a challenging year for all professional associations in general and ISPI specifically.

The business of ISPI is managed by a budget that is reviewed and revised annually by the Executive Committee and the ISPI Board of Directors. Budget figures are projections of expected revenue and expenses aimed at closing the FY of this non-profit organization at either break-even or with a minor level of excess revenue.

When 9/11 occurred, the FY02 budget was immediately revised to reflect lower projections of revenue, to question which expenses to incur and which expenses to limit, and to determine which activities would likely generate needed revenue during the upcoming year. The global vision: practice very tight management controls during FY02.

By mid-year, ISPI was forecasting a loss that would utilize about 25% of our existing reserve. To the credit of the vision of past Boards and the hard work of the administrative staff, over the past seven years the Society has built up a cash reserve equal to six months of operating expenses (assuming no incoming revenue) to be used during extremely difficult times. The vision is that unforeseen, catastrophic events can occur that could create a loss year; with a reserve, ISPI would not have to abandon any programs while safely waiting for the storm to pass.

In the seven years of building the reserve, ISPI never needed to utilize the funds. Yet, FY02 did present itself as an unforeseen, catastrophic year. The downturn in travel and the weakened economy impacted our Annual Spring Conference the hardest of all of our programs, and its impact upon revenues and expenses is worth noting. Attendance at the Conference declined about 40%.

When ISPI plans a Conference, it does so many years in advance in order to gain whatever price advantages are available. For example, ISPI commits to renting blocks of rooms at the Conference hotel to make the package attractive to attendees while, also, providing additional networking opportunities. However, ISPI becomes responsible for the un-rented rooms and there were many extra rooms available when people stayed home this year. That, in itself, made the Annual Spring Conference unprofitable.

ISPI forecasted that eventuality early in FY02 and responded with a very vigorous effort at expense reduction, re-negotiation of our commitments, and (on the upside) drive to use our more diverse programs to sell to the specific needs of our members. The results were remarkable: what could have easily have been a half-million dollar dip into reserves, came in at less than one-third of that projected loss. And, ISPI has paid every bill and kept every program.

In fact, attendance at the 2002 Fall Conference was the best ever and seats at ISPI’s HPT Institutes were in demand. A record number of professionals attended the in-house, online, and publicly offered Principles and Practices Institute. And, while new memberships showed a decline of about 40%, retention remained strong. ISPI members stood by the organization and continued to participate and support the Society on all levels.

Frankly, the reality that ISPI stands today with a broader product blend than just an Annual Spring Conference is the singular reason for weathering this storm this well.

Looking forward to FY03. The budget for the new year continues to be conservative. An improvement in revenue is being forecasted because increased Conference attendance is expected; travel is improving and, when viewed historically, the lower Conference attendance in FY02 was an anomaly. Expenses will continue to be very tightly managed and were capped based on FY02 actuals.

Lastly, send some kudos to the leaders of this organization who responded to the challenges thrown at ISPI this year. The stories about associations who downsized or folded completely are abundant. Send those kudos to the ISPI staff, to the Board and Committee Chairs, and to the committees. And, help where you can: send in your renewals in a timely fashion, bring in a new member, and stay in the Conference hotel in Boston. If the number of conference proposals received for the 2003 Annual Spring Conference is any indication, the Society feels that FY03 will be a rebound year!



by Carl Binder

The examples of possible call center measures in last month’s column prompted a flurry of reader responses, some of which I will discuss next month. The next couple of columns will also cover topics such as understanding “bounce” or variability in ongoing results measures, and distinguishing between changes in levels versus trends. This month, however, I want to encourage you to read a recent Performance Improvement (PI) article, to view some 2002 GOT RESULTS? presentations, and to submit cases to the GOT RESULTS? exhibit at ISPI’s 41st Annual International Performance Improvement Conference & Expo, April 11-15 in Boston, MA.

A Great Article!
Alan Ramias has written a very no-nonsense piece called “What’s All This Fuss About Measurement?” in the October 2002 issue of PI. His punch-line is that “…results measurement [should] be routine, standard, not even an option, that is to say, kind of boring.” I couldn’t agree more! When reports of results measures become pervasive and routine in ISPI’s publications and presentations, this column and our other efforts to increase sharing of results data will have achieved their objective.

2002 GOT RESULTS? Presentations Now Online
After our successful GOT RESULTS? exhibit at the 2002 ISPI conference in Dallas, Rick Battaglia, ISPI’s Executive Director, asked if we could make the presentations more widely available, to serve as examples and encouragement for practitioners to measure and share results data. With the support of April Davis, Senior Director of Publications, and other ISPI staff, all available 2002 GOT RESULTS? Presentations are available on the ISPI website. Please check them out, and follow up with the presenters if you like. By the way, if you contributed to the 2002 GOT RESULTS? exhibit, but do not see your presentation online, please send it to me in PDF format via email by December 1, and we will post it with the others.

Submitting Presentations to GOT RESULTS? 2003
We are now requesting presentations for the 2003 GOT RESULTS? exhibit at ISPI’s Annual International Performance Improvement Conference & Expo, April 11-15 in Boston. The submission form can be found on the 2002 GOT RESULTS? site and provides details for submitting a presentation for 2003. We ask that submissions be made by email no later than January 6, 2003.

The basic criterion is that each presentation summarize one or more performance interventions or systems and include objective, quantitative measures of behavior, accomplishments (job outputs), and/or business results that an accountant or engineer would deem valid for making decisions. The submission form provides further details for content, format, and size of the exhibit presentations. Like last year, the presentations will be displayed on tack boards in the exhibit hall for the entire conference. Viewing presentations from last year’s GOT RESULTS? gives you a good idea about the range of possible submissions.

Like last year, the purpose is to share results data from projects completed by practitioners to illustrate what is possible and to encourage others to collect objective results data for decision-making about performance interventions and ongoing performance systems. If you want to discuss details, or ask about possibilities, please contact Timm Esque or me.

One Last Thing
As “homework” for the next few columns, let me pose two questions for your consideration: How do you tell (without statistics) whether an apparent change in measured performance is due to a trend, an incremental jump-up or jump-down, or simply a bounce along a continuous, bumpy course of variability? And, what are the implications of each of these three possibilities?

Ramias, L. (2002). What’s all this fuss about measurement? Performance Improvement, 41(9), 13-15.

Dr. Carl Binder is a Senior Partner at Binder Riha Associates, a consulting firm that helps clients improve processes, performance, and behavior to deliver valuable results. His easy-to-remember e-mail address is and his company’s website is



by Todd Packer

Welcome back to I-Spy,
a feature of PerformanceXpress that highlights relevant, interesting, and useful websites for performance technologists. In my work, I often use creative research techniques to uncover resources on the World Wide Web that can help individuals and organizations make effective decisions and achieve strategic goals. For this column, I hope to locate off-the-beaten-path sites that can help you find similar thinkers, resources, work, new ideas, and sometimes just plain old fun.

Quick recap: Every month, three sites, one theme. While far from comprehensive, hopefully these sites will spark readers to look further and expand views about human performance technology (HPT). Please keep in mind that any listing is for informational purposes only and does not indicate an endorsement either by the International Society for Performance Improvement or me.

These are the general categories I use for the sites featured:

  • E-Klatch: Links to professional associations, research, and resources that can help refine and expand our views of HPT through connections with other professionals and current trends.
  • HPT@work: Links to job listings, career development, volunteer opportunities, and other resources for applying your individual skills.
  • I-Candy: Links to sites that are thought provoking, enjoyable, and refreshing to help manage the stresses and identify new ideas for HPT.

The theme for this month’s column is HPT Intelligence. What does using the Internet say about your intelligence? According to, intelligence can be defined as “1. a. The capacity to acquire and apply knowledge. b. The faculty of thought and reason. c. Superior powers of mind... 2. An intelligent, incorporeal being, especially an angel.” Intelligence—intellectual, emotional, organizational, and marketplace—is a critical capacity for all HPT professionals. We are not alone in this—let’s improve performance intelligently with some help from another society, another smart mind, and another solar system...

A visit to the website of The Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals introduces several resources for improving performance from external research. Fellow process thinkers, the site describes Competitive Intelligence (CI) as, “Effective CI is a continuous process involving the legal and ethical collection of information, analysis that doesn’t avoid unwelcome conclusions, and controlled dissemination of actionable intelligence to decision makers.” Check out the accessible job listings (Job Marketplace), details on the positive impact of CI on performance (What is CI? F.A.Q.), and upcoming events (Education and Events). Some access is limited to members of SCIP, but the general site provides valuable general information about another set of research professionals.

Thoughtful reader Guy Wallace alerts us to Donald Clark’s unusually named yet highly comprehensive ISD, training, and performance improvement site Big Dog’s Bowl of Biscuits. A knowledgeable distribution specialist at Starbucks Coffee Company in Washington state, Mr. Clark has compiled a dizzying array of detailed resources, links, and articles on Training, Leadership, Performance, and the ultimate performance improvement intelligence tool, Coffee. HPT professionals may find particular value at Big Dog’s ISD Page (click on Training then ISD Manual) with diverse articles, toolkits, checklists, and descriptions on instructional design, effective training, and other aspects of a System Approach to Training (SAT).

Sometimes the quest for superior intelligence must take us into realms where angels and performance technologists fear to tread. Luckily, you can take a visit for inspiration, from the comfort of your ergonomically designed keyboard, at the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA’s) “Astronomy picture of the day” site. Every day features a new image, a brief description with links for more information, and access to a vast array of other resources to explore. Visit the “Archive” for links to recent images—my 2002 favorites include October 18, August 21, and July 6. Until next month, enjoy your incorporeal, intelligent explorations in cyberspace!
—Todd Packer, Elliptical galaxy X-ray dude (June 17, my birthday)

When he is not Internet trawling for ISPI, Todd Packer can be found improving business, non-profit, and individual performance through research, training, and innovation coaching as an independent practitioner based in Cleveland, Ohio. He may be reached at


by Patrick Murphy, Stractics Group Inc.

This article is a continuation of summary information developed as a result of the focus group sessions conducted during the 2002 ISPI Annual International Performance Improvement Conference & Expo in Dallas. As part of ISPI’s Marketplace View 2002 Taskforce, the sessions were structured to obtain direct and candid input from a variety of constituent groups attending the conference. The ongoing efforts of the taskforce are being used to better understand the needs of our membership and our marketplace, and to use that information to ensure that ISPI continues to provide outstanding products and services. Of the five focus group sessions conducted, this article represents the last of the session-specific summaries. As with all of the other sessions conducted, the participants were highly participative and offered valuable information to assist with the taskforce initiatives.

Focus Group Participants
This focus group was classified as HPT-Consultant-Manager & Individual Contributor-Partner & Client. Participants in this session included:

  • Jolanda Botke, CINOP, The Netherlands
  • Alison Burkett, Lexington Associates Inc.
  • Sabine I. Kirstein, Sr. Associate, Christensen Roberts Solutions
  • Rhea Borysiak Fix, Instructional Designer, ALLTEL
  • Bonnie J. Shellnut, PhD, Senior Training Manager, Carlson Marketing Group

Key Points from the Session
As with each of the focus group sessions conducted, participants generally praised the Society for taking a leadership position in the field of improving human performance. Of course, as with any group of outspoken individuals, the participants also offered suggestions where they felt the Society had opportunities for improvement if it was to be considered the “ideal or best imaginable” professional affiliation. Particular areas discussed during this session included:

Local Chapters: Participants shared a variety of impressions in relation to local chapters of the Society. Some participants had strong ties to their local chapter and relied heavily on this relationship for networking with other members, discussion topics, and guest speakers. It was noted that participation at the local level provides the opportunity for members to be involved in the Society in a much more tangible way than solely at the annual conferences. Other opinions pointed to a lack of awareness of where local chapters existed. It was generally agreed that additional focus, support, and guidance from the Society in the formation and ongoing activities of local chapters would be beneficial.

Website/Online Content: The members of this session expressed the desire for additional capability to perform research through the ISPI website than currently available. While a wealth of information is provided through issues of Performance Improvement, it does not necessarily address the need to conduct topic-specific research quickly that the session participants desire.

Sense of “Community”: Being a member of a professional Society where they had the ability to interact with other professionals with similar interests, and expand their knowledge was expressed as an important requirement. The variety of ideas discussed as helping to foster this “sense of community” included:

  • Continuing education sessions—including those topic-specific as well as those leading to certification
  • Gatherings, such as the annual conferences—but including local chapter offerings as well
  • Ability to identify and contact other members with specific expertise or backgrounds in selected areas

Linkages with Higher Education: Alliances with institutions of higher education was discussed as a way to increase the awareness of the Society within the institutions themselves and to those individuals attending coursework leading to careers in associated fields.

I had the pleasure of facilitating two of the five focus group sessions during the Dallas conference. Based on the input of the participants of all five of the sessions, the Society now has firsthand input from a broad range of constituents. Their input has greatly assisted the Society to better understand a broad range of issues important to our marketplace. Look for future articles in PerformanceXpress regarding the ongoing work of the Marketplace View Taskforce.


  The ongoing efforts of the taskforce are being used to better understand the needs of our membership and our marketplace, and to use that information to ensure that ISPI continues to provide outstanding products and services.

by Roger Chevalier, CPT, ISPI Director of Information & Certification

There is a wonderful quote from Sir Isaac Newton that reminds us of the debt we have to those who came before us, “If I can see much further, it’s because I am standing on the shoulders of giants.”

We need to acknowledge the “giants” that came before us in the new models that we create, the articles and books that we write, and products that we produce. Referencing the original work adds credibility to what we create while acknowledging the original work from which we have developed our ideas.

There has been a growing trend of adapting ideas and models from others and claiming, and even copyrighting, them as original work. I guess this has come about as a result of the need for product differentiation and securing a place in the marketplace. But the same copyright laws used to protect these new products are very often the ones that were trampled in the process.

There has also been a trend toward referencing secondary works, trusting an interpretation rather than going back to the original to see what was actually said. For example, nearly all psychology and management books list the five levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, usually citing a secondary work rather than going back to the original. If you take the time to go back to the original, you will find that Maslow identified seven levels in his hierarchy of needs, including two that have been lost in nearly all secondary references: the need for spirituality and the need for the aesthetic.

So, maybe it’s time to research the original works, acknowledge where we have borrowed from, and tell the world whose shoulders we are standing on. By doing so, we are also upholding the Integrity Principle in the ISPI Code of Ethics.


by LtCol. Joseph J. Thomas and Maj. Christian A. Nelson

“The mission of a military instructional system is to determine instructional needs and priorities, to develop effective and efficient solutions, and to measure the results ensuring they meet the specified needs.”
This statement, published in the August 1975 Interservice Procedures for Instructional Systems Development: Executive Summary and Model (NAVEDTRA 106A), was one of the assumptions upon which the Center for Educational Technology at Florida State University built its Instructional Systems Development (ISD) model. Originally commissioned by the Army, responsibility for this project transferred to the Interservice Committee for Instructional Systems Development and its scope was broadened to include requirements from the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps. The ISD model was subsequently adopted by the Marine Corps as the Systems Approach to Training (SAT) model for developing and implementing all Marine Corps training and education. Whether referred to as ISD or SAT, this 5-phased or stepped model is a recognized standard governing the instructional process in the private sector and within the Department of Defense.

Goal of Marine Corps Training and Education
Annually, on average, the Corps assimilates more than 40,000 new enlisted Marines and officers into its ranks. This represents a turnover of 25% of the total end-strength of this 174,000-person organization. The result is a Corps of Marines whose average age is just over 19 years, making it the youngest of the four armed services. The training challenges associated with this are obvious. As the “customer”—the American taxpayer—expects the Corps to retain its edge as the world’s premier force in readiness, training and educating this young force is a top priority. The goal of Marine Corps training and education is to develop effective and efficient instruction that maximizes on-the-job performance and contributes directly to mission accomplishment. The Marine Corps adopted the SAT process to assist schools and operational units to assist users in identifying behaviors performed on the job; in selecting those critical behaviors for which instruction is necessary; in developing and conducting objective-based training; in evaluating job performance; and finally in revising training programs that fail to prepare Marines to meet job performance requirements.

Training Modernization Initiative
In 1997, the Marine Corps embarked on a training modernization initiative to address the demands of cyclical surges in student throughput and to meet increased readiness and performance requirements. In the Marine Corps, like most large organizations, training and performance are inextricably linked, but causal connections are difficult to identify and quantify. This modernization initiative focused on the infusion of instructional technology, achieving balance between distance learning and traditional resident instruction, and accelerating the development of human performance solutions. By 1999, the Corps recognized the need to retool the SAT process focusing on achieving training/performance solutions more rapidly and decisively. In 2000, the Training Development System (TDS) was developed and put in place to rapidly develop holistic training solutions that are performance-oriented, standards-based, and technology-enhanced.

Training Development System
The TDS enables organizational leaders to set initial desired performance parameters and objectives for each occupational field within the Corps. By establishing initial parameters, all agencies responsible for training and human performance development remain focused on a common goal. The TDS is framed in the same five phases or steps of the SAT or ISD process. The difference is that two key enablers have been purposely built into the system: flexibility and the integration of instructional technology. Decision makers at every level in the system are encouraged to bypass or limit time intensive analytical procedures if training requirements are obvious. Leaders are encouraged to accelerate, where feasible, design and development procedures, getting initial versions of curricula in place that can later be refined.

Most importantly, the TDS has incorporated two integration boards designed to streamline, focus, and clearly articulate desired performance outcomes and blended learning solutions. The Training Review Group (TRG) meets early in the analysis phase to publish the training/performance development plan for the occupational field under review. This initiating directive is developed by senior leadership and focuses the training establishment on performance and training requirements for the job field. The Integrated Curriculum Design Board (ICDB) produces a holistic curriculum plan leveraging the benefits of resident instruction, e-learning, and performance support tools.

Training and Readiness Program
Beginning in the late 1970s, work was initiated to produce the first Marine Corps Individual Training Standard (ITS) to define the basic skills required for Marines in each occupational specialty. Over a decade later, the first ITS volume was published, enabling individual Marines to train to measurable performance standards that were linked to their units’ missions. As the ITS system matured, collective training standards were developed that specified mission and functional area proficiency standards for all units. Since 1997, the Corps has moved toward a single system for defining and measuring both individual and unit performance. The Marine Corps Training and Readiness (T&R) Program was officially adopted in 2002 to provide the commander with a building-block system that standardizes both individual and collective training for each occupational field. T&R manuals tailor the training effort to the unit mission and serve as training guides that provide commanders an immediate assessment tool for determining individual and collective combat readiness. At both the individual and collective levels, the goal is to achieve and maintain a threshold level of combat readiness.

The Corps’ training modernization initiative is focused on accelerating the ISD/SAT process, leveraging the power of instructional technologies, while retaining a focus on performance-based training. The history of warfare, institutional experience, and the wisdom of those who have gone before, all confirm the direct correlation between training and success on the battlefield. Effective combat units train as they intend to fight and fight as they were trained. Marines base their future success on the battlefield on this philosophy. Key to success is the implementation of the Training Development System and the Training and Readiness Manual Program. These modernization initiatives will guide the training and education of present and future Marines well into the 21st century ensuring that the Corps meets the Nation’s call to be the total force in readiness!

LtCol. Joseph J. Thomas, PhD, has served in a variety of training and education positions to include C3 Instructor, Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron, Asst. Professor of Naval Science at the University of Notre Dame, and Professor in the graduate school of American Military University. His current assignment is the Head of Training Management and Evaluation within the Corps’ Training and Education Command.

Maj. Christian A. Nelson, MEd, has served in several training and education billets over the past 20 years. In his current assignment, as the Curriculum and Instruction Supervisor, he has spent the past three years developing service-level training and performance policy and programs. He has also recently led U.S. military contact teams to former Warsaw Pact countries to assist their armed forces in the adoption and implementation of western military training and performance systems. Christian may be reached at


  The goal of Marine Corps training and education is to develop effective and efficient instruction that maximizes on-the-job performance and contributes directly to mission accomplishment.

Have you ever been disappointed by an Internet page that seemed to contain the information you wanted, but was too long to read or download, making it simply not worth your time? If you answered yes, you must take a moment to visit ISPI’s 99 Seconds Online.

Several years ago, Sivasailam “Thiagi” Thiagarajan, CPT, came up with a wonderful idea: the 99-second conference presentation. For the last couple of years, Thiagi and Roger Addison, CPT, ISPI’s Director of HPT have co-chaired this special event at ISPI’s Annual International Performance Improvement Conference & Expo. More than 30 presenters are invited to share their experience in 99 seconds and each presentation includes a job aid that is shared with the audience. Like its conference session counterpart, the online version of 99 seconds is short, to the point, and provides a take-away. There is something for everyone.

99 Seconds Online continues to grow as new job aids are submitted and uploaded. Check back often, and see what idea is being showcased!

Highlights this month include:

  • Telling Ain’t Training, Harold Stolovitch, CPT and Erica Keeps, CPT
  • Performance Review Analysis Worksheet, Kathleen S. Whiteside
  • Performance Modeling, Guy W. Wallace, CPT

If you would like additional information about 99 Seconds Online, please contact Roger at



The International Society for Performance Improvement
(ISPI) is seeking an ISPI member who has the flexibility to take on the commitment and responsibilities of Editor for Performance Improvement (PI).

We’re looking for a member who can demonstrate an extensive knowledge of Human Performance Technology (HPT), has a professional HPT network, and possesses an editorial review ability. The Editor will be responsible for acquiring, reviewing, and selecting manuscripts and will contribute suggestions and ideas toward the editorial direction. The Editor will work with authors and potential authors to maintain the highest standard of editorial content and will work directly with the ISPI Senior Director of Publications, who is responsible for all production and distribution. The Editor reports to the Executive Director, who serves as Publisher of Performance Improvement. The position requires a two-year commitment, commencing in April 2003. The Editor will receive $10,000 a year as compensation for the invested time and effort.

PI is published 10 times a year and is distributed to more than 6,000 members, subscribers, and institutions. For an application and instructions, or for questions regarding the position or the application process, please contact April Davis, ISPI Senior Director of Publications, by phone: 301.587.8570 x112; by fax: 301.587.8573; or by e-mail,


The International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) would like to congratulate the list of professionals below who have taken advantage of the exemptions available during the grandparenting period and received the designation of Certified Performance Technologist (CPT) last month. Click here for a full list of CPTs. Visit, and apply today to receive your designation.

  • Sharon May, New Hampshire, USA
  • Kevin Wilcoxon, California, USA
  • Robert Bodine, Georgia, USA
  • Jeffrey Kaminski, Georgia, USA
  • Mark Johnson, California, USA
  • Carol Bimburg, Michigan, USA
  • Doris Smith, Illinois, USA
  • Mark Munley, California, USA
  • Monica Luketich, Texas, USA
  • Barbara Stebbins, Michigan, USA
  • Victoria Jarosz, Michigan, USA


The International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) has 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 the Distinguished Service Award. If you are interested in nominating an ISPI member, please email the following information to
  • 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 Thomas F. Gilbert Distinguished Professional Achievement Award: Dr. Richard E. Clark; the Distinguished Service Award: Timm J. Esque; and the Honorary Life Member Award: Wellesley R. “Rob” Foshay, PhD. The deadline to receive nominations is November 15, 2002. For more detailed information on the guidelines used for selecting individuals to receive these awards, please visit or click here.



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. Find additional resources for your training and performance improvement initiatives at the ISPI Online Buyers Guide and find the latest training and performance jobs at the ISPI Online Job Bank. If you would like to post information for our readers, contact ISPI Director of Marketing, Dan Rudt at or 301.587.8570.

Books and Reports
Performance-Based Evaluation: Tools and Techniques to Measure the Impact of Training by Judith Hale, PhD, CPT. Based on over 25 years of experience working with organizations to come up with better ways to evaluate programs, this book provides a step-by-step process for evaluating training.

Telling Ain’t Training by Harold D. Stolovitch, CPT and Erica J. Keeps, CPT. Book tackles three universal questions: how do learners learn, why do learners learn, and how do you make sure that learning sticks?

Conferences, Seminars, and Workshops
ISPI Institutes, San Francisco Bay- Silicon Valley Area, January 2003 Making the Transition to Performance Improvement and Principles and Practices of Performance Improvement. Three-day, intensive workshops designed to improve your organization’s workplace performance.


Magazines, Newsletters, and Journals
Chief Learning Officer Magazine  
We have just delivered our debut issue! Let CLO deliver the experts to you through Chief Learning Officer magazine,, and the Chief Learning Officer Executive Briefings electronic newsletter. Subscriptions are free to qualified professionals residing in the United States.

Performance Improvement Quarterly
Now in its 15th year! Don’t miss another issue of this scholarly journal that provides cutting-edge research and information necessary for you to keep on top of the business of improving human performance. Subscribe today!

Websites of Interest is a leading on-line resource providing HR professionals with daily news, articles, expert insights, discussion groups, and more. ICG (Intellectual Capital Group), a division of, provides cutting-edge research reports called RedBooks™ identifying and analyzing HR trends and technologies.



ISPI is looking for Human Performance Technology (HPT) articles
(approximately 500 words and not previously published) for PerformanceXpress that bridge the gap from research to practice (please, no product or service promotion is permitted). Below are a few examples of the article formats that can be used:

  • Short “I wish I had thought of that” Articles
  • Practical Application Articles
  • The Application of HPT
  • Success Stories

In addition to the article, please include a short bio (2-3 lines) and a contact email address. All submissions should be sent to Each article will be reviewed by one of ISPI’s on-staff HPT experts, and the author will be contacted if it is accepted for publication. If you have any further questions, please contact



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PerformanceXpress (formerly News & Notes and Quick Read) 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 April Davis, ISPI’s Senior Director of Publications, at

1400 Spring Street, Suite 260
Silver Spring, MD 20910 USA
Phone: 1.301.587.8570
Fax: 1.301.587.8573