by Gloria Gery

Spinners use a wheel and source materials to create threads. Spinners are unconcerned about how those threads fit into their use context. The spinner’s goal is to create the best thread or yarn that meets specifications. Some spinners work without specifications and just produce what they can or want. Some outputs are crude; others elegant and fine.

Weavers create objects for use in life contexts. Weavers have a specific goal and deliverable—often based upon a pattern, template, or detailed specifications. They weave or integrate specific threads and other objects in precise ways to achieve their deliverable. Weavers create objects that clothe, decorate, and protect. No one would consider giving a whole bunch of threads or skeins of yarn to someone who needed a tapestry for a church or building or an afghan or throw. And when buyers spend a lot of money, they want what they want, regardless of how difficult it is for the weaver.

When weavers create sophisticated items such as scenic tapestries, the pattern is very detailed. Often just a tiny bit of color or texture changes what is seen. Results are carefully scrutinized and flaws can render the results less valuable, or possibly even useless.

What do weavers and spinners have to do with performance development? Why this particular metaphor? Those involved in performance development can be either spinners or weavers. I compare those who develop particular artifacts such as manuals, help systems, courses, or job aids to spinners: we create a thread to be used by performers, but it is only when the various threads are integrated in a given work context that performance is achieved. And the weaving in most cases is left to each performer; and performers vary enormously in their capacity to create precisely the right outcome in a given situation. Performers must specifically understand the situation—including the relevant data—and weave process, content, tools, collaboration (or the involvement of others) conditionally based on the requirements of the performance situation. Increasingly, it is too much to ask of them. Why?

  • Too many variables, rules, and relationships
  • Too little time
  • Too little experience or expertise
  • Too much pressure
  • Too few experienced resources to help in the weaving
  • High anxiety due to the increasingly significant consequences of error

What has happened is that the worse the performance situation…the more threads we spin and throw at people. If you watch people try to perform, you see them grasping at threads…often without rhyme or reason—hoping to get the right resource, tool, or person. People are strangling among the threads. Examples from recent Requests for Proposals:

  • address the problem of “over 770 websites” that had been developed by various individuals and groups to provide content
  • develop a portal to filter all resources by role including software applications, content, courses, etc.
  • implement a learning management system to help people figure out which available courses apply to them
  • create an interface that uses work process to unify all the relevant software applications; filter the application by user profile and make filtered, relevant knowledge available on demand from any point in the process

Clearly, business managers are feeling the growing pains and are seeking ways to achieve integration for rather than by the performer.

What are the implications for us in performance development? It’s increasingly clear that we must step out of our artifact or organizational mindset (e.g. “I develop instruction” and “they develop software or manuals”) and step into the performer’s context. We must expand from spinning threads to weaving resources. Technology, of course, enables it, but it is only a necessary, not sufficient condition to achieve it. We are embarking on an age of integration—and we must understand the work process is the primary basis to achieve it. We must work actively to filter resources and focus performers on exactly what they need. ISPI has advocated this perspective for at least 20 years, but we have failed to step up to the plate. Now we must—or the responsibility will be picked up elsewhere. And, we must do it soon.

Gloria Gery is an independent consultant, international speaker, and writer. She works with clients in business learning and performance support and advocates resource integration. Gloria is the author of Electronic Performance Support Systems (1991) and Making CBT Happen (1987) and has had many articles published in various ISPI publications. She is a member of the HRD Hall of Fame sponsored by Training magazine and received the 2000 ASTD Distinguished Contribution Award. Gloria may be reached at or



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  It’s increasingly clear that we must step out of our artifact or organizational mindset (e.g. “I develop instruction” and “they develop software or manuals”) and step into the performer’s context.

by Carol Haig, CPT and Roger Addison, CPT

This month, we visited with Donald T. Tosti, CPT,
managing partner of Vanguard Consulting, Inc. He may be reached at Don shares three interdependent predictions that will spotlight the foundational elements of Human Performance Technology (HPT) and their value to organizational leaders.

Top Three Predictions
In the next two to three years, Don expects organizations to increase the emphasis on performance at the organizational level. At the same time, organizations will be looking for ways to create greater value for all their stakeholders, not just shareholders. Finally, we can expect the integration of analytical methods and HPT solutions into a comprehensive theoretical framework that organizations will then be able to fit together and use to grow their businesses and deliver value.

Impact of These Predictions
Most managers today understand their business but struggle to learn how their organization works. Rather than needing to fix things, they need to know how to make their organizations work better. Even CEOs are frustrated because they cannot get their organizations to function as they would like. What is missing is an understanding of the system that is at the core of every organization.

We have all seen the profusion of “best practices” in the industries where we work and in our own HPT literature. Most of us have probably helped to implement a best practice or two, and there is nothing inherently wrong with importing a best practice. However, without an understanding of how the installation of the best practice affects the entire organizational system, the chances of making a difference with it are greatly diminished.

When senior managers are able to recognize the systemic nature of their organizations and the impact of every intervention on the whole structure, we will see Don’s predictions in action.

How Organizations Will Be Different
Today, most organizations look at issues in a fragmented way, fixing one piece at a time and seeing little improvement. Key questions in the future will be:

  • How can we target the greatest source of variance in our organization?
  • How does our chosen intervention affect the entire system?

When inconsistencies in organizational performance become visible, managers will be able to look at the organization as a system, see where the elements fit together, and change the system to resolve the inconsistencies.

We will see greater alignment in our organizations around goals. When a CEO requests leadership training, rather than putting a generic program in place, the CEO will know to start with the organization’s goals (the ends) and ask for the leadership skills and knowledge (the means) to meet them.

Like a foreign body rejected by the human immune system, any intervention that is not carefully introduced into the organizational system is seen as an outcast and is rejected. Sound familiar? Suppose we decide to improve the performance of an automobile by putting a super-charger on it so it will go faster. If we neglect to determine the impact of that increased power on all the components of the car’s system, we run the risk of blowing up the engine.

In the future, our organizations will be more thoughtful about integrating interventions. They will only change the bank teller’s title to Customer Service Representative, for example, after assuring that all parts of the system, from the tellers themselves to their co-workers, managers, customers, vendors, and so on, see the value of the change and embrace it.

Implications for HPT Work
As practitioners, we will work differently in the future. HPTers will focus on creating value in our organizations rather than solving problems. We will move from being in the repair business, where we fix things, to being in the construction business, where we focus on the organization’s performance. We will be general contractors, looking at the whole, rather than repair people looking at one issue.

HPTers will be partnering with other disciplines to combine our specialties with theirs. We will unite our abilities by exchanging skills and knowledge and sharing techniques to help organizations succeed. We will continue to build on the multi-disciplined foundation that is HPT.

If you have any predictions about the future of HPT that you feel would be of interest to the PerformanceXpress readership, please contact Carol Haig, CPT, at or Roger Addison, CPT, at

  Like a foreign body rejected by the human immune system, any intervention that is not carefully introduced into the organizational system is seen as an outcast and is rejected. Sound familiar?

by Robert F. Mager

Periodically adopting the role of student has been a useful activity, heightening my sensitivity to obvious and subtle do’s and don’ts of instructional design. By far the best course I have taken was a correspondence course on locksmithing. I found the ubiquitous ad urging me to “Be a Locksmith” in an issue of Popular Mechanics and sent away for the information.

Expecting the course to begin with dreary expositions on the history of locks, or key appreciation, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that lesson number one was on how to pick a lock. A combination lock was provided along with a pick, and within 10 minutes I was deeply engrossed in practicing a fascinating skill. At the end of the first lesson, I was able to exclaim, “Hey, lemme show you how I can pick this lock!”

A constant stream of lessons arrived, each of them task-oriented and beautifully orchestrated. I received a series of lock cores, with instructions to change the combination to the numbers given and return them to the instructor. I received a bag of locks with instructions to pick them open, tape them in place, and return them to the instructor. At one point I even received part of a car door and was told that the door-locking mechanism had a broken spring. I was instructed to make a new one, install it, and return it to the instructor.

During the lessons, time was taken out to learn what I needed to know (the “theory”) just before beginning to practice. And, after each lesson I could do something important to the final goal I couldn’t do before. The mechanics of the course were so motivating I once found myself writing a letter to the instructor: “Your advertising promised that your mailings are scheduled so I’ll never be out of lessons, but I’ve been out of lessons now for three whole days. Hurry up and send more!”

The entire course was built around the tasks to be mastered. Immediate practice of new skills led to growing confidence and eagerness to learn more. Feedback was built into the tasks being practiced (e.g., it was obvious whether you did or did not pick a lock open). Finally, theory was seeded in chunks just large enough to prepare for the practice to follow. In sum, the course was masterfully constructed to implement just about every principle of effective instruction.

Did I learn anything useful? The big test came one day when a colleague discovered he had locked himself out of his car. Having left my picks at home, I borrowed a toolkit, selected a couple of pointy things, and popped the lock open within thirty seconds. The satisfaction of that moment still lingers.

It was obvious through this experience that the success of a course is not shrouded in the theatrical skill of an instructor, or the media through which it is presented. The magic is in the degree to which the principles of effective instruction are implemented—instruction leading to the ability to perform useful skills, that provides relevant practice and feedback, as well as lessons sequenced to motivate the student rather than to satisfy tradition or instructor preference. With those ingredients in the instructional soup, success is all but guaranteed.

Dr. Robert F. Mager is a world-renowned expert on training and performance improvement. He is credited with revolutionizing the industry by creating the movement toward a performance-based approach to improving human performance. One of his most significant contributions is his development (with Peter Pipe) of the Criterion-Referenced Instruction (CRI) methodology. He has written 10 books on issues relating to training and performance improvement that have sold more than 3.5 million copies worldwide.

NOTE: Excerpted from Robert F. Mager’s newest book, Life in the Pinball Machine (CEP Press, 2003).


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  The magic is in the degree to which the principles of effective instruction are implemented.

by Clare Carey, CPT and Mike Schwinn, CPT

First, we offer our thanks
to Dale Brethower and Judith Hale for their commitment to the Certified Performance Technologists (CPT) certification process. It was Dale’s vision and Judith’s skillful knowledge of certification that led ISPI into this important strategic direction. Of course, they did not do this without the hard work and support of the Kitchen Cabinet volunteers and at least three different Boards of Directors.

The CPT certification process has been an exciting journey for us as individuals and as a Society, and it will continue to be an evolving process of improvement for years to come. The bar has been placed high for our profession to ensure skilled, competent, and ethical people represent our principles and standards.

The CPT designation is already gaining momentum. Since its inauguration in 2002, ISPI has certified nearly 200 CPTs, representing 10 countries around the world, via the grandparenting process.

The joint promotion of the CPT with ASTD will only foster the growth of ISPI’s certification into one of the premier professional credentials. The CPT is an investment in one’s professional future and one that should not be taken lightly. As ISPI’s reputation as the leader in performance improvement grows, so will the CPT designation grow in prestige and value to our customers.

As you will learn from the authors, there is more to the certification process than just earning the CPT credential. Completing the CPT application will be a unique and demanding experience for each professional. The authors experienced two different but complementary certification experiences. Mike is an independent performance consultant, and Clare is an education and training manager for a Department of Defense organization. These current directors earned their CPT designations within the last seven months and both discovered multifaceted rewards in achieving their CPT credential.

A Journey from the Outside
Mike’s career has changed drastically over the past two years. He left a 28-year legacy with one company to begin a new career as an external performance consultant. His former employer provided numerous opportunities for Mike to achieve and demonstrate his skills in human performance technology. Those experiences provided the required evidence for his CPT certification. Now independent, Mike has discovered that his CPT credential serves as a vital reference and an invaluable marketing tool.

Mike uses the CPT principles and standards as a centerpiece of discussion with his prospective clients. It affords him instant credibility and increases his professional value in his business relationships. Starting out on your own is always a challenging prospect. The CPT designation has proven to be a distinguishing feature of Mike’s brand as a professional human performance consultant.

As Mike discusses the principles of adding value, partnering, looking at the entire operation (systematically), and focusing on getting results, his clients become fully engaged in the negotiating process. A recent client just wanted a “quick and simple” pay-for-performance plan. Through the initial discussion, Mike was able to transition the client to look at the entire operation for supporting systems to ensure the success of a pay-for-performance plan. Since achieving the CPT credential, Mike has experienced an increase in the positive responses of his prospective clients. Given the plethora of available consultants, clients want and deserve credible credentials.

Mike applies the CPT principles and standards to help his clients move from a focus on activities (“this” and “that”) to an understanding of outcomes. Mike found it much easier to offer and sell the value of performing an assessment of the problem and organization before doing any preconceived solutions. His clients now understand in business terms, how important a systematic process is to the success of their projects.

A Journey from the Inside
The timing of the CPT could not have been more fortuitous for Clare. She was transitioning to another field assignment with a different government organization and in the process of developing critical relationships with her managers and colleagues. The CPT process facilitated Clare’s transition and acceptance into her new work environment.

For Clare, the CPT application process was in itself a valuable and comprehensive self-assessment. As she documented her numerous accomplishments from previous assignments, Clare was able to translate the components of HPT into real and relevant examples for her internal customers. In addition, Clare used the CPT application to help define a strategy for her continual professional development.

Once drafted, the CPT application became a mechanism to introduce her talents and experience to her new management. Knowing many in her work environment were unfamiliar with HPT, the results and attestations of her interventions became concrete illustrations of her expertise and professional value.

Historically shy with her own self-promotion, reviewing the CPT application with her new boss enabled Clare to more easily showcase her competence and creativity. She methodically described each criterion and provided evidence of the breadth and depth of her results. Clare’s strategy worked. Her boss was impressed with not only what Clare had done, but with what she could do for her new organization. In addition, he developed a greater appreciation for the professional benefits of ISPI and the significance of the CPT credential. As a result, top management expanded her designated work role and responsibilities and offered their continual support for Clare’s affiliation with ISPI.

Invest in Your Future
As with Mike and Clare, the certification process enables ISPI and the CPT members to display their credentials where they are best displayed, in front of customers. Whether you are an internal consultant or in business for yourself, the CPT provides a powerful brand identity. The authors encourage you to invest in your professional future. You, too, will discover myriad personal and professional benefits in the journey to securing your CPT credential. For more information on the certification program, or a current list of CPTs visit:



by Carl Binder

This column generally focuses on counting
instances of behavior, job outputs, or business results. In this column I want to consider how data obtained with surveys or questionnaires can fit into this basic measurement framework.

It’s often more convenient to send out a survey or questionnaire than to put in the hard work required to obtain actual counts of customer service behavior, successful proposals, project steps completed on time, effective management decisions, or the like. Reports of how people feel about a particular intervention or whether they think a new process is improving results can carry lots of political weight in organizations. People don’t like to hear that such data might not have any correlation with whether or not the intervention actually DID change behavior, accomplishments, or business results. But surveying impressions of results is simply not a replacement for measuring results, and this leads to considerable confusion and heated discussion in our field. So let’s talk about some of the issues, and how some survey data can actually measure job outputs or business results.

A first important issue is that we need to avoid what I call “voodoo mathematics” when summarizing the results of surveys and questionnaires. I want to focus on this point because it is such a common measurement error, and because there are good alternatives.

To understand what I mean by voodoo math, consider the typical five-point rating (Likert) scale. What do the five values on that scale actually mean? Are they quantities that we can add, subtract, multiply, or divide? That is certainly what we assume when we add up the quantitative values for each item and divide them by the number of respondents. “You got a 4.1 on presentation skills but only a 3.2 on use of visuals,” is a typical statement one might hear wandering around a training organization. But the fact is that on a five-point scale, each of the points is NOT a number. Rather, it is a label or category. For that reason, it’s better to describe the five points as “never, seldom, occasionally, often, all the time,” or the like, than to assign them numbers. When we label them with words rather than numbers it becomes obvious that they are not numbers, but categories. You can’t add up 5 nevers, 3 seldoms, 6 oftens, and 1 all the time to get a number! There’s no such thing as “seldom and two-tenths.” Do you see why I call this voodoo math? A five-point rating is what mathematicians call a category scale. It does not meet the requirements for performing calculations that we all too frequently see in summaries of surveys and questionnaires.

An alternative approach uses questionnaires to count the number of “people who say X” as a result of an intervention or under a given set of conditions—a possible job output or business result that we might want to increase or decrease. In customer satisfaction programs, for example, we might want to increase the number of people who say they would very definitely recommend our service to a friend or colleague, and to decrease the number who say that they would not or probably not recommend the service. With this approach, we can count people and perform mathematical calculations on our counts, rather than doing math on the rating categories as though they were numbers.

We can say, for example, that out of 1,000 people asked, 642 said X, while only 124 said Y. We can describe and display these counts in a variety of ways, using bar charts for one-time measures or line graphs to display changes in counts over time. We can identify the mode (the category with the highest count) and list the counts for each of the other categories. These are all good ways to summarize survey or questionnaire data.

I’ll return in the next few editions to discussing graphing results and making decisions with data. But because surveys and questionnaires are so common in our field, I wanted to show you how to bring such data into the realm of countable performance outcomes. Be sure to email me with your comments, examples, or suggestions.

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 email address is, and his company’s website is


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 (HPT) and to the Society itself. Those awards are the Thomas F. Gilbert Distinguished Professional Achievement Award, the Distinguished Service Award, and the Honorary Life Member Award. ISPI is pleased to announce this year’s recipients: Donald T. Tosti, Barbara Gough, and Danny Langdon. The awards will be bestowed at the 2003 International Performance Improvement Conference & Expo in Boston, Massachusetts, April 11-15.


Thomas F. Gilbert Distinguished Professional Achievement Award
This award recognizes outstanding and significant contributions to the knowledge base of HPT. This year’s award goes to Donald T. Tosti.

Dr. Donald Tosti entered the field of performance improvement in 1961, when he joined Teaching Machine with Jim Evans and Lloyd Homme. It was during this time that he laid the foundation of his extensive work in organizational behavior and conducted his pioneering research in contingency management and feedback. In 1963 he joined Westinghouse Learning Corporation and worked with the staff of the U.S. Naval Academy, where he served as the principal investigator for the multimedia leadership course conducted at the Academy. In this role, Don adapted the methods of performance analysis to the study of leadership behavior and, in subsequent work, focused on modifying behavioral norms. Don was also the Director of the Capitol Job Corps Center in Washington, DC.

In his consulting practice, Don has focused on organizational alignment issues, culture change, branding, and the creation of customer value. His practice has led to groundbreaking work with many companies in the Global 500, including British Airways, BT/Cellnet, Sun Microsystems, General Motors, Saudi Aramco, American Express, General Motors, SITA, Bank of America, and the U.S. Army.

Don is a frequent presenter at conferences and seminars and has published numerous articles, chapters, and books on human performance improvement and its application in today’s business world. He has held adjunct professorships at the University of New Mexico, Coppin State College, the Catholic University of America, San Francisco State University, and the California School for Professional Psychology. Don has mentored and coached many International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) members and associates. In 1961 Don attended the first ISPI conference in San Antonio, Texas. He is an ISPI Member for Life and will serve as President-elect on the 2003-2004 Board of Directors.


Distinguished Service Award
This award recognizes outstanding and significant contributions to the betterment of ISPI on a long-term basis. This year’s award goes to Barbara Gough.

Barbara Gough has been an ISPI “unsung hero” for more than 10 years. Working diligently at both chapter and international levels, Barbara has been instrumental in strengthening the Society and mentoring its members.

Serving for five years as Vice President of Programs for the Michigan chapter, Barbara helped the chapter to develop a reputation as the HPT forum for new ideas and applications.

At the international level, Barbara has shared her instructional and business expertise. She participated on conference strategic planning committees and twice served as a Track Chair for the proposal-intense Practice of Performance Improvement: Instructional category. These demanding assignments only deepened Barbara’s commitment to serve ISPI. When others would have rested, she proceeded to chair the 2002 ISPI Annual International Performance Improvement Conference and Exposition.

Barbara has far exceeded her goal to give back to the Society. She has been a frequent conference presenter and has hosted Cracker Barrel sessions. Her professional contributions have been recognized formally with ISPI’s Outstanding HPT and Instructional Product awards.

Currently, Barbara manages the leadership initiatives for Oakwood Healthcare System in Michigan, where she uses all aspects of performance improvement to enhance the management skills of the leadership staff. Additionally, she is an adjunct professor at Oakland University, Rochester Hills, MI. Barbara has a BS in HRD from Oakland University and an MA in Instructional Technology from Wayne State University.

Barbara claims she owes much of her professional knowledge and skills to the members of ISPI. It is only appropriate that the Society recognize Barbara, who, in giving so generously of her time and expertise, epitomizes the meaning of distinguished service.


Honorary Life Member
This award recognizes outstanding and significant contributions to the field of HPT and the Society. It is not bestowed easily: It requires the unanimous vote of two consecutive ISPI Board of Directors, making it the Society’s most prestigious award. This year the Society honors Danny Langdon.

A 35-year member of ISPI, Danny Langdon is an international expert in organizational alignment using performance technology. He is the author of seven books, has chapters in a dozen others, innovated and edited the 40-volume Instructional Design Library, and has published many articles and case studies. His major accomplishments include serving as ISPI president (1989-1990) and secretary (1974-1975), making a presentation on productivity and competitiveness at the White House, innovating a management training system, developing several new instructional/training designs, creating an innovative approach to total quality management (TQM), and developing one of the leading HPT models in use today—the Language of Work.

One of the first to join the Peace Corps, Danny served as a volunteer for two years (1962-1964) in Ethiopia. In 1965 he served as the Instructional Materials Supervisor at one of the newly created Job Corps Centers.

Much of Danny’s mentoring was during his two-year tenure with Dr. William A. Deterline, President of General Programmed Teaching—a consulting firm developing the then-new instructional technology approach.

In 1969 Danny was recruited to a new Adult Learning Research Laboratory at The American College. During his 10 years there, he served as the Director of Instructional Design, Director of Instructional Design & Development, and finally Director of Instructional Design Research.

In 1979 Danny began his 11-year relationship with the international firm of Morrison Knudsen, as the Director of Corporate Training. He led the development of project managers’ and other corporate-wide training needs. He also developed his first multi-intervention HPT approach to a business marketing need—one that increased performance in new work acquired by 300%.

In 1990 Danny was recruited to a position with International Technology, the nation’s largest environmental engineering company, where he used an HPT model to establish an innovative (“Quality Is Me!”) approach to TQM.

In 1993 Danny formed Performance International with his partner in life and business, Kathleen Whiteside. Their consulting firm grew from a desire to promote Danny’s new analytical approach to solve business needs, implement work, and achieve organizational alignment (of business units with core processes, individual jobs, and work groups). His system establishes a common Language of Work between workers and management. Clients such as HP, Microsoft, Allstate, Nissan, Chevron, government agencies, and many others have benefited from his contribution to HPT, as have literally thousands of fellow professionals throughout the world whom he has trained, given presentations to, and mentored.

For his contributions to performance and instructional technology, Danny has received two international awards from ISPI: Outstanding Performance Aid and Outstanding New Systematic Approach.


by Todd Packer

Ah, Springtime—time for hope and new opportunities. Here at the “I-Spy” cybergarden, we continue to feature relevant, interesting, and useful websites for performance technologists. Each month, we take readers to off-the-beaten-path sites that help them 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:

  1. 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
  2. HPT@work: Links to job listings, career development, volunteer opportunities, and other resources for applying your individual skills
  3. I-Candy: Links to sites that are thought provoking, enjoyable, and refreshing to help manage the stresses and identify new ideas for HPT

A Spring job aid:

  1. Stop.
  2. Locate flower in closest proximity to your sensory organs.
  3. Smell.
  4. Repeat until stress evaporates.

The theme for this month’s column is Innovation. Innovation according to is “The act of introducing something new.” A challenge, whether it’s an organizational leadership initiative or a performance improvement theory (or a monthly e-newsletter column). Performance technologists can serve as uniquely effective drivers for innovation, within and beyond our profession. Spring can be a time of renewal, so this month we explore some new possibilities for innovative HPT. Bring your slinky.

If you have some innovative ideas about, well, innovation, take some time to add a single letter to your favorite Internet address (, and visit the website of the International Society for Professional Innovation Management. ISPIM originated in the 1970s with an initiative taken by Prof. Knut Holt (University of Trondheim in Norway)—“a programme of comparative cross cultural studies on Needs Assessment and Information Behaviour: the NAIB Program.” ISPI members with innovative ideas take note of the March 24, 2003 deadline for papers for their 2003 International Conference on Innovation through Collaboration: Clusters, Networks, Alliances, June 8-11, 2003 in Manchester, United Kingdom.

We continue our visit in the UK with a stop at this innovative list of resources on Managing Business Performance from The Chartered Management Institute “a nationally accredited organisation, responsible for setting standards in management and recognising excellence through the award of professional qualifications.” The list contains a diverse array of organizations and information on topics of interest to PTs—such as benchmarking and ethics—including five links on the topic of innovation. Visit their main website for staff vacancies, training courses, career development, and other information sources.

So, next step. Some innovative ideas on getting the word out about ISPI and our 2003 International Performance Improvement Conference & Expo in Boston, Massachusetts, April 11-15. Ads on a bird diaper? Scratch ‘n’ sniff needs assessments? You too can get inspired from the great innovations listed by the Utah Education Network. With a wide variety of fun and educational links, you can learn about Marjorie Stewart Joyner, who became the first African-American woman to receive a patent (for her 1926 invention of a permanent wave machine that would allow a hairdo to set for days) or Minoan sewage disposal and the origins of plumbing. And, yes, no discussion of innovation and ISPI can be complete without slinkies—centripetal force, antinodes, and that darn catchy song.

So, put some spring in your Spring, and we look forward to seeing you again next month. Hopefully, in person at the ISPI Annual Conference!

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 Principal Consultant of Todd Packer and Associates based in Cleveland, Ohio. He may be reached at


  Got some feedback for Todd? Tell it to his face! He’ll be co-leading a pre-conference workshop, Lead Tomorrow Now: Using Interactivity and Emotional Intelligence to Lead Performance Improvement in Multicultural Contexts, on Saturday, April 12 and two conference sessions in Boston!

The votes have been tallied,
and the following candidates have been elected to serve as members of ISPI’s 2003-2004 Board of Directors.

Donald T. Tosti

Barbara Gough

Pierre Mourier

James A. Pershing

The following members of the 2002-2003 Board retain their seats: Guy W. Wallace (who becomes President in April), Clare Elizabeth Carey, Jeanne Farrington, and Richard Battaglia (ex officio). A special thanks goes out to the departing Board members: Jim Hill, Brian Desautels, Carol Panza, and Mike Schwinn for their hard work and dedication to ISPI.



by Michelle Halprin, 2003 Conference Chair

What is a path through a conference?

Answer: A path is a series of conference experiences on a single topic. Many paths begin with a pre-conference workshop and include a number of concurrent sessions, including some of the following categories:

  • Master Series: Sessions presented by presenters selected by ISPI’s President, Jim Hill.
  • Encore Presentations: Sessions that earned top marks from conference participants in 2002 and were invited back for 2003.
  • HPT Foundations: Sessions that focus on core HPT theories and practices. Experienced ISPI presenters present these sessions.
  • HPT Applications: Sessions that share the results of a performance improvement initiative and its application in other settings.
  • HPT Research: Sessions that present recent research and findings related to HPT theories and practices, including academic and corporate-sponsored research.
  • Innovative Forums: Sessions presented in a non-traditional, highly interactive manner.

Question: Why is there an emphasis on paths through the conference this year?

Answer: The 2003 Conference Program Steering Committee decided to focus its attention on making the 2003 International Performance Improvement Conference & Expo a planned educational opportunity for conference participants.

Those who decide to follow one of the established paths, or wish to build their own path, can use the conference as a dynamic and energizing way to increase knowledge, find resources to help address an organization’s performance needs, and learn about what works, why, and with what possible results on related topic areas.

Question: If I don’t see a path that is of interest to me, how can I go about tailoring my own?

Answer: The 2003 Conference Program Committee will host a booth at the Opening Reception, scheduled for Saturday, April 12 from 6:30-8:30 pm. If you want advice on creating your own path through the conference or coordinating paths with others from your organization, please stop by and talk to the committee members. Chances are, they can help you locate a series of concurrent sessions that will provide you with the educational experience you desire.

Question: Is it possible that sessions not included on a specific Path Through the Conference will be overlooked by attendees?

Answer: The 2003 Conference Program Committee has selected a finite number of paths through the curriculum as a convenience for first-time conference participants and those new to ISPI conferences. The committee members felt that experienced ISPI members will find their own paths or select several topics to focus on for 2003.

For a list of sample paths, click here to download a PDF of Paths Through the 2003 Conference.


The ISPI Research Committee, chaired by Mary Norris Thomas, is pleased to announce the addition of a special Research Exchange session at ISPI’s Annual International Performance Improvement Conference and Exposition in Boston on Tuesday, April 15, from 10:00-11:30 am. The goal of the session is to explore the breadth of research activities in which ISPI members are engaged, from new syntheses of yesterday’s efforts, to today’s cutting-edge investigations, to tomorrow’s issues. Scheduled presenters include Richard Clark, Dale Brethower, Don Winiecki, Barb Bichelmeyer, Steve Villachica, Ryan Watkins, and Belia Nel. In addition, there will be time for unscheduled presentations from audience participants who wish to share information about their own research or other people’s research that they have found useful in guiding their practice. If you wish to share something, please prepare a one-page handout and bring copies to the session to distribute.



The International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) Awards of Excellence program is designed to showcase the people, products, innovations, and organizations that represent excellence in the field of instructional and Human Performance Technology.

Outstanding Human Performance Intervention

This award recognizes outstanding human performance interventions.

Cingular Wireless’s Joining the Team: New Employee Orientation Process
Cingular Wireless Learning Services, Employee Development; Betty L. Cotton, Manager, Employee Development and Meghan H. Mull, Curriculum Designer

Joining the Team: New Employee Orientation Process is a blended, step-by-step, multifaceted, process that new employees begin immediately after acceptance of a job offer and complete during the first 30 days on the job. The orientation is comprised of multiple events and training courses that help new employees feel welcome and become productive team members sooner. New employees learn about Cingular Wireless—its history, culture, business, benefits, policies, work environment, what they can expect, and what’s expected of them. The process allows learning, processing, and retention of information to take place over time and through multiple experiences—an effective way for adults to learn.

Guardian World Class Service Appraisal System
Robyn Wagner Skarbek, Guardian Life Insurance

The Guardian World Class Service Appraisal System was designed for Guardian Life Insurance’s inbound call centers. The goals of the performance intervention included standardizing the measurements of the call monitoring appraisal system, aligning the program with Guardian’s mission of “enriching the lives of the people we touch…” and moving toward the goal of becoming a world-class service provider. Intervention results include the creation and implementation of one standard monitoring form with corresponding criteria, implementation of calibration sessions to increase consistency of measurement, creation of a database for documentation and trend analysis, and the enhancement of job competencies.

Implementing Change from the Middle Program
Kirk D. Fleming, Capital One

Capital One’s Implementing Change from the Middle program helps leaders effectively organize and manage workplace change. The program uses tools that support the learning process through focused pre-work, manager involvement, individualized coaching, peer networking, online support, and a lessons-learned database. Additionally, a comprehensive assessment and evaluation strategy facilitates data collection that builds competence in managing change and effectively measures progress. As a result, participants are reporting increased capability and confidence in identifying, organizing, and executing change efforts. The company also has realized a net increase in associate performance and a decrease in attrition, conservatively estimated at approximately $610,000.


Assessment Center-Pathway to Success
State Employees Credit Union and BEI Consulting; Bernadette Howard Johnson, State Employees Credit Union and Victoria A Jarosz, CPT, BEI Consulting

The State Employees Credit Union Pathway to Success Assessment Center utilizes a holistic approach to performance improvement and career development for frontline staff. Besides the certification process itself, the intervention includes a defined career path for the tellers; job descriptions for each position tied to outcomes and core and job-specific competencies; a compensation plan; skill and competency descriptors of expected behavior; learning maps; development plans; and coaching. Short-term results indicate increased competencies and confidence on the front line and positive trends for operational metrics such as “services per household,” “balances per household,” and a reduction in “balancing errors.”


Outstanding Instructional Communication
This award recognizes an outstanding communication that enables individuals or organizations to achieve excellence in human performance technology.

How to Make Smart Decisions About Training: Save Money, Time, and Frustration
by Paul G. Whitmore, PhD
CEP Press

Training is one of the most powerful tools upper management has to achieve critical corporate strategies. But the key to leveraging training is to ensure that only the right kind of training is used at the right times. How to Make Smart Decisions About Training gives step-by-step guidance on how to assess the value of proposed programs, choose programs that will deliver intended results, and obtain needed buyin and support from key stakeholders. The book offers invaluable advice on what you need to know before deciding on a training program.

Turning Research Into Results: A Guide to Selecting the Right Performance Solutions
by Richard E. Clark and Fred Estes
CEP Press

There are a number of performance improvement products and services for sale today, each claiming to effectively meet all your performance needs. Only a few, however, actually do everything they promise. Luckily, a great deal of research has been done to evaluate the effectiveness of various types of performance improvement programs. Turning Research Into Results: A Guide to Selecting the Right Performance Solutions gives research-proven advice on how to identify the various causes of performance gaps and how to ensure that the solutions you select will effectively resolve them.

The Bottomline on ROI: Basics, Benefits, & Barriers to Measuring Training & Performance Improvement
by Patricia Pulliam Phillips; Jack J. Phillips, Series Editor
CEP Press

Increasingly, training and performance improvement functions are being challenged to demonstrate their bottom-line value to organizations. To do so, many are turning to the return on investment (ROI) methodology to accurately reflect their bottom-line results. Measuring ROI on human performance initiatives, however, is an extensive, complex project. Before committing outright to an ROI evaluation, one needs to understand what is involved and what to expect. The Bottomline on ROI offers accessible, practical guidance on the basics of the ROI methodology.

Performance Improvement Interventions: Enhancing People, Processes, and Organizations Through Performance Technology
Darlene M. Van Tiem, PhD, CPT, Assistant Professor, Univ. of Michigan-Dearborn; James J. Moseley, EdD, CPT, Associate Professor, Wayne State University; and Joan Conway Dessinger, EdD, CPT, Principal, The Lake Group

Performance Improvement Interventions helps performance technology practitioners advance their understanding of “performance interventions” and apply appropriate interventions to improve workplaces. The goal is to help readers recognize and anticipate the performance impact of almost any workplace activity and enable them to do the following:

  • Recognize the value of using the HPT model to select or design systematic and reproducible solutions.
  • Define individual interventions within each category.
  • Describe strengths and limitations of each intervention.
  • Guide performance technology practitioners through the implementation process.
  • Provide a reference tool designed to help select appropriate interventions.

Telling Ain’t Training
by Harold D. Stolovitch and Erica J. Keeps

Telling Ain’t Training provides an entertaining and practical tour de force for every trainer and performance improvement professional. It tackles the three universal and persistent questions of the profession: How do learners learn? Why do learners learn? How do you make sure that learning sticks? It deliberately avoids the one-way communication of “telling” trainers how to be more effective. Instead, it models the basic message of the book: Humans learn best through active mental engagement. Despite its fun and breezy tone, every concept in the book is solidly backed up by research. It separates learning myths from research-based facts and dispels counterproductive beliefs and practices that harm the instructional process.


Outstanding Instructional Product or Intervention
This award recognizes outstanding results derived from instructional products and interventions developed through systematic approaches to human performance problems, needs, or opportunities.

Instructor Development Course
Joan Friton Slick, TVI Professional Development Center, Training and Development Coordinator

I created a new Instructor Development Course (IDC) for Albuquerque TVI Community College. The presenting problem was twofold: (1) Typically faculty members are subject matter experts, with no training in teaching, and (2) institutional growth created multiple scheduling and campus needs. The new course has six classroom and six online seminars. Faculty can access the online seminars at any time and place with Internet access. Enrollment increased 53%, retention increased to 80%, and participant satisfaction increased to 38%. The new format adds value because faculty members are improving their technology skills as they improve their teaching skills.

TQFM: Toyota Quality Financial Management
University of Toyota, School of Retail Professional Development, Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc.

Financing is usually the last point of contact customers have with an automotive dealership and thus has a tremendous impact on the entire buying experience. Because of this potential for influencing future purchases, the University of Toyota created Toyota Quality Financial Management (TQFM), a systematic approach to the sale of financing, leasing, and insurance products. Training is completed through a 10-step continuum and includes one week of immersion training at the University of Toyota. TQFM guides the learner through a department-wide cultural change to a customer-centered process. It is a true performance improvement solution driven by business metrics, with monthly online Dealer Performance Reports showing results in terms of both customer satisfaction and profits. Approximately 14% of the target population has been through the program.

Imperial Oil Back Office System Training
Louise Leone and Robert Sakala, Imperial Oil Limited; Val Quirk, Sonia DiMaulo, and Gina Walker, Harold D. Stolovitch & Associates, Ltd.

The Imperial Oil Back Office System (BOS) training program introduces a new method for retail managers to manage the inventory of independently operated convenience stores. The full intervention includes tiered training, performance support tools, and a communications program to address system implementation requirements and change management issues. Retail managers and their management receive hands-on, customized training and tools. As a result of the training, 94% of retail managers are comfortable using the new system and 100% able to perform key day-end tasks. Business results at BOS sites demonstrated an increase in sales growth over the previous year.


Outstanding New Systematic Application
This award recognizes a process, method, or technique new to the field of human performance technology.



Evergreen Multimedia Development Tool and Process
Christopher Dant, Jack Morton Worldwide and Christina Tralmer, Walgreens Co.

Evergreen is a set of software tools used to produce multimedia courses. It revises and enhances the traditional computer-based training instructional systems development model. Through the use of XML, all instructional content is kept external to the course runtime engine, reducing or eliminating the need for programmers and giving greater control to the people who provide the most value to the end product, the instructional designers. Evergreen was developed by Christopher Dant and Jack Morton Worldwide with Walgreens’ backing and design assistance. It has since been enhanced to fulfill the additional needs of two other clients. Today, continuing development for Walgreens is incorporating significant upgrades and useful features.


Outstanding Research/Student Research
This award recognizes outstanding graduate student research in human performance technology or related fields.

Effective HRD Evaluation: An Expanded View of Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels
Kathy L. Dye, PhD

For almost 10 years, HPT professionals have explored theories of evaluation based on Kirkpatrick’s Four Level framework. Dye’s research, grounded in Thomas Kuhn’s method of improving a theory, shows the inadequacy of Kirkpatrick’s beloved approach and proposes a more comprehensive, precise, and efficient approach to evaluating our efforts.

Specifically, this research does the following:

  • Distinguishes theories of evaluation from theories of effectiveness
  • Defines four layers of focus for future theory development
  • Expands the categories of appropriate evaluation subjects to include inputs, processes, and outcomes
  • Describes a research agenda that reflects the complexity of HPT as a substantive business process.


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

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

ISPI Golden Circle Chapter

Six years ago, the Golden Circle Chapter was founded in Des Moines, Iowa. To lend credibility to our chapter we decided to make yet another submission for the Chapter of Excellence Award. Since we’d been awarded Chapter of Excellence the past two years, we knew how to handle it. After reviewing the criteria again, we found them to be a good framework in which to take our chapter to the next level. In essence, it helped us to strengthen our chapter and become a better organization for our members. We now have strong guidelines and procedures in place. The criteria established by International helps us grow and make the changes necessary to continue to be a successful chapter.

ISPI New Mexico Chapter
Joan Slick and Stephanie Fuentes

The New Mexico Chapter strategic plan established Internal and External Connections goals for 2002. Internally we expanded recognition of members and networking opportunities. We increased member recognition efforts at meetings and in newsletters. We worked to increase member involvement and retention by promoting and advertising volunteer opportunities. An electronic newsletter was added to increase communication and provide a timely news vehicle. Externally we worked to broaden member representation and visibility by increasing marketing efforts. We strengthened community relationships and built our student member base. The increased visibility and strong educational programs helped the chapter to exceed its goals.

Outstanding Educational Program
This award is given to chapters that spread the performance improvement message to others in academic and non-academic settings.

ISPI New Mexico Chapter
William Dudeck, Stephanie Fuentes, Jean Strosinski, and Lisa Tokarski, Committee Co-chairs and Joan Slick, 2002 New Mexico ISPI Chapter President

The New Mexico ISPI Chapter’s Winter Workshop 2002 “Building Organizational Trust to Adopt Innovation” was a special educational event for chapter members and the New Mexico professional community. A presentation of the universal topics of trust and innovation provided an emphasis to performance improvement in the workplace. The event took place on March 7-8, 2002. Dr. Everett Rogers, a professor with the University of New Mexico, presented Diffusion of Innovation, and Dr. Dennis and Dr. Michelle Reina, of Chagnon, Reina & Associates, presented Trust and Betrayal in the Workplace. Participants received a customized and experiential learning experience, a free copy of each presenter’s book on the topic, handouts, and an opportunity to network with other professionals.



A new, free service is available to keep up with the field of human resources. has live and archived interviews on a variety of subjects. ISPI Director of HPT Information, Roger Chevalier, was recently interviewed about ISPI and the field of performance technology. You can access Roger’s interview and many others by going to

In addition, ISPI annual and fall conference sponsor, Chief Learning Officer has published an article by Chevalier, Moving From Learning to Performance, in their online magazine. Click here to access the article.



ISPI is delighted to announce the selection Dr. James (Jim) A. Pershing as the editor of the Handbook of Performance Improvement Strategies to be co-published by ISPI and Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer. This new book will serve as a companion for the very successful Handbook of Human Performance Technology edited in two editions by Harold Stolovitch and Erica Keeps.

Jim brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role. He is a faculty member in the Department of Instructional Systems Technology at Indiana University where he teaches, conducts research, and provides consultation in performance technology, specializing in analysis and evaluation. He has worked with domestic and international corporations in the areas of strategic planning, project management, performance analysis, and program evaluation. 

He has been the editor of ISPI’s Performance Improvement journal for the past four years, working with many performance improvement professionals in publishing their latest ideas. A regular presenter at ISPI conferences, Jim has served on several ISPI committees locally and internationally. Most recently, he worked with the ISPI Conference Evaluation Committee and the Certified Performance Technologist Kitchen Cabinet. Presently, he is a member of the 2004 ISPI Conference Steering Committee. 

Dr. Pershing was selected for this role as editor of the new Handbook this past December; ISPI delayed the announcement so as to not influence the outcome of the recent election in which Jim was elected to the 2003-2004 ISPI Board of Directors.



The February 2003 issue of Performance Improvement journal, Clarifying HPT, guest edited by Guy W. Wallace and Roger Kaufman is available on the ISPI website. This special issue of the journal is intended to encourage all ISPI members and friends to take stock of our evolved technology—HPT—and assist the Society in clarifying its various “technology domains.” 

After reading the articles, you are invited to participate in the Society-wide exchange of ideas regarding Human Performance Technology. Click here for more information or to view the issue.



Performance Marketplace is a convenient way to exchange information of interest to the performance improvement community. Take a few moments each month to scan the listings for important new events, publications, services, and employment opportunities. To post information for our readers, contact ISPI Assistant Director of Marketing, Mickey Cuzzucoli at or 301.587.8570.

Assessment Tools
A leader knows the way, shows the way and paves the way. Organizations need influential leaders. How can you find out how effective you are as a leader? Click the link to find out how to get a FREE assessment tool.

Books and Reports
High Impact Learning by Robert O. Brinkerhoff and Anne M. Apking provides the conceptual framework for the HILS® approach and is complete with integrated tools and methods that training practitioners can use to help their organizations achieve increased business results from learning investments.

Magazines, Newsletters, and Journals
Chief Learning Officer Magazine 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.

Training Services
The Power to Get Results. Martin Training Associates provides workshops, services, and products that focus on developing hard and soft skills in project management. Our methodology is universally applicable to any project and project team type. Visit for details.

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

Resource Directories
ISPI Online Buyers Guide offers resources for your performance improvement, training, instructional design and organizational development initiatives.


Conferences, Seminars, and Workshops
Coming in March from DSA: Designing Instruction for Web-Based Training: Washington DC, March 10-12
The Instructional Developer Workshop: March 18-20, Washington DC, March 31-April 2. Check out DSA’s Certified Instructional Designer program at Or call Jane at 831-649-8384 for more details!

Interactive Strategies for Improving Performance. 1-day workshop on designing and facilitating structured activities for performance improvement. Why? Engaging and empowering. Who? Designed and delivered by Thiagi. Where? San Diego, CA. When? April 1, 2003; 8:30AM- 4:30PM. How much? $299.

41st Annual International Performance Improvement Conference and Exposition: Lessons in Leadership, Boston, MA, April 10-15, 2003. The most important annual event for workplace performance improvement professionals.

Liberty Mutual: Improving Performance Through eLearning. Join Richard Benner, Director of eLearning and Instructional Design Services, Liberty Mutual and Ian Fanton, VP, Sales, Harvard Business School Publishing, in this customer case study session at the ISPI Annual Conference, April 13, 11:00 am, Room “Republic B”. Visit HBSP eLearning at ISPI Booth #430 or

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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