you ask 100 instructional designers for a
definition of instructional design (ID), you won’t get one; you’ll
see ID as procedural, rigorous, characterized by one box each for analysis,
design, development, implementation, and evaluation, with arrows linking
the boxes and dependable steps directing what to do and in what order.
Others see it differently. They emphasize what goes on within the boxes,
leaning toward a more heuristic approach, with rules of thumb considered
as the process moves forward.
what makes ID ID:
drives practice: There are reasons
for the decisions that are made, and those decisions are based on literature
and best practices regarding learning, communications, technology,
and culture. Years ago, when working on a sales training program, we
included thinkalouds from expert sales professionals, an approach inspired
by cognitive perspectives for learning and performance.
direct decisions: Instructional
designers make decisions based on data from many sources, including
clients, job incumbents, literature, work products, and error rates.
When a client says, “Train them about performance appraisals,” instructional
designers look to narrow the problem by turning to data, such as existing
appraisals, help desk logs, and lawsuits.
count: Once the mission is targeted,
instructional designers want to know why? Why are appraisal forms flawed?
Why is line 7 filled out inconsistently? Why are lines 2, 3, 5, and
6 on point? Is it that they don’t know how or that they don’t think
it’s worth doing or that doing it is a hassle? Why does the group in
Belgium do it, when the group in Boston doesn’t?
is good, but not sufficient: Wise
instructional designers ask questions about cause in order to use instructional resources
when possible do the most good. Back to the appraisal challenge. Are
the flaws in line 7 caused by not knowing how to write it up? Have
they forgotten? Do supervisors doubt the value of line 7, or fear that
honest and detailed entries could lead to unhappy employees or even
lawsuits? When they’ve punted on line 7 in the past, has it made any
add value: Cross-disciplinary
teams consisting of content experts, programmers, artists,
clients, and instructional
designers add value. A recent project for a federal agency
involved dozens of content experts, two senior instructional
a graphic artist, and two graduate student interns. Deliverables
were established on the basis of analysis, outcomes articulated,
and approaches defined and subsequently honored.
idiosyncrasy typifies the larger educational establishment, planning,
and data are more common when products and services are inspired by ID.
At least that’s the idea. It’s also why the military, government, and
industry signed up for ID soon after World War II.
The dissatisfaction with
ID revolves around speed, results, and performance. ID, when practiced
by neophytes or those more committed to the steps than the results, can
indeed take a very long time. Do the worksheets, checklists, and reports
contribute to a better end product, to better outcomes for participants?
Kraig Robson, leader of
a web development company, IsoDynamic.com,
doesn’t think so: “We have only recently added people with formal ID
training, so I believe very strongly that some of the best stuff I’ve
seen has come from people lacking this background. I think my ‘non-ID’ developers
[programmers, graphic artists, project managers] really know the possibilities
and capabilities of the medium. They know what’s fun, interesting, and
interactive, and they know what works. I’ve also found that some of the
ID people I’ve spoken with and interviewed get boxed in by what is instructionally ‘sound.’ Sometimes
they seem to have trouble thinking out of the box.”
that Robson leads a new media company is not a coincidence. Criticism
about ID has paralleled
the emergence of e-learning. In the past, instructional designers’ deliverables
were tweaked by instructors, as they rolled out classes and programs
in front of live learners. Now, programs are posted online, where learners
make it or don’t, on their own. When they don’t, the people who created
them, some of whom are instructional designers, got it wrong.
Nail the Coffin on ID?
Rosenberg, a former president of ISPI and respected author and consultant,
likened the situation
to the definition of democracy that describes it as “the worst form of
government, except for all the others.” Motorola’s Marguerite Foxon agrees.
She sees the problem in the practice, not in the instructional design
process. With robust enthusiasm for instructional design possibilities,
she acknowledges the overly proceduralized ways some novices implement
it. Foxon was more interested in talking about the strengths of ISD. “You
sometimes meet people who are naturally good at building instruction.
When they receive some exposure to instructional design, their reactions
are very positive. They see it as right and interestingly, as familiar.
They have been doing some of it already.”
Read ISD Revisited. Jeanne Strayer and ISPI make a strong statement about
the vigor of instructional design in a book about instructional design.
Read the resources listed
below and the additional ones cited along with my full article in ISD
Revisited. These are books, articles, and websites with much
to say about ID. Every case and example in the ASTD E-Learning Handbook, for
example, is inspired in some small or large way by ID.
Recently, the phone rang.
An executive wanted help in taking a fresh look at the way his company
was meeting the learning needs of its global, technical employees. How
should they commence? What efforts would offer the most value as they
attempted to answer a vast, strategic question in an efficient way?
If it were not for ID, the
size and murkiness of that mandate would have floored me. It is ID that
structured my musings, educated my questions, guided my requests for
extant data, and gave hope that I could, in fact, be of assistance. Nothing
was certain, of course. But it was better than snatching a solution out
of thin air or history or habit.
Rossett, A. (1999). First things fast: A handbook
for performance analysis. San
A., & Sheldon,
K. (2001). Beyond
the podium: Delivering training and performance to a digital world. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Zemke, R., & Rossett, A. (2002). A hard look at ISD. TRAINING, 26-34
is ID that structured my musings, educated my questions, guided
my requests for extant data, and gave hope that I could, in fact,
be of assistance.
by Carol Haig, CPT and Roger Addison, CPT
We were privileged to talk with many knowledgeable ISPIers
in 2003 and able to share with readers through this column their views
of what the future (two or three years out) holds for human performance
technology (HPT) and the organizations where we use it.
Now, as we enter 2004, we ask what these predictions
mean to HPT practitioners, and how we might focus our work in response.
Look ahead as we compile our thoughts on human performance, interventions,
measurement and results, models and tools, performance consulting, and
Recent workforce statistics report that
U.S. organizations are, indeed, doing more with less as fewer workers
do more of the work.
With a worldwide emphasis on workforce excellence and the migration of
HPT principles and practices across functions within organizations, our
next task is to leverage these same principles and practices to larger
scale business and societal issues. Many practitioners are working in
these realms and share their experiences and insights in the September
2003 issue of Performance Improvement. Click here to access
We must be rigorous in designing every intervention
with our sights set on improved performance. The workplace is increasingly
open to interventions with more than one component, where change is cumulative,
yet interventions of any kind can be unsuccessful. One way to guard against
failure is to select and design interventions that integrate both processes
and practices. An intervention that includes a process view of the affected system, that is how work is accomplished,
combined with careful concern for the practices, or actual tasks workers perform, stands the best chance
Measurement and Results
For some time, the conversation
around gaining credibility for HPT and adding value for our client organizations
the need for practitioners to speak the language of the businesses we
serve and to avoid using our professional jargon with our clients. As
clients focus more intently on measuring the results of performance improvement
initiatives, we can extend the no-jargon guideline to include measuring
results with business metrics. As we have seen, most organizations already
gather data on the aspects of their operations that they want to measure.
It is our responsibility to make use of this information to help them
measure performance improvement.
Models and Tools
Many HPTers hold the misconception that
models and tools are synonymous. Not so, as we are learning. Models are
useful to us because
they help organize our thinking visually. For example, the Performance
Landscape is a
useful model developed to show what many of our favorite models have
in common. It neatly captures HPT’s basic principles:
- Focus on results
- Take a systems viewpoint
- Add value and focus on the business
- Establish partnerships and work collaboratively
The model-or-tool trap is sprung when we decide that
a model can solve a problem. For that, we need a tool along with the knowledge of
how to use it. When making a dress, for example, the model is the paper pattern the seamstress uses as a construction
guide. To adjust the pattern to accommodate a larger waist measurement,
the seamstress must use scissors, the tool, to alter the pattern, before cutting out the fabric.
And to cut successfully, the seamstress needs the knowledge of how best to cut the pattern. This is the magic
combination of principles and practices practitioners should be using.
A number of us now work in performance
consulting departments or hold the title of performance consultant within
Our responsibilities are expanding from developing and delivering training
to change or enhance worker performance, to providing performance-based
interventions that address changes in the workplace and the work processes.
As the critical importance of alignment among the work, worker, and workplace
becomes visible to organizational leaders, HPTers should respond with
interventions that encompass alignment. An aligned organization stands
to reap the benefits of improved strategic relationships across functions,
easier access to people and resources, increased credibility among workers,
and a higher degree of trust—from both the leadership and among peers.
Can you recall a major change
initiative that you helped create or implement in your own or a client’s
organization in the past? Is it still live? Probably not. Unless someone
had the foresight to look
at the entire system affected by the change and carefully assess each
potential impact, it is likely to be a dim memory. Most practitioners
have learned that a perfectly designed intervention that is exactly the
right solution has no chance of survival unless it is developed and launched
as a systems change. We have discovered that episodic change is not sustainable.
HPTers can add considerable value by ensuring that performance improvement
initiatives engage all impacted organizational systems.
A Look Ahead
TrendSpotters will continue
to provide you with insightful views from ISPIers in 2004. We invite
you to continue along with us in the New Year.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or
Roger Addison, CPT, at email@example.com.
Join Carol and Roger
on Thursday, April 22 at the Annual Conference in Tampa, as they
explore HPT trends in more depth during
their presentation, TrendSpotting: An HPT View.
I am, in one sense, relatively new to this HPT thing.
I only discovered ISPI and the HPT terminology for the first time about
2 years ago. In another sense, I have now found a language and some models
that enable me to describe what I have known all along—performance issues
are usually systemic in nature and their solutions must be systematic
in their development and implementation if we’re to see worthwhile results.
I suspect I represent a lot of other learning and development professionals.
As a beginner, here’s how we’re starting to use HPT in our firm.
Our CEO, Mike, recently called me
into his office to discuss “the leadership issue” in our large corporate law firm. “We’ve
got some problems that we need to deal with,” he said. He went on to
explain that there were certain behaviors that were not aligned to the
outcomes of our recently developed values project and this was causing
concern. “What sort of behaviors?” I asked. Examples included partners
who were not very available for their junior staff, who billed at over
150% of target while their staff were billing below 60%, and who were
rather ad hoc in their approach to conducting appraisals.
“I see,” I replied. “What sort of behaviors do you want
to see instead?” The CEO outlined his views on better coaching availability
for juniors, somehow getting partners to reduce personal billings and
increase team billings, and appraisals that resulted in better feedback
from staff. OK, so a gap begins to emerge.
As we investigated further, delving
into the “why do
these things happen as they do?” discussion, it became apparent that
the causes stemmed principally from structure and history. Structure
in that a partnership, whereby you have 40 partners who all own part
of the firm, presents inherent difficulties in achieving accountability.
Enterprise-wide compliance is pretty much impossible so that even if
there were difficult behaviors, there’s little anyone can do about minimizing
them, apart from the individual themselves. History, in that there is
a strong sense of “that’s the way we’ve always done it around here so
the juniors will just have to fall into line. I did!”
To fix the availability problem the whole role of partner
would most likely have to be re-structured to reduce client contact work
and personal billable targets per day. This would require a significant
mind-shift that Mike agreed is not likely to occur in the foreseeable
To fix the billing issue, we will
need to look at exactly what partners are remunerated for. At present
they are rewarded for high
personal billings and not team billings. Looking at developing a better
ratio of personal to team targets will help. We should also explore whether
we are prepared to discourage high personal billings and low team billings.
At present we don’t, so we can’t expect significant changes there.
And finally, appraisals. These are ad hoc because partners
see them as an annoying distraction away from the pressure (and reward)
of maintaining high personal billings. Training will never work until
the mind-set has shifted.
Our performance issues stem more
from “the system” than
the individuals. However, in a sense, Mike is right. Leadership is required
from the very top to begin to address the issues properly. HPT, even
in this rather basic form, has shown what’s going on and what we’ll need
to do about it.
Rob Bialostocki is the professional
development manager for a corporate law firm in New Zealand. His background
includes high-quality training and development, consulting to organizations
on HRD projects, and professional broadcasting. His current work combines
elements of all three. Rob may be reached at Bialostocki@maxnet.co.nz.
As announced in the December
2003 issue of PerformanceXpress, the
following individuals were selected by the Nominations Committee to run
for the 2004-2006 ISPI Board of Directors.
- Miki Lane
- Sivasailam “Thiagi” Thiagarajan
- Mariano Bernárdez
- Jerry Haynes
- Andrea Moore
- Ed Schneider
- Marilyn Spatz
- Klaus Wittkuhn
Click here to read the
Candidate Statements and learn more about their skills, qualifications,
and goals for the Society.
Don’t forget that ISPI is
holding the election electronically this year, and active members will
vote online. Since your link to the “voting booth” will be sent via email
from Campus Vote in mid-January, it is important that ISPI has your most
current email address on file. To review your record, visit www.ispi.org and click on My ISPI to
login. Or, you may call us at 301.587.8570.
On Thursday, April 22, 2004, attendees
at ISPI’s 42nd Annual
International Performance Improvement Conference & Exposition will
listen as Joseph P. Sener, PE, Vice President for Business Excellence,
Baxter Healthcare, leads a panel of experts in a discussion about Baldrige,
Six Sigma, and Human Performance Technology. This month he sat down
with ISPI President, Guy Wallace, CPT, to discuss his take on the various
What types of performance improvement
efforts have you been involved with lately at Baxter?
I’ve been working on a consolidation of the Baldrige “business
model” and Six Sigma to determine what is going on in an organization
and how well the strategy is aligned with the real business needs
and challenges, and then using the Six Sigma DAMIC tools to close those
gaps. And finally, running the projects and getting the tangible, financially
verifiable results that come out of it.
What kind of returns and investment values are we talking
Anywhere from 100:1 to 400:1 ROI. It actually gets ridiculous
when you do the ROI calculations for executives, the numbers just seem
unbelievable to them. We have forecasted that an investment of $25 million
over a three-year period will generate a return of over $1 billion for
And, you can look at other representative companies, such
as Caterpillar, where an investment of $300 million over 28 months, including
the salaries of their “black belts,” has a documented return of over
$2 billion. When implemented well, that’s typical. It takes a systematic
and systemic approach.
What is your background in improvement and related areas?
I grew up as a design engineer in the nuclear industry where
tolerance for error was very low. I got involved in the quality sciences
early. We had to ensure that we had mean-time-between-failure that was
acceptable, when looking at reliability.
I’ve actually been doing this my entire career. In the last
15 years, I’ve been involved in leading quality science applications
inside manufacturing. And, after spending five years in consulting, I
the improvement charge in a 51,000 person, $9 billion manufacturing firm.
Why should ISPIers pay attention to the National Malcolm
What’s evident after 15 years of the Baldrige Award is that
this business model does drive tangible, financially verifiable results.
Some studies have shown that the companies that have invested heavily
in this as an improvement model have generated very large returns. There
is a Baldrige Stock Index, maintained by the National Institute for Standards
and Technology that has shown positive results compared to non-Baldrige
companies. The Baldrige business model drives results. It has shown results.
What is your
definition of HPT?
I see human performance technology as the skill-set designed
to “close the people gaps” as I grow my business.
The business model expects me to listen to the needs of the
marketplace and translate that into action in my company through strategic
planning, and for every one of my strategic actions, there should be
a requisite human resources plan that gets me from the current state
to the future state.
The human performance technology
organization must have the skills to close those gaps, from a human resources
point of view. All the best business systems and strategies in the world
are inert, until you put people in them.
second part of this interview with Joseph Sener will appear in the
March issue of PerformanceXpress. For more information on
his presentation in Tampa, click here.
you know that ISPI’s Annual
Conference features a variety of session types? ISPI’s “games guy” has created an interactive game designed
to help you explore the different types of sessions offered during the
2004 Tampa conference.
game requires you to match session types with information about them.
It’s a timed game to keep you
on your toes. And, it’s an addictive game you can play again and again
(each time with new items and new arrangements) to increase your fluency
and improve your score. Click here to
start playing and test your knowledge.
It’s that time of year…again. Most folks
pause and reflect on the past 365 days with a full range of emotions.
Pride of successes. Appreciation of challenges. Realization of trials
and tribulations. Hope of promises. Regret of shortcomings. As a “soon-to-be
outgoing Director,” it is only fitting that I ruminate about my experiences
serving on the Board of Directors.
Keeping with the theme of the New Year, I thought it
appropriate to consider my Board tenure in terms of the five most common
resolutions. (Go ahead admit it...82% of the population makes at least
one resolution each January, and it’s probably one of these listed below.)
Well, maybe I didn’t personally succeed in this regard
but the Society did. Due to the arduous economic times, the Board was
diligent in its pursuit to “trim the fat.” We considered creative ways
to reduce costs and tighten budget lines. Committee and Task Force Chairs
complied in our frugal quest and streamlined their own budget requests.
Many Board and Committee members provided time and services without request
for reimbursement. Our strategies reflected the Board’s commitment to
maintain value while reducing costs.
Don’t be fooled, our long meeting
agendas did not include aerobic exercise (regrettably).
However, there was a concerted effort to use resources wisely and to
ensure a healthy, self-sustaining ISPI. Guy Wallace led our focus on
the “value proposition” of the Society and was relentless in our drafting
of the Strategic and Operational Plan. The extensive document is a legacy
to the fact that what gets documented gets done. Our Society is healthier
than many other professional organizations, in large thanks to the business
acumen of our Executive Director, Richard Battaglia.
This one is a “no-brainer”…because
of the ISPI staff. They keep us sane and on track. These dedicated
people work collaboratively
and collectively for the benefit of us all. Often, their efforts go unnoticed
because they are such professional, behind-the-scenes players. They work
tirelessly to ensure the rest of us succeed. In addition, we have hundreds
of volunteers working in committees and on special projects. The Board
may be the head of ISPI, but the volunteers are the heart of the organization.
Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.
The Board worked diligently to listen to each other’s perspectives
(and there are many) as well as to the Society’s membership and staff.
One of the more novel tools created for this endeavor was our collective
effort in generating the Board “placemat.” The laminated reference identifies
our norms and processes and serves as a helpful reminder and a gentle
antidote to potential toxic group dynamics.
The Board continues to recognize
the importance of attending to the needs and interests of our members
and profession. It isn’t easy.
We are challenged with balancing special interests with fiscal constraints
and with valuing diversity while ensuring the Society’s growth. Of all
our New Year’s resolutions, I am confident that listening will remain
for all future Boards.
Last, but not least is the resolution to apply what
we know—to stop pontificating and to take action. In other words, practice
what we preach and focus on results. ISPI members and time will decide,
if indeed, we, the 2003 Board, did succeed. At times I wondered if we
served the Society as well as we could, yet I am confident that we made
decisions based on current data and realistic projections. Some choices
were easy. Many were hard. However, members may be assured of the selfless
interests and the genuine dedication of the Board and staff.
My tenure has been more than rewarding.
If nothing else, I have observed ISPI’s integrity. Although our profession
of HPT evolved from multiple disciplines, it accommodates myriad perspectives.
we expose our core, we reach universal agreement: HPT can make a difference
and ISPI does!
Blessings of the
season…and may 2004 bring
success in everyone’s performance resolutions!
Regular, formal benchmarking of your
organization against top performers can significantly improve your
operational performance. One
way to objectively benchmark your organization is through PowerMARQ™,
the metrics offering from the American Productivity & Quality Center
(APQC). The PowerMARQ program can assist you in identifying important
benchmarks and metrics. Additionally,
a gap analysis will provide you with industry averages for those benchmarks
and metrics. ISPI members who submit surveys before the
January 31, 2004 deadline will gain access to the
PowerMARQ database, allowing ongoing benchmarks.
access APQC’s PowerMARQ database, visit www.apqc.org/powermarq, select option two on
the login page, and proceed through the simple registration process.
Please be sure to list your organization name in the requested field
and enter ISPI in the affiliation field. Once you have registered,
you will be able to complete any of the 15 PowerMARQ surveys and
access more than 200 individual benchmarks and commonly used measures
in: accounting, facilities management, human resources,
information technology, and knowledge management.
your organization in 2004. Start using PowerMARQ to
measure operational performance, establish performance targets, set
budgets, identify key performance drivers, and assess operational progress.
Best wishes for
a successful and happy new year! Through our “I-Spy” column, we
hope to offer leisure-time reading for our readership through relevant,
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.
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 Clusters. As
we at I-Spy prepare for another year of gathering Internet resources
for HPT professionals, we observe the snow falling outside the window
and reflect on the patterns of clustering that occur throughout our workplaces
and our world (technically, not daydreaming...really). We encounter groups—of
ideas, of people, of organizations—that affiliate together through some
common element or interest. Like ISPI. This month we bunch together some
electronic resources that demonstrate different types of clusters. Join
us. Orpiment optional.
cluster. Savvy “e-PT’s” Judy
Hale and Jim Schulz alerted us to the detailed clusters of job skill
standards developed by the Illinois
Office of Educational Services. Click on the Product Index button
to access the extensive list of more than 150 competencies (addressing
skills used in agriculture, retail, healthcare, information technology,
manufacturing, and other industries). From Accounting Services to Welding,
these competencies are in the public domain and are endorsed by businesses,
professionals, and labor unions. A great resource for developing curriculum,
assessment tools, and job descriptions. An intriguing challenge: If your
ideal job isn’t listed here, how would you design a cluster for it?
Sites cluster. If
you would like a new way to see how your Internet research results connect,
try Kartoo. This “metasearch engine with visual
display interfaces” gathers sites related to your query and displays
them “in a series of interactive maps through a proprietary algorithm.” In
other words, you get a picture similar to a topographical map that indicates
connections between search results. You have the option to search only
on UK pages or on the entire world wide web. Give it a try!
cluster. Having problems seeing a “crystal clear” solution to the bunch
of challenges you face improving performance? Cyber-spelunk on over
to the Minerological Society. Based
in the United Kingdom, this “Society, instituted in 1876, has the general
objective of advancing the knowledge of the science of mineralogy and
to other subjects including crystallography, geochemistry, petrology,
environmental science, and economic geology.” But don’t let the hard
science aspect give you the impression this isn’t a fun group. Click
on Education, and then on The Dragon’s Cave for an interactive hunt for
minerals! Finally, check out the archive of Minerals of the Month by
clicking on the Gallery.
You can view the Orpiment
crystal cluster here.
May success, happiness,
and performance technology cluster for you in the New Year. See you in
When he is not
Internet trawling for ISPI, Todd Packer can be found improving business,
non-profit, and individual performance through
and innovation coaching as Principal Consultant of Todd Packer and
Associates based in Cleveland, Ohio. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Behavior and Accomplishments
one’s own behavior or accomplishments can be a powerful tool for change.
Either as an ongoing source of feedback, or as an “intervention” when
we want to change something about our own performance, we can collect
ongoing counts of our own behavior—both inner (thoughts
and feelings) and outer (overt
actions)—and of the products or accomplishments of that behavior.
of the more famous examples of counting accomplishments is B.F. Skinner’s
career-long monitoring of published words completed per day. He used
cumulative graphs of words produced to manage his schedule and environment
to maximize good-quality written output. His legacy of more than 20 books and nearly 200 other
publications is an inspiring testament to the power of this self-management
website of the B.F. Skinner Foundation)
Lindsley, the founder of Precision Teaching, has long encouraged his
colleagues and students to count their own behavior and accomplishments,
including thoughts and feelings. For decades, his students at Kansas
University were required to collect and chart daily counts of their
own behavior. At the Ben Bronz Academy, in West Hartford,
CT, youngsters share self-monitoring charts with each other and their
behavior and accomplishments they’d like to accelerate and/or decelerate
and developing an extraordinary degree of self-awareness and self-management
skill. Many individual consultants count and graph dollars earned in
their consulting practices, often extracting these data from time and
billing software systems. Many other counts of personal and professional
behavior and accomplishments are possible.
can attest to the power of self-counting for changing one’s own management
practices, as well as in personal relationships. An old guideline for
managing both adults and children says that it’s good to keep the ratio
between instances of positive feedback and corrective or negative feedback
at 4:1 or better. In other words, if you can find 4 or more things “right” with
someone’s (or a group’s) performance for every one thing that’s “wrong” or
in need of correction, then there’s a very good chance that people
will feel good being around you, will seek out your feedback, and will
exhibit more of the “positive” behavior you want to encourage.
many managers, when I led a Boston-area consulting firm during the
90s, I sometimes found myself being more critical than laudatory of
our employees and contractors. (It’s a common experience of managers,
as well as of parents, that “finding the performer doing well” can
sometimes be difficult.) On several occasions when my “negativism” started
to became a chronic pattern, I began daily counting and graphing instances
thoughts/feelings about others
thoughts/feelings about others
comments/feedback to others, and
or corrective comments/feedback to others.
amazing how rapidly this simple intervention can produce change. First,
one becomes more aware of the triggers for both positive and negative
thoughts. This is instructive and can clarify what was previously a
fuzzy emotional response, enabling us to change our behavior in specific
situations. Daily counts of positive and negative/corrective feedback
provides a reality check on just exactly how well you’re managing
others, as well as a powerful encouragement to prompt and find more
of positive behavior or accomplishments in those whom one is managing.
Usually within a few days, or at most a couple of weeks, self-counting
can make a big difference in both personal and professional lives.
Self-Counting and Teach it to Others
is such a simple and powerful tool that anyone can try it. One question
that people sometimes raise is how best to define what we count. The
general answer is not to worry too much in the beginning about precision,
define your countable types of behavior and outputs broadly rather
than narrowly, and use the experience of counting itself to calibrate
and become more discriminating about what you count. Summarize and
graph your counts each day.
of its immense power, one can even recommend the practice of self-counting
as a core skill for managers, supervisors, teachers, and anyone else
interested in improving their own performance. Try including it in
management and supervisory training (as well as in parent and family
interventions). For each of us, creativity in identifying and setting
goals for behavior and accomplishments is the only limit on what we
can achieve using simple a self-monitoring and data-based decision-making
Calkin, A.B. (2000). A minute a day makes
good feelings grow. The Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies.
Haughton, E.C. (1974). Myriad
counter (or, beads that aren’t for worrying). Teaching Exceptional Children, 6, 203-209.
Lindsley, O.R. (1968) A reliable wrist counter for recording
behavior rates. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1, 77-78.
Self-counting is such a simple and powerful
tool that anyone can try it.
joined the International Society for Performance Improvement in December
as Director of Membership. In his new role, Francis is responsible
for membership development, including recruiting and retention of members;
enhancement of member services including ISPI’s Job Bank; collection
of membership data for analysis and strategic/tactical decision-making;
membership correspondence and marketing; and acting as the liaison
with Sustaining and Patron members.
the assistant director of membership at the American Council of
Engineering Companies (ACEC) and recipient of the
Council’s highest honor, The Meritorious Service Award, Francis brings with him 15 years of association experience and leadership.
Donna Vaught joined
ISPI in October. In her role as Director of Meetings, she is responsible
for timeline development, contract negotiations, logistics, and on-site
management of ISPI conferences. She also manages the Awards of Excellence
program and serves as the staff liaison for the Conference Program
and Award of Excellence committees.
Prior to accepting the position with ISPI, Donna served as
manager of conferences and exposition for the National Community Pharmacists
and director of conferences and events for the International Downtown
Association. She has also held various positions with the American Bankers
Association and the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. With more than
eight years of experience in meeting planning and management, she hopes
to continue to improve the content and production value of ISPI conferences
and the awards program.
It’s not too late to register with a colleague
or client to attend ISPI’s 42nd Annual
International Performance Improvement Conference & Exposition,
April 18-23 in Tampa, Florida. When you register for the full conference
at the member
or delegate rate, you may also register a colleague for only $350—provided
your colleague has not attended an ISPI Annual Conference in the
past three years (2001-2003).
When you register, think of a colleague
at your organization, a client organization, your ISPI or ASTD chapter,
or an acquaintance in the field who has not experienced a recent ISPI
conference. Offer that person an opportunity to save hundreds of dollars
while benefiting from the premier educational event in workplace performance
If you have not attended an ISPI Annual
Conference in the past three years, you will want to register with
a colleague. Find someone you know who plans to attend, register together,
and one of you will register for only $350. The deadline is February
13, 2004. Click
here to register today!
October 6-10 2003, the ISPI South African chapter hosted a Conference
and HPT Institute. This was a first for the chapter and a first for
the continent of Africa. Local chapter committee members shared their
excitement with about 80 delegates, for most this was their first introduction
to ISPI. Chapter president Belia Nel said, “this is the ‘start of HPT
history’ in South Africa.”
conference—titled Human Performance Today—offered attendees an introduction
to the principles of Human Performance Technology. The response from
delegates to a new perspective on their organizational systems and
the performance improvement opportunities presented at a private sector,
government, and small enterprise level was extremely positive. The
proceedings were characterized by productive interaction between performance
improvement professionals—many who were not aware of the extent of
interest in HPT in South Africa. This demonstrates the impact that
ISPI SA is having within the country and also Southern Africa, opening
communication channels and establishing a foundation for performance
technology practices with real value to business. During the breaks
and an informal cheese and wine cracker barrel, a number of friendships
were made. And furthermore, a couple of the attendees were inspired
to take on active roles within the ISPI local committee.
Presentations were given by five international speakers
from the United States and the United Kingdom including past ISPI presidents
and Board members. In addition, performance improvement practitioners
from various industries in South Africa provided a balance of local speakers.
conference was preceded by a three-day HPT Institute—Principles and
Practices for Performance Improvement. It was enthusiastically received
by all who attended.
Town proved to be a wonderful venue for the event—the weather played
along and the beautiful Table Mountain bowed to a warm welcome for
our international guests. We all agree this event contributed in branding
ISPI as an international Society of tremendous value, professionalism,
and sharing of knowledge.
We all agree this event contributed in branding
ISPI as an international Society of tremendous value, professionalism,
sharing of knowledge.
in groundbreaking research by sharing your experiences concerning how
your instructional design preparation matched up with the ID position
you eventually acquired! A brief, 15-minute, online survey asks you
to identify your career environment (for example, higher education,
business and industry, K-12 education, and more), whether you were
prepared specifically to practice design in that environment, and if
so, how you were prepared. Results of this survey will identify programs
that do a particularly good job of preparing instructional designers
for specific career environments. To share your experiences, please
access the survey by clicking here (no
identifying information will be collected as a result of your participation).
study, available online from January 12 through February 12, 2004,
is being conducted by the Center for
Instructional Technology Solutions in Industry and Education (CITSIE)
at Virginia Tech University. If you have questions about the study,
please contact Miriam Larson at email@example.com.
The goals for this phase in the four phase initiative
are to: Clarify the non-instructional technologies of human performance
technology (HPT), identify the underlying science of those technologies,
and establish a mechanism to continue the work started and maintain it.
The history and reasons for conducting this effort are available by clicking here.
We need to more clearly define what
HPT is, and identify “the
diverse technologies” of HPT. Then, we can better ensure that the content
of our many forums and publications reflect those technologies and truly
help our members become more aware, more knowledgeable, or more skillful
in one or many of those technologies. And, as their situation requires
or allows, they can become specialists or generalists in HPT.
We’ll also clarify the underlying Science/Areas of Research
of HPT. We can then clearly link each technology back to its scientific
roots and rationale. We can help define the conditions under which an
application (a set of technologies) works, and also when it does not
work. We can clearly label “snake oil” and even link those claims back
to the research.
We can then better enable Society
members to organize themselves into one or more of the many subset
groups representing opportunity/problem
areas, technology areas, and research areas. We can improve our members’ returns
for their time and efforts for learning and networking.
But, what I really like about this effort is that it
should allow us to better see our overlaps/commonalities with other improvement
approaches. And this allows us to see our differences. In the end, this
will enable us to better clarify our value add and our value proposition
to the overall improvement effort of the organization, and allow us to
better collaborate with each other.
The four phases of stage one will
lead to additional downstream efforts that begin on Don Tosti’s watch
in April when this Presidential Initiative becomes his Presidential
Phase 1: Geary
Rummler agreed to give it the old college try, again, and allowed me
to re-publish his 1983 Performance and Instruction article titled Technology
Domains and NSPI: A Proposed Framework for Organizing the Professional
Content of NSPI.
Phase 2: Roger
Kaufman and I co-edited the February 2003 issue of PI that focused on: Clarifying HPT. Click here to
access the issue.
Phase 3: In this
phase, all who cared to participate took time to write their own
2-page responses on HPT. These are posted on the same webpage as the
February special issue.
Phase 4: This
is the planned culmination of the first stage. Here a Think Tank of
28 invited members, including old and new guard and rising stars, well
balanced by gender, consultant/academic/enterprise roles, and geography,
came together to wrestle with the goals of identifying the technologies
and the areas of research of HPT, and determining how to continue the
effort and then maintain it.
3-Day Think Tank
The Think Tank was held in Las Vegas and was intended
to bring together a diverse group of active members and begin the process
to identify the various non-instructional technologies of HPT and their
underlying areas of research/science, and to also identify a system for
continuing and evolving the work begun during this meeting, and keeping
it evergreen over time.
All attendees paid their own travel and living expenses.
The 28 members selected originally for this meeting represented the diversity
sought. The final team of 20 attendees lost some of the sought-after
diversity, but I think it will be okay.
I wish to acknowledge that there
are many other long-term, active ISPI members who could have been there,
and maybe should have
been there…but it would have been impossible to assemble and then work
with a group that large. This is why I deliberately asked the Core Team
members to choose a mix, versus all old guard.
The Think Tank produced initial, rough drafts of
set of criteria for assessing HPT “technologies” and “projects”
- Three-level framework
of variables affecting performance
- A list of the Technology
Domains of HPT
- A list of the Science
Domains of HPT
- A Governance System for
organizing the HPT Domains
A lot of excitement was generated
around the establishment of criteria for an HPT “technology” and “project.” The
rough draft statements for HPT respected practices and sound tuition,
- It must focus on valued,
- It must deal with the
performance of people
- It must take a systemic
view of the performance and its context
- It must be reliable (replicable,
For the HPT technology to be able to claim that it is
must be valid (construct and predictive validity)
It was an aggressive
agenda, and we didn’t accomplish
everything we might have, but it was a great start.
Post-Think Tank Sub-Group Activities
The Task Force team’s
feedback will be reflected in a report to the ISPI Board of Directors
that will be
reviewed at the
Board meeting this month. Reactions will be discussed, feedback
gathered, and the final report will be updated and made available
to the new Board
and to the Society at the Tampa conference.
This is just the start of a multi-year
effort. If succeeding Boards support the direction to clarify the technologies
of HPT that
lead to “measured results that add value,” then we should soon see that
reflected in a more balanced manner in the content of all of our conferences,
institutes, and publications.
We are a technology-driven professional
Society, and one of our key goals is to disseminate these technologies
their competent practice. We will soon add clarity to the profession
and clearly identify what works and what doesn’t, and under which
conditions those claims are true.
If your current practice of HPT focuses
on helping the humans of an organization perform better in business
I think you are in the HPT tent we are defining.
But, if you help build
bridges in the developing world, help crops to grow more effectively,
efficiency of rotating
mechanical equipment on gas pipelines, that is not HPT in my opinion.
But that’s just “my” opinion. What is and isn’t valid HPT is not my decision.
It’s ours. Your current and future elected Boards will take us somewhere
over the next few years as a profession. You should let them
know how you feel!
The 4th International Conference on Performance Measurement and Management will take place in Edinburgh,
July 28-30, 2004. The conference theme is Performance Measurement and Management:
Public and Private, and as with the previous conferences there will be a mix
of delegates and papers from the academic and practitioner
communities. If you are interested in submitting a proposal, the full
call for papers can be found by clicking here. The deadline
to submit a proposal abstract is January 16, 2004.
Marketplace is a convenient way to exchange information
of interest to the performance improvement community. Take a few
moments each month to scan the listings for important new events,
publications, services, and employment opportunities. To post information
for our readers, contact ISPI Director of Marketing, Keith Pew
at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301.587.8570.
Books and Reports
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
Revisited is an essential
reader for students and practitioners of performance-centered
design (PCD). From job aids and “bolt on” EPSS to ground-up
enterprise performance-centered systems, you will find gems
in terms of methodology, industry trends, and a plethora of
ISD Revisited is
a select collection of 56 articles from ISPI’s Performance
Improvement journal focused ISD as practiced in the 21st Century.
This compendium, with an introduction by Allison Rossett, provides
a fresh perspective on ISD, presenting current thinking and best
Conferences, Seminars, and Workshops
Darryl L. Sink & Associates,
Inc. is offering the following workshops in 2004: The Course
Developer Workshop, February 2-3; Designing Instruction for Web-Based
Training, San Francisco, February 9-11; The Instructional Developer
Workshop, Chicago, March1-3. Visit www.dsink.com for
details and to register!
Faster, Cheaper, Better. Let Thiagi and his team design your web-based training and live e-learning sessions. True interactivity is in the mind—not
in the mouse. Exciting activities require and reward higher-level
thinking and application. For more details, visit www.thiagi.com.
Measuring & Benchmarking Training Conference, February
23-25, 2004, Las Vegas. Learn proven methods to OPTIMIZE the
ROI of your training program.
Attend unique and informative workshops presented by training
leaders such as Intel, Home Depot, Pfizer and United Airlines. 10%
Discount for ISPI Members!
So you want to be a CPT? If you have the experience,
but don’t have the time, ProofPoint Systems has your solution.
You provide the information, and ProofPoint does the rest. Not
sure what’s involved? Call 650.559.9029, or email: email@example.com to
Job and Career Resources
Online CareerSite is your source for performance
improvement employment. Search listings and manage your resume
and job applications online.
Magazines, Newsletters, and Journals
Improvement Quarterly, co-published
by ISPI and FSU, is a peer-reviewed journal created to stimulate
professional discussion in the field and to advance the discipline
of Human Performance Technology through literature reviews,
experimental studies with a scholarly base, and case studies. Subscribe
Online Buyers Guide offers resources for your
performance improvement, training, instructional design and organizational
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
Are you working to improve workplace performance?
Then, ISPI membership is your key to professional development through
education, certification, networking, and professional affinity programs.
If you are already a member, we thank you for your support. If you have been
considering membership or are about to renew, there is no better time to join
ISPI. To apply for membership or renew, visit www.ispi.org, or simply click here.
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
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
- The Application
to the article, please include a short bio (2-3 lines) and a contact email
address. All submissions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each article will be reviewed by one of ISPIs on-staff HPT experts,
and the author will be contacted if it is accepted for publication. If
you have any further questions, please contact email@example.com.
to printer-friendly version of this issue.
free to forward ISPIs PerformanceXpress newsletter to your
colleagues or anyone you think may benefit from the information. If you
are reading someone elses PerformanceXpress, send your complete
contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org,
and you will be added to the PerformanceXpress emailing list.
is an ISPI member benefit designed to build community, stimulate discussion,
and keep you informed of the Societys activities and events. This
newsletter is published monthly and will be emailed to you at the beginning
of each month.
you have any questions or comments, please contact April Davis, ISPIs
Senior Director of Publications, at email@example.com.
1400 Spring Street, Suite 260
Silver Spring, MD 20910 USA