Got research? Know where to find it? We are
asking ourselves to recognize when our applications are “grounded
in prior research or empirical evidence (or are not discouraged
by either one)” (ISPI Presidential
Initiative Task Force, 2004). This does not mean we can’t
use our intuition to recommend something to a client—but
it does mean that we should consider whether there is evidence
to support our
suggestion—or evidence to the contrary.
In other words, what makes me think that my recommendation
will produce the desired results? Is there research that suggests
that this application
will work in this kind of situation? Or, is there evidence
that it will not work?
What does this mean for our everyday work? Where
do you look? How much inquiry is enough? At what point should we,
determine that there is enough positive or negative evidence
to inform our recommendations for action? (Do I have to spend the
rest of my
life in the library?)
Thoughts About Research Sources
Limit your research reviews to refereed journals.
What this really means is, avoid taking
too seriously articles that are just opinion pieces made up at
the author’s keyboard. Insist on looking further than an author’s
unchecked idea as a foundation for your recommendations to clients.
Ask a reference librarian for help finding refereed journals
not sure where to locate them.
for the research leaders in a particular topic area. Search the
abstracts and see which names appear over and over. Ask people in your
network of associates for recommendations, too. Pick the top two or
read what they have written.
for current reviews of research or meta-analyses by respected authors
in peer-reviewed journals. These are especially helpful because the
authors look at many, many studies in the area in question, throw out
the studies that are faulty, and then figure out what the preponderance
of evidence shows. The rigorous journals’ peer-review processes
help to keep authors’ individual biases in check.
Sometimes peer-reviewed journals will devote an
entire issue to a particular topic. They will invite the leaders in
that area to write
articles and there can be a lot of disagreement.
These are great sources of information from different points of view.
up by reading a few of the particularly salient references cited
in these articles.
Always look for opposing opinions. If one author says the earth
is flat, look for evidence that the earth is some other shape. Then,
consider what is behind the
various authors’ conclusions: just a thought or belief, or do
they have photos from outer space? Also, consider the motivation of
the authors—do they collect big fees related to the Flat Earth
Society, or do they seem to be free of ulterior motives?
you begin to find, during your search, redundant information from a
variety of viewpoints in respected sources, you have probably made
a reasonable effort.
Jeanne Farrington, EdD, CPT, is President of J. Farrington
Consulting. She is a long-time ISPI member, a past
member of the Board of Directors,
and has contributed to publications
and many conferences. Jeanne may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
||Do you receive ISPI’s peer-reviewed
journal, Performance Improvement Quarterly? Subscribe
now to read the latest research in the field of performance improvement.
by Carol Haig, CPT and Roger Addison, EdD, CPT
This month we thought you might welcome a change
of pace. Rather than presenting an interview, we are going to share
an experience from ISPI’s
2004 Annual Conference in Tampa. At the conference, we gave a presentation
called TrendSpotters: An HPT View. Its cornerstone was the TrendSpotters
Menu that presents, in categories, the many trends our guests
in this column have discussed. The purpose of the session was to explore
trends that will impact our organizations and our HPT work in the near
The eight TrendSpotters Menu categories are: Customer
Service, Economy, Human Performance, Interventions, Measurement & Results, Models & Tools,
Performance Consulting, and Strategic Planning. From this foundation,
we built the session around leveraging Menu information so attendees
could identify and discuss trends of significance to them and their clients.
your customer continues
to be a focus of organizations
- The connection between the employee experience and
the customer experience will become more pronounced as organizations
value and explore ways to maximize this relationship
competition for products, services, and people
outsourcing of entire functions
- Increased offshore contracting
to develop training projects and programs
want to get the most performance from their existing employees
- Both international and global organizations are actively
seeking first-class performance improvement programs
implementation is valued as key to any intervention’s
- New evidence of the power of motivation
to increase performance
Measurement & Results
seek the most cost-effective path to results and are enabling
workers to find this path for themselves
- Measures and analysis will encompass both hard and
soft performance results, seeking key performance indicators
and intangibles, such as added value beyond financial measures
Models & Tools
failure rate of such interventions as Total Quality Management
and downsizing has generated new organizational change models
- The growth of complex technologies is fueling the
need for new knowledge capture models
competition among providers of HPT-related products and services
emphasis on performance at the organizational level
interest in human performance improvement that will move us
from focusing on training and learning as a means, to performance-valued
accomplishments as an ends
practitioners will experience a return to our HPT roots
consulting, HPT tools and techniques will migrate to HR and
line managers as a problem-solving process for the “human” side
of the business
broker/solutions provider role
solution-free performance consulting
strategic relationships based on access, credibility, and trust
integration of analytical methods and HPT solutions into a
comprehensive theoretical framework that organizations will
be able to fit together and use to grow the business and deliver
- Continued and increased interest internationally in
HPT and the HPT approach to improving performance
are beginning to shift from the short-term focus of the last
10-15 years to one centered on longer-term systemic management
will be looking for ways to create greater value for their
will take an increasingly macro-level view of the purpose and
values of their organizations
will align their OD, HR, and training practitioners to a performance
improvement approach to maximize efficiencies and add value
for all stakeholders
- Increased off-shore outsourcing of tactical processes,
with strategic process the remaining focus
Table 1. TrendSpotters Menu
The benefits of this session included increased 1) knowledge
of business trends, 2) ability to assess the effects of trends on their
and 3) ability to use trend information to benefit clients.
In small teams, participants identified trends of consequence in their
work. Then, they posted these trends in the categories identified in
the TrendSpotters Menu and assessed the impact of each trend on three
levels, as applicable: Individual HPT Practitioner, Organization/Industry,
and the Field of Performance Improvement.
Next, the participants chose the single most critical trend for their
individual work situation and listed both the opportunities and challenges
the trend presented.
Finally, the group selected the most significant trends from those posted
at each of the three levels. Below are the results.
Individual Practitioner Level
Trend #1: The enhanced integration of processes, workforce development
groups, and product development provides a holistic picture of the target
audience for all job roles supported.
Trend #2: Shared models that start with desired results and work backward
mark the integration of training and work. The Certified Performance Technologist (CPT)
Standards of Performance Technology and Code of Ethics provide a framework
for these models.
Trend #3: Concurrent engineering, where a multi-disciplined approach
to engineering projects and problem solving is used, helps link functional
areas, eliminate duplication of work, and cut down silos.
Trend #4: Managing performance virtually for projects, consulting services,
management of teams, and global mergers is becoming more prevalent in
Trend #5: Increasingly, organizations are taking
a performance approach without retrofitting existing training functions,
almost as if they are
skipping the more typical “growing pains” we usually see.
Performance Improvement Field Level
Trend #6: The consultant as generalist is becoming a specialist who
looks at the entire performance system and is supported by niche experts
who can address specialties within that system.
Trend #7: There are many more HPT learning resources today than in the
As we look back on this session and review the trends we have reported
on, we see that there continues to be shared views, connections among
personal experiences, and a strong interest in how best to harness trends
information for daily use.
We very much appreciate the
interest and energy of the colleagues who joined us in Tampa and contributed
to this session. Special
thanks to: Jamie Barron, Capella University; Bob Carleton, The Vector
Group; Kay Gallogly, Human Performance Strategies; Doris Greenwood and
Barry Kneeland, Hewlett-Packard Co.; Laurie Wilson Ihry, Pearson Education;
Jeff Loube, Odyssey Consulting Ltd.; Sammy McCubbins and Diane Stroud,
State Farm Insurance; Julie Miller, Miller Training Development, Inc.;
Sandra Mueller, Workplace Learning & Performance Improvement; Connie
Swartz and Lori Turec, Creative Courseware, Inc.; John Swinney, Bandag,
Inc.; Celia Szelwach, Creative Collaborations Consulting, Inc.; and Hugh
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 email@example.com or http://home.mindspring.com/~carolhaig or
Roger Addison, EdD, CPT, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
the discussions going by using the TrendSpotters Menu provided
here in your daily work.
Performance consultants are often faced with the task of measuring workforce
job competencies. If the competence level of the workforce changes,
this ought to be worth dollars to an organization. But exactly how
much is the change worth? How do we calculate it? Typically, a specialized
study is needed, such as a Level 4/Level 5 measure of training effectiveness.
Is it not possible to set up an equation, and then plug numbers into
it to calculate the dollar value of competence changes? Yes, as long
as we want to make a couple of basic assumptions. This article will
can be taken whenever a performance appraisal is done. It is common
for organizations to track appraisal ratings on human resources’ software,
so data is readily available for use. If a special competence measurement
is needed, such as before and after a training class, the same metrics
as used for appraisals can be used to get updates.
First, a couple of assumptions
about the dollar value of human performance. The first assumption is
that the dollar value of a job is worth the average salary being paid
to the incumbents. This is certainly a safe assumption for organizations
would scarcely want to argue that a job is worth less than the salary
being paid to people.
employee cost is more than salary. There are benefits such as vacation,
insurance, life insurance, college tuition, and bonuses. In addition,
organizations incur other costs to keep someone on the payroll such as
rental, furniture, cell phones, computers, software, and utility bills.
A very conservative second assumption I will make is that keeping
someone on the payroll is twice the individual’s salary. An employee
earning $50,000 per year costs $100,000 per year to keep on the payroll
when bonuses, benefits, and equipment and office costs are added in.
So, a person with a $100,000 salary would cost $200,000 per year. The
cost is likely more than this, but assuming twice the individual’s
salary is a conservative estimation.
With these assumptions
in mind, I can now introduce an equation for calculating the dollar
value of competence change. This is as follows:
No. of Competencies x
of Years x No.
No. of Competencies
the competence level at Time 2
CLT1 = the competence level at Time 1
total net gain can be calculated as follows:
Total Dollar Gain — Cost
of the Program = Total Net Gain (ROI)
Let me provide a bit of explanation for the equation,
then we will look at an example. We calculate the Total Employee Cost
by multiplying the base salary by two. Next, we divide this number
by the number of competencies to determine the dollar value of one
As for the change in the
competence level, the second part of the equation, we simply make measurements
of competence for the group that we are studying at two points in time.
Since our equation is based on the cost per competency, we must multiply this
by however many competencies we are studying. If we were studying two
competencies at once, we could calculate the change in competence levels
for the two competencies considered together as a composite.
We may also want to know
the effects over a few years, and for this reason, we need to multiply
by however many years we are studying. Competency change lasts quite
long, so looking out over a few years is very appropriate. Last, we
need to multiply by however many employees we are studying since our
equation looks at total costs per employee.
Last, we subtract out any costs from the total gain which we calculate.
This shows us the return on investment (ROI).
Consider an example. An
organization has 30,000 employees, which is roughly the average of
the 500 largest organizations in the United States. Assume that the
organization works very hard at building competence at customer satisfaction
with both internal and external customers. Assume building customer
satisfaction is just one of 15 competencies that is needed by the entire
workforce, that we want to know the value of change over five years,
and that the competence improvement was 17% (3.00 to 3.50) due to training,
culture change, and other initiatives. Also, assume that the initiative
cost totals $10,000,000. What is the dollar value of this change? The
3.50 – 3.00
1 x 5 x 30,000
$250,050,000 – $10,000,000
The total value to the organization over five years
is an astounding $250,050,000 before subtracting costs! If the initiative
costs $10,000,000 for training, consultants, etc., the Total Net Gain
is still $240,050,000. Not a bad investment! And, a gain of this magnitude
is realistic if the training and other aspects of the initiative are
on target. Knowing the potential gain could help senior managers determine
the benefits of undertaking such an initiative.
The tool presented here will enable performance consultants
to directly and easily calculate the dollar gain from competence change.
studies are needed. We merely get our data from regular performance appraisals
done on competencies, and we update this data as necessary. Each manager
can have such an equation on his/her personal “dashboard” to
see the dollar impact of competence change throughout the year. Competencies
change due to mundane things like retirements and new hires being added
to staff as well as major initiatives. Managers and performance consultants
should make such metrics and the equations a part of their daily work
Note: This article is an excerpt from Dennis’ recently
released book Measuring
Human Capital: Converting Workplace Behavior into Dollars published by KA Publishing.
Dennis Kravetz is president
of Kravetz Associates, a national consulting firm based in Mesa,
Arizona that specializes in
human capital consultation. He has authored five books and more than
30 articles on management and human resources, and has won three
national awards for innovations in the field. Dennis’ clients
have included roughly half of the largest 500 companies in America
as well as a number
of government agencies. Dennis has a BS in Psychology from Purdue,
and MS and PhD degrees in industrial psychology from the University
He may be reached at email@example.com.
learn more, attend Dennis’ two-day workshop “Measuring
Human Capital” on April 11-12, 2005 at ISPI’s Annual
Conference in Vancouver.
Last month, I conducted a contest that required people to define performance-based
instructional systems design in exactly 16 words. We received an impressive number
of entries, including several from the same contestants.
Here are the results:
rounds of reflection and argument, our international panel of judges
selected the following entry from
Bill Wake as the
winning entry. (Note: The judging panel’s decision is final.)
to create—and know we’ve created—environments
where learners don’t just know, they can do.
to recognize Phil Shearrer as the contestant with the fastest reaction
time. Here’s his entry, which reached
us early in the morning on the first of October:
The delicate process of choosing the best way to help your lover
push the right buttons.
Carrie Schiers submitted the most poetic entry:
There once was a trainer who wrote and wrote and joy! somebody actually
used it once!
Ramona Lawrence ingeniously incorporated a graphic as
a part of a PowerPoint® slide (to sneak in an extra word):
Systematic process utilized to arrange the instrumental [graphic
showing a set of steps] in learning results-oriented behaviors that
produce desired outcomes.
But Wait, There’s More
have another chance to play. Here’s how
the second round of the contest goes: Define performance-based instructional systems
design in exactly eight words. Notice that the definition
should contain exactly eight words. You must not use fewer than eight
words or more than eight words.
By the way, you can compete in this second round even if you did not
compete in the first. And, you can compete in this round even if you
competed (and won) in the first.
How to Cheat
At the end
of this article, I am appending several “16-word” definitions
from the previous round of the contest. (Some people did not count
correctly.) Review the concepts and the words and synthesize your own
eight-word definition. Call this activity research or analysis or benchmarking.
- Email your contest entry to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Judging criteria include accuracy, creativity, and appeal to PX readers.
- Include your name and email address with your entry.
- You may send more than one entry (but you can win only once).
- The decision of the judges is final.
- Results will be announced in a future issue of PX.
- All entries will eventually be posted to a website (of course,
you will get full credit).
method of designing training based on organizational needs and training
people to meet those needs. —Daniel C. Roberts
repeatable method for structuring training in which participants demonstrate
that they can perform a task. —Fran Durkee
systems approach to designing instruction, focusing on developing knowledge
and abilities required to perform tasks. —N.F. Wheeler
training intervention to get a person or a group to behave in an effective
way. —Jill Hughes
materials, programs, or interventions to improve job performance rather
than create a well-rounded individual. —Kim Andrews
the right training to the right person at the right time for the right
performance. —Lee Davis Saxton
To Do It: Break tasks down. Teach the parts. Practice the tasks. Measure
task performance. Revise until methods work. —Patty Newbold
systemic approach to close the gap between ideal performance managers
want and today’s performance. —Lisa Owens
guiding organizations on how to create a climate of teaching that is
based on performance. —Tamra Thoreson
is when the course works. Performance-Based ISD is when the course
made a difference. —Fritz Randall
is a functional design and execution of Instructional products and
systems resulting in performance proficiency. —Amy von Stritzky
development of experiences and concepts that are intentionally arranged
in order to bring about learning. —Teri Holloway
learning to do what needs to be done better than they have done it
before. —Rob Stevens
Based Instructional System Design is a process blueprint for training
development focusing on task requirements —Pat Mullins
instructional systems design combines organizational and task assessment
to create measurable and effective learning experiences. —Jan
of creating a learning intervention to fill the gap between actual
performance and pre-established competence. —Alvaro Estrado
different ways people help each other figure out the best way to get
something done. —Peter Gray
systematic creation of learning solutions that directly improves the
performance of learners with gay abandon. —Terri Spafford
design training such that delivery is in a form matching the required
performance base application. —Michael D. Salazar
Ever since I joined the National Society for Performance
it was then known—a little more than a decade ago, membership outside
the United States has grown steadily, reaching critical mass. The globalization
of ISPI is a visible reality. ISPI has chapters in four continents (35%
of ISPI total) and 425 international—and more than 1,500 local
members—that hold annual ISPI conferences in Europe, Africa, Far
and Middle East, and Australia.
ISPI’s goal for the coming years is not only
to keep expanding our international membership and spreading the HPT
approach, but to open
new channels to receive and exchange expertise and ideas with our international
colleagues, thus enriching and expanding concepts and practices required
by a world where organizations must think globally while acting locally.
As an Argentinean consultant attending and presenting with my clients
at ISPI conferences and institutes, the ISPI experience provided us with
unique opportunities to interact with colleagues from other countries
and cultures, exchange best practices, and increase our ability to conduct
For ISPI, the challenge ahead is to transition from globalization to
While globalization is a one-directional process of dissemination of
practices, technology, culture, and ideas, internationalization is a
bi-directional process that requires the exchange and integration of different perspectives, thus developing cultural awareness and the
ability to manage diversity.
The story of Euro Disney is a good example of the
difference between globalizing and internationalizing. When Disney,
seeking to globalize
its business, opened Euro Disney in the surroundings of Paris, the occupancy
rate at the hotel was far below the planners’ expectations. Disney’s
CEO, Michael Eisner, flew to Paris to discuss a solution to the problem
with the European management team.
When European managers stated that room rates were
too expensive for European visitors, Eisner pointed at one of Euro
lots and commented that he couldn’t understand why visitors driving
Mercedes cars couldn’t afford such rates. A manager explained
to him that Mercedes were middle-class, not luxury cars for European
Like those European managers, ISPI’s international
members can provide the Society with unique perspectives, enrich the
theoretical foundations of our field, and help our organizations by preventing
These are some examples of how ISPI is successfully developing an internationalist
- Reducing language and distance barriers: The first bilingual and virtual chapter of ISPI, the Performance
Improvement Global Network, offers ISPI articles and materials
in English and Spanish, which allows many members to publish and
exchange ideas in their original language and stay up-to-date on
ISPI events all over the world. With more than 1,200 members from
25 countries, the virtual chapter gives members outside the United
States who cannot afford to travel the opportunity to participate
in an extended professional community.
- Interacting regionally: ISPI’s
non-U.S. conferences provide unique opportunities for exchange and
networking between professionals from different countries at regional
and international levels. They are also an excellent opportunity
to explore models and ideas developed in different academic and cultural
backgrounds that not only expand our perspective, but our ability
to participate in international projects.
- Translating and exchanging HPT and PI materials: I
recently attended the ISPI
and in a climate of camaraderie and hospitality, my colleagues presented
a wealth of interesting international HPT materials and tools translated
into English. Europeans have a tradition of systemic thinking, humanistic
approaches, and different social sciences background and models that
provide a new dimension to the performance improvement practice.
The July 2005 issue of Performance Improvement journal
will be a special issue based on this conference. In addition, bilingual
members have translated HPT Institute materials into Spanish, Portuguese,
French, and German, and similar efforts should be encouraged in the
opposite direction in order to offer U.S. practitioners access to
the ideas of Eliot Jacques (Canada), Fons Trompenaars (Netherlands),
Julian Birkinshaw (England), Xue Li (China), S.K Battacharya (India),
and other European and Asian experts.
- Internationalizing our standards and committees: ISPI currently has 68 non-U.S. CPTs, and 35 more are
being considered—a 50% increase in one year. In the near future,
non-U.S. performance experts may play a larger role in non-U.S. certification
because they are uniquely qualified to judge the application of standards
in the cultural contexts.
- Internationalizing our HPT faculties: ISPI’s
HPT Institutes have been extremely successful in disseminating our
technology and approaches. The team-based format is
especially attractive for international participants because it gives
opportunity to successfully participate in multi-national teams using
HPT models and concepts as a common language. Recently, in another
significant step toward internationalization, the HPT Institutes’ faculty
was expanded and enriched with the participation of non-U.S.
professionals who bring new perspectives to our
ISPI provides a unique environment in which to develop cultural awareness
and exposure to international teamwork. Many years of consistent and
open exchange has moved ISPI into an exciting new phase in which models,
practices, and professionals from other cultures and regions are a
regular component of our mainstream activities.
This is an exciting time to be a part of ISPI. I invite you all to
explore our multiple international channels.
International Performance Improvement Conference is
always about professional learning and growth; expanding the breadth and
what we know, how we do what we do, and the impact we have on work, education,
and the international community. And, this year’s roster of pre-conference
workshops delivers on both the breadth and depth commitments—breadth
of topics and depth of both presenters and the insight they deliver.
30 topics to choose from, this year’s line-up of pre-conference
workshops is bound to have just what you’re looking for! The
list includes some long-running favorites like Robert Brinkerhoff and
Dennis Dressler’s, Connecting
HPI to Business Goals and Metrics, and Roger Kaufman’s, Needs Assessment:
What it is—How
to get it done. Partnership is the theme in James Tamm’s Building
Collaborative Partnerships and Thiagi’s
Cheaper, Better: Alternative Approaches to Instructional Design and The
Four-Door Model: A Faster, Cheaper, and Better Approach to e-Learning
Coscarelli, Sharon Shrock, and Patricia Eyres’ Constructing
Level Two Evaluation and Certification Systems: Technical and Legal
returns to the line-up. If you want to focus on our training
roots, Carl Binder will help you in Building Fluent Performance, and
just to make sure we don’t forget what counts—Bill Lee,
will present on Evaluation.
This year’s list
includes some new additions like Ray Svenson’s Business-Driven
Strategic Planning for Learning and Development,
Richard Gerson’s Winning the Inner
Game of HPT, and Holly Burkett’s Using
Action Plans to Manage, Measure, and Align Performance with Desired
to name a few. Regardless of what you’re looking for, we have
Remember, ISPI pre-conference workshops
come in all sizes to fit your needs and schedule (half-, one-, and
Monday, April 11 and
Tuesday, April 12. So, if you’re looking to gain a depth of knowledge
from an established expert or a rising star, sign up for one these exciting
learning experiences. Click here for the complete workshop descriptions,
and register today!
Many organizations experience the symptoms, but
they do not know the diagnosis. If they do know the diagnosis, they
do not know how to effectively
treat the problem. What is this common disease? It is a fracture in
an organization’s change initiatives—a broken continuous
improvement program (CIP). There is, however, an effective treatment
for this disease.
By engaging leaders at various levels to understand the strategic plan,
the change tools, and the people skills necessary for bringing the
two together, organizations can write the prescription that best treats
problem within their unique culture.
Most companies experience this disease at some point, even those who
do not have a formal CIP. Even in environments where the CEO does not
encourage the use of improvement tools, such as Six Sigma, Lean Enterprise,
and Supply Chain Management, these symptoms still exist, because where
there is a process, there is at least one employee using such techniques,
in order to make improvements. These companies actually run a risk of
suffering more severe symptoms than those with a formal plan.
So what are the symptoms?
change initiatives run independently from one another, often prompting
in-fighting among the various camps. For example, the Six Sigma and
Lean Enterprise experts battle over projects and resources.
CIP is not aligned to the strategic plan; therefore, the change initiatives
in process are not relevant to the company’s strategic action
complain that they want to be involved in strategy deployment and improvement
initiatives, but because they do not understand the strategy, they
do not feel like they are a part of the plans for change.
complain that the CEO is not supportive of their initiatives.
are trained in the change tools, but meet with resistance in implementation,
because they cannot overcome other people’s fear of change.
The root cause behind these common symptoms is
one or more weak links in the Continuous Improvement Chain (see Figure
1): 1) Tool
is a lack of knowledge in Six Sigma, Lean Enterprise, Supply Chain
Management, etc.; 2) Strategy—the strategic plan is either
not clearly communicated to employees or is not understood by those
working on improvement initiatives; and 3) People Link—the people
trained in the tool set or familiar with the strategy lack the communication
and soft skills necessary to gain support and consensus for achieving
Figure 1. Continuous
Organizations are empowered to prescribe a tailored
treatment for their broken CIP, when employees are in place, who
strategic plan, are familiar with the tool sets and how to integrate
who possess the people skills necessary for overcoming fear of change
and building trust. These unique employees actively seek out education
in the area of leadership of change, and stay informed on the newest
application of change tools. They seek out experts who answer questions
and provide guidance based on their experience, and they network
with peers to obtain realistic applications and solutions for problems
experience. These individuals know that it is vital to learn from
successes and mistakes and be informed of best practices across various
Many companies experience the symptoms of a broken
continuous improvement program, but because employees do not understand
the strategic plan,
the tools set for achieving change, or do not possess the people
skills to join the two, they are not able to diagnose and treat this
By building knowledge and confidence in the three links of the Continuous
Improvement Chain, this fracture can be fixed and the links strongly
united. Are you ready to take the first step to diagnosing and treating
your company’s problem?
Randy K. Kesterson is the Founding Director of the Society for Leadership of Change (SLC), a non-profit
professional membership society, which seeks to increase the value
of leaders of change within organizations. The SLC brings leaders at
all levels within organizations together, as well as with the recognized
experts in the area of change leadership, in order to appreciate the
intricacies of the strategic plan, the available change tools, and
the people skills necessary for linking the two into a strong continuous
improvement plan. Randy may be reached at kestersonrk@theSLC.org
Are you ready
to take the first step to diagnosing and treating your company’s
Have you visited ISPI’s Web Communities (not to be confused with ISPI’s recently implemented Professional
Communities)? If not, you’re missing the opportunity to find
news, discuss topics, network, and share your knowledge with fellow
performance improvement professionals under the following topic headings:
Advocates (by invitation)
- Clarifying the HPT Value
- Proposition: Presidential Initiative Task Force (Members
- CPT Forum (Members only)
- HPT Forum (Members only)
- International Forum (Members
- Member Forum (Members only)
- Research Forum (Public)
- The Goal of “Communicating
About HPT” (Members only)
The ISPI Web Communities are your opportunity
to communicate with fellow performance improvement professionals
from around the world. Get answers to questions. Learn a new technique.
Help others with questions by sharing your knowledge. To become
active participant, click
already, maybe it hasn’t, but if so, the people have spoken. The
November 2004 Presidential election in the United States has captivated
audiences around the world. Regardless of your particular political persuasion,
ideally what the process displays is democracy at work, where political
power emerges from and for the people. HPT also is powered by and for
people. The theme for this month’s column is People Power.
We will explore sites that reveal unique ways that HPT has energized
and enlightened people engaged in the process through the government,
the military, the public health arena, and the environment. Please, feed
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 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
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
power of a people is sometimes measured via military resourcefulness.
A great example is the U.S. Navy’s Human Performance Center (HPC SPIDER).
This site incorporates a highly detailed
introduction to HPT, specific examples of HPT best practices/lessons
learned in governmental/non-governmental settings, and many valuable
links (yes, including to ISPI).
Settle in for some “deep-C” (for “Computer”)
exploration as this site provides detailed information on technologies,
management, and R&D. HPC SPIDER is the U.S. Navy’s “premier
online resource for human performance and training technology for lifelong
HPT in public health is one arena where
performance improvement can positively impact people...from educational
campaigns to life-saving interventions. For a comprehensive and conversational
overview of resources from public health of value to HPT, visit the website
C. Jung who
describes herself as: “…a public
health professional with a background in nursing, did a short stint in
child welfare, love quality assurance
and quality improvement stuff.” As if she knew ISPIers would be
visiting, the site outlines as a goal “To meet the Evaluation Criteria
set by the Health Summit Working Group for Quality Health Information
on the Internet and adhere to the Stanford Guidelines for Web Credibility.” The
excellent listing of the Site Search Engine
and Site Index includes
many valuable links, including a Needs Assessment
Wide Evaluation Gateway, an essay on performance
indicators in organizations in Australia, an AmeriCorps
Performance Measurement Toolkit, and a performance measures database
from the National
Quality Measures Clearinghouse. This website can serve as an inspiration
for all performance technologists to create research-based, informative
sites geared to educating practitioners and the general public, complete
with links to websites
Special, cool, international
public health note: Speaking of global measures of improving people’s
lives, during a recent visit to the Seattle (Washington, U.S.A.) Art
fascinating exhibit on Spain
in the Age of Exploration, 1492-1819, I-Spy learned that Spain launched
the first global public health campaign in 1803 when physicians were
sent to the New World to vaccinate thousands against smallpox. For an
interesting article on this Royal Philanthropic Vaccination Expedition,
read Karen Shashock’s essay, A
public health odyssey brought back to light: The story of the world’s
first mass vaccination project.
Controversy rages this
political season regarding the relationship between people, performance,
power, and petroleum.
So, how could people get performance to happen using alternative fuel
sources rather than gasoline? Crank up your solar panels and wind turbines
to get energy for a visit to “The Cutting Edge of Low Technology” at OtherPower.com. Owned by
ForceField, a home-based business with staff located in the remote mountains
of Fort Collins, Colorado, this site offers “a huge free resource
for alternative energy enthusiasts and experimentors. Build your own
low-rpm permanent-magnet alternators, battery chargers, anemometers,
windmills, hydro turbines, and more.” With advice on a wide variety
of energy options for life “off the grid” (we cybernauts,
though appreciative, still shudder at the thought!)—including efficient lighting and solar
panels, OtherPower.com is a great introduction to challenging our
assumptions about how we as people can get energy that helps sustain
the environment. For the performance technologists in the room, we suggest
this approach to HPT—Hamster Powered Technology—complete
with performance measurement via an attached computer to support gathering
wH/hM—watt-hours-per-hamster-mile! Special thanks to I-Spy’s
good friend, fellow web-gawker geek and programmer impresario Andy Craze for the reference to this site.
Until next time, remember
the wise and respectful engagement of people using their power to
improve performance sustains
democracy, fosters social well-being, inspires innovation, and unleashes
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 Shaker Heights, Ohio. He may be reached at email@example.com.
October 10, 2004, Ogden R. Lindsley, a giant in the fields of behavior
research, measurement, and performance technology, died of bile duct
cancer at the Kansas University Medical Center with his wife, Nancy,
at his side. Four days before, Og sent a gracious and inspiring farewell message to
his students and colleagues. In response, he received a stream of emails
from around the world with love and appreciation from old friends,
as well as from parents, students, and professionals whom he had never
met yet whose lives he had profoundly improved with Precision
Teaching and Standard Celeration Charting.
life was extraordinarily full and productive. At 20, he left Brown
University to enlist in the Army Air Corps, serving as an engineer-gunner
on B-24 bombers. Shot down over Yugoslavia, he spent nine months as
a POW, and then escaped. He later told colorful tales of tricking the
Nazi soldiers and making friends with the local populace on forced
marches between prison camps. He also recounted his personal pledge
that if he were allowed to escape, he would devote half of his life
to helping the world and the other half to having fun—reasoning
that his fallen comrades would have insisted on the latter. His career,
in fact, was marked by enthusiasm, inexhaustible energy, continuous
curiosity and discovery, plus lots of fun. Cartoons, songs, and funny
stories occupied an important part of his professional repertoire,
along with enormous amounts of charted data.
returned from the war in 1945 to complete Bachelor’s and Master’s
degrees in experimental psychology and histochemistry at Brown University,
and a Doctorate with B.F. Skinner at Harvard. With Skinner, he founded
and directed the Behavior Research Laboratory at Harvard Medical School,
where from 1953 to 1965 he conducted extensive behavior research with
human subjects, coined the term “behavior therapy,” and
demonstrated that principles of learning discovered in Skinner’s
animal operant conditioning labs applied with equal power and precision
to humans. During that period, he published dozens of scientific articles
reporting groundbreaking research in psychiatry, advertising, behavioral
pharmacology, geriatrics, social psychology, and education. Most of
his early publications are
as relevant today as when they were published, and well worth the effort
to request via interlibrary loan. He received the Hofheimer Research
Prize from the American Psychiatric Association in 1962 for his study
of psychotic behavior.
was at the core of his contributions. At an early stage, Lindsley committed
his scientific career to Skinner’s
supremely sensitive measure of behavior (or accomplishments), count/time
(rate or frequency). He learned from Skinner’s cumulative
recording methodology the power of standard graphic display for
communicating and analyzing measures over time, applying that principle
to develop his own standard charting tools.
1965, he decided to “parachute behind enemy lines” by moving
from Harvard Medical School to special education at the University
of Kansas Medical Center. He hoped to effect radical change in classroom
education by replacing percent correct with count per minute measures
and graphic displays of data for decision-making by teachers and students.
He began a new career in teacher training and field-based educational
research that ultimately had an enormous impact on thousands of teachers
and hundreds of thousands of students.
first worked with educators, teaching them principles of behavior and
requiring them to measure behavior frequencies in their classrooms,
Lindsley discovered that the idiosyncratic stretch-to-fill graphs they
used to share data slowed down communication. To remedy this problem,
he prototyped a “standard” chart initially
using semi-logarithmic engineering graph paper covering a range of
behavior frequencies from one per day (.000695 per minute) to 1,000
per minute up the left axis; and spanning 20 calendar weeks (140 days)
across the bottom. This tool enabled teachers to share and receive
feedback about classroom measurement and teaching projects in about
one tenth the time it took with traditional graphs.
the chart for classroom practice and research, Lindsley and his students
discovered that behavior
multiplies, it does not add.
That is, when graphed on the standard chart, which allows accurate
projection of straight-line trends instead of curves, frequencies of
behavior and accomplishments (along with many other natural phenomena)
exhibit patterns of proportional
rather than additive change. (For example, some behavior doubles
rather than adding a fixed amount every week.) The power and sensitivity
of Lindsley’s charting methodology is so great that if there
were a Nobel Prize for behavior measurement, some colleagues believe
he should have received it.
chart he discovered and quantified celeration (ACceleration or DEceleration),
a direct measure of learning for individuals, organizations, or systems
quantified as a multiplying or dividing change in frequency over time
(e.g., x 1.5 per week), and graphically displayed as a standard angle
on the celeration chart. From the late 1960s on, his students and colleagues
demonstrated enormous improvements in learning effectiveness with Precision Teaching and Precise Behavior
Management, using the standard celeration chart to make educational
and management decisions.
by these discoveries and frustrated by the inability of teachers to
change systems in which they served, Lindsley switched in 1971 to educational
administration at Kansas University. He supervised 34 doctoral theses
over the course of his tenure, training those who would become educational
leaders to use behavior science principles and standard celeration
charting in day-to-day educational and organizational management and
decision-making. Extending use of the chart to count-per-week, count-per-month,
and count-per-year applications, his students monitored such macro
phenomena as organizational change, stock market activity, world health
and economic trends, improving analysis and decision-making in every
application they tried.
Celeration Society emerged during the early 1990s to support
this work, and charting practitioners have become more and more visible
in organizations such as ISPI and the International Association for Behavior
Analysis. Many of Lindsley’s protégés became impatient
with resistance to radical improvement and, with Lindsley’s
encouragement, formed private-sector schools, learning centers, and
consulting firms to make their methods available directly to consumers.
Lindsley’s work has received recognition internationally,
including being awarded ISPI’s highest honor, the Thomas F. Gilbert
Award for Professional Achievement in 1998. His
work continues through several generations of his students, and celebrations
of his work are planned at upcoming conferences, including those of
the Standard Celeration Society, the Association for Behavior Analysis,
and the California Association for
Behavior Analysis. Ogden asked that those who wish to honor his
life and work contribute directly to the Standard Celeration Society,
and he appointed a committee (of which I am a member) to oversee management
of his archives and posthumous publication of his work.
unique qualities were a combination of scientific rigor and unwavering
commitment to effecting positive change in the world. We have lost
a creative scientific genius, but his legacy is a powerful set of measurement
and performance improvement tools that have just begun to have their
Dr. Carl Binder is Senior Partner at Binder Riha Associates,
a consulting firm that teaches clients the FluencyBuilding™ training
and coaching technology, Standard Celeration Charting, and Six
Boxes™ Performance Management. His email address
and you can read other articles by him at www.Binder-Riha.com/publications.htm.
See past issues of this column by clicking on the “Back Issues” link
at the bottom of the blue navigation bar to the left.
The Certified Performance Technologist (CPT)
designation is awarded by ISPI to experienced practitioners in the
field of performance improvement
and related fields such as instructional design and organizational development
whose work meets the 10 Standards of Performance Technology and other application
requirements. The deadline for submitting your application to become a CPT must
be received at ISPI by November 15, 2004, or it will be held until the next processing deadline
of June 15, 2005. Visit www.certifiedpt.org for
more information on becoming a CPT and to download the application.
The International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) is seeking an ISPI member who has the flexibility to take on the commitment and responsibilities
of Editor for Performance Improvement (PI).
We’re looking for a member who can demonstrate an extensive knowledge
of human performance technology (HPT), has a professional HPT network,
and possesses an editorial review ability. The Editor will be responsible
for acquiring, reviewing, and selecting manuscripts and will contribute
suggestions and ideas toward the editorial direction. The Editor will
work with authors and potential authors to maintain the highest standard
of editorial content and will work directly with ISPI’s Senior
Director of Publications, who is responsible for all production and distribution.
The Editor reports to the Executive Director, who serves as Publisher
of Performance Improvement. The
position requires a two-year commitment, commencing in April 2005. The
Editor will receive $10,000 a year as compensation for the invested time
PI is published 10 times a year and is distributed to more than 5,000 members,
subscribers, and institutions. For an application and instructions,
or for questions regarding the position or the application process,
please contact April Davis, ISPI Senior Director of Publications, by
phone: 301.587.8570 x112; by fax: 301.587.8573; or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com or
Performance Consulting According to Thiagi. Thiagi doesn’t
have what it takes to be a serious performance consultant.
But, he has created
techniques and templates to make you a playful performance
technologist. For free stuff (and expensive stuff) on interactive
strategies for improving performance, visit www.thiagi.com.
Performance Consulting According to Rummler uses
an extensive case study to illustrate what a serious performance
consulting engagement looks like, and what a serious performance
consultant does. Do you have what it takes to be a SPC?
Performance is a whimsical, entertaining, and solidly
written book that addresses human performance. From beginning
to end, readers are guided toward an understanding of human
performance improvement and how to use it for real organizational
Darryl L. Sink & Associates,
Inc. is offering these workshops for Fall 2004: Designing
Instruction for Web-Based Training, Chicago, November 8-10;
The Instructional Developer Workshop, San Francisco, December
13-15; The Course Developer Workshop: Online Anytime! In-company
workshops now being scheduled for 2005! Visit http://www.dsink.com to register!
Job and Career Resources
Online CareerSite is your source for performance improvement
employment. Search listings and manage your resume and job applications
The International Journal of Coaching
in Organizations (IJCO) is a professional journal, published
quarterly to provide reflection and critical analysis of coaching
in organizations. The journal offers research and experiential
learning from experienced practitioners representing various coaching
schools and methodologies.
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
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 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 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.
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