Mission and Activities
Research Committee’s mission is to support
research within ISPI and the performance improvement field at large.
In the last several
years, the Committee has been responsible for four major initiatives:
1) administering the research grant program, 2) organizing conference
sessions that focus on research, 3) developing a research community,
and 4) advocating for the importance of research.
ISPI was founded in 1962 by a group of researchers
(academic and military) in San Antonio, Texas. Since that time, research
has often distinguished
ISPI as the trade organization that most exemplifies proven ideas and
evidence-based practice. We’re not perfect of course, catching an occasional
whiff of snake-oil sales jockeys, but ISPI members as a whole are especially
committed to practices that work to improve performance. As evidence
of ISPI’s preeminence, in August three of our researchers— Steven
J. Condly, Richard E. Clark, and Harold D. Stolovitch—won ASTD’s
research award for an article they published, “The Effects of Incentives
on Workplace Performance: A Meta-analytic Review of Research Studies,” in
ISPI’s Performance Improvement Quarterly,
Volume 16, Number 3.
Research Grant Program
The Committee is responsible
for administering ISPI’s Research Grant
Program. Each year it puts out a Request for Proposals, reviews
incoming proposals, awards grants, mentors recipients, and monitors
compliance. This is no easy task, and we’ve learned some lessons the
hard way along the road to our own performance improvement. The grantee
completion rate has improved from 0% to 40% to 75% in the last three
years. We’ve learned that we must: 1) select only those proposals
that have a high likelihood of completion, 2) coach grantees to improve
their research methodologies, 3) closely monitor compliance, 4) insist
on interim deadlines, and 5) reward the researchers after they’ve completed
their research. Given this new regimen, the ISPI community will soon
be seeing more fruits from these efforts.
The Committee would like to congratulate the following
2003-2004 Research Grant recipients who completed their research: Heather
and Alyce M. Dickinson for their research entitled, The Effects
of Individual and Group Monetary Incentives on High Performance; and Yonnie Chyung for her research, An
Investigation of Motivation-Hygiene Factors in e-Learning. She presented her results this year at ISPI’s Annual
Conference in Tampa.
The Committee would also like to congratulate the newest
Research Grant recipient for 2004-2005: Douglas A. Johnson and Alyce
for their research proposal, The Effects of Feedback When Added
to Individual Monetary Incentives.
If you’re reading closely, you’ll notice that Alyce is a back-to-back
recipient and is doing great work supporting and coaching her graduate
students in performance improvement research. All research grants are
chosen using a very comprehensive blind review process.
Research-Focused Conference Sessions
ago, the Research Committee sponsored an
Annual Conference session called the Research
Exchange. It attracted
over 100 participants hungry for research-based sessions at the conference.
Last year the committee hosted another Research Exchange and added
a second session designed to help practitioners develop more “consumer
literacy” about how to use research. The Research Exchange was a success,
but the second session was sparsely attended, partially because it
competed with at least two renowned speakers and partially because
we labeled the session with the uninspiring title, Research Roundtables.
The lesson we drew from that experience was that while there is a passionate
cadre of individuals who will flock to research-based discussions,
many ISPI conference-goers may live in fear of the r-word.
At next year’s conference in Vancouver, the Committee
will once again sponsor a Research Exchange focused on new research
results and will
also sponsor a session entitled, Snake Oil or Results? How You Can
Improve, Validate (or Justify) Your HPT Practices.
Developing a Research Community
Two years ago,
as Committee members brainstormed activities for our annual Committee
work, we found there was a lack
of communication between
ISPI members who were interested in research and research-based practice.
So, we set out to alleviate this gap with two doable initiatives. First,
we developed a “Research Community” mailing list and sent occasional
emails regarding conference sessions, research activities,
and so on. Our second initiative was the construction of an ISPI Research
Community bulletin board, where ISPI members could post messages on
topics related to research. Except for a few phone calls and some topic
selections, we had very little work to do on this and are indebted
to ISPI webmaster Craig Grimm for including us in the ISPI-wide discussion
While these community-building initiatives have only
had a moderate effect on the quality and amount of research-related
Committee is hopeful that the nascent ISPI-wide Professional Community
initiative, with the Science and Research Community led by Research-Committee-Veteran-Extraordinaire
Mary Norris Thomas, will bear fruit in bringing together those interested
in the scientific foundations of ISPI.
Advocating for Research
You may have seen Research
Committee members arrested by police at this year’s Annual Conference
for demonstrating and standing up for the importance of research and
research-based practice. You, too, may
be delusional. Most of what our Committee members do to advocate for
research is to have conversations with ISPI members and opinion leaders.
We’d like to invite all ISPI members to chat with us. The best way
to get started is to join the Research Committee’s mailing list by
subscribing at: www.work-learning.com/ispi_research_mailing.htm.
Future of the Research Committee
The ISPI Board of Directors asked the Committee to think innovatively
about its activities and specifically to look beyond its current tasks
to future opportunities. Board members Marilyn Spatz and Jim Pershing
have been particularly helpful. The key goal is to continue the momentum
around research-based performance improvement, to continue to increase
the visibility of research within ISPI, and to ensure that ISPI maintains
its image as an organization dedicated to the use and design of proven
Although I am the current chair of the Research Committee, I am blessed
to be a member of a brilliant, hard-working team, including Chris Ryan,
Ingrid Guerra, Jo Gallagher, Marcey Uday-Riley, Marilyn Spatz (Board
Liaison), Mary Norris Thomas (Past Chair), Rich Pearlstein (Former
Chair), Ryan Watkins, Steve Condly, and Steve Villachica (Chair Elect).
||Research has often distinguished
ISPI as the trade organization that most exemplifies proven ideas
and evidence-based practice.
Happy Holidays from
you in the New Year!
Carol Haig, CPT and Roger Addison, CPT
- Measure what matters to your organization. Bank
of America Corp. uses three techniques that are complementary in measurement
system alignment: Hoshin planning and Kanri are beneficial in aligning
functional areas of the organization with corporate-level goals; and
Six Sigma focuses on improving the underlying processes, resulting
in measures that are aligned by process.
- Embed your measurement systems into
daily operations. Crown Castle International Corp. has implemented a knowledge management
process in conjunction with the balanced scorecard to allow employees
to share not only the quantitative improvements, but also the underlying
knowledge gained by those who have worked to improve the system.
- Reflect the maturity of your business
model within your measurement system. JetBlue Airways Corp. is focused on building a
brand and managing its rapid growth rate. L.L. Bean Inc. is focused
on providing a customer experience second to none while competing in
a mature marketplace.
- Build a flexible measurement system. Saturn
Corporation’s collected data are mined from its host system to its
data warehouse. This flexible system makes it relatively easy and inexpensive
to make quick updates.
- Embrace simplicity in your organizational
measurement system. Best-practice organizations use technology appropriate
to the enterprise and to the task of collecting, analyzing, and reporting
- Manage change while developing your
current measurement system. Crown Castle developed a program called “Crowning
Achievement” to link the scorecard with the company’s compensation
and recognition plans. This has helped increase each unit to maintain
its focus and recognize outstanding performance.
- Use the measurement system as a vehicle
to communicate performance. Saturn developed a system that relied on the ability
of people to pull information to solve problems and overcome challenges,
while giving the company only the information it needed.
- Link system to culture. Crown
Castle used a three-phased, multilevel, multiyear effort to engage
the top levels of leadership and management, as well as management
and front-line employees at the country level.
- Define roles and activities for all
measurement activity. All of the best-practice organizations profiled
in this benchmarking report have assigned responsibility for action
and resources for the measurement system to the process and business
- Act. L.L. Bean uses leading indicators to forecast
an impact on operations. It uses indicators such as order size and
how many units a customer orders to help decide if the work coming
to the fulfillment centers can be easily handled with existing processes
or if automation is required.
Note: Tips are excerpted from Effectively
Managing Performance Measurement Systems, a benchmarking
report published by APQC.
Last month I conducted a PerformanceXpress contest that required people to define performance-based
instructional systems design in exactly eight words. This was a follow-up
to the October contest that required a 16-word definition. We received
several entries from around the world.
After several rounds of reflection, arguments,
and recounts, our international panel of judges selected the following
entry from Mark Galsdies of Wollongong,
Australia as the winning entry. Good on ya, mate! (Note: As always, the
judging panel’s decision is final.)
Taking the ‘don’t know’ to the ‘can do’.
We want to recognize Deb Stone as the contestant with the fastest reaction
time. Her entry beat Mark Galsdies’ entry by just one minute. In
addition, Deb is to be commended for creating her definition in the form
of a haiku:
She demonstrates performance.
Need becomes fulfilled.
Daniel Roberts also submitted a poetic entry:
By the way, here is the slowest entry for the October (16-word) contest.
It was submitted by Paul McGuane (and inspired by Bob Mager):
Where are we going? How will we get there? How
will we know we’ve
Another Chance to Win
how the third round of the contest goes: Define performance-based instructional
systems design in exactly four words.
Notice that the definition
should contain exactly four words. You must not use fewer than four words
or more than four words. (Hint: Eschew obfuscation and pontification.
Go for a slogan, a bumper sticker, a tee-shirt message, or a tag line.)
You can compete in the third round whether or not you competed in the
earlier two rounds.
How to Cheat
At the end of this article are several eight-word definitions
from the second round. Review the ideas and the words and synthesize
your own four-word definition.
December 15, 2004 (Hey, the editor gives me a tight deadline.)
your contest entry to firstname.lastname@example.org.
criteria include accuracy, creativity, and appeal to PX readers.
your name and postal address with your entry.
may send more than one entry (but you can only win once).
decision of the judges is final.
will be announced in the January 2005 issue of PX.
entries will eventually be displayed in PX. (Of course, you will get full credit.)
box of chocolates with a job aid. —Roland Isnor
method of cloning expertise without using DNA. —Dave Bailey
simple decision-making process camouflaged in jargon. —Paul Swan
people’s performance through proven learning-catalyst methodologies. —Esther
needs, Instructional methodologies, Performance improvement, Evaluate
all. —Daniel C. Roberts
tools to maximize performance oriented training results. —Jack Cunningham
to do what needs done for results. —Jack Cunningham
the total system, not just unwary performers. —Ken Finley
interventions designed to fill specific performance gaps. —Alvaro Estrada
to do what needs to be done. —Rob Stevens
to improve the results of performers’ actions. —Vicki Wolfe
see, monkey question, monkey practice, monkey do. —Janis Currie
about know-how, it’s the value of can-do. —Howard Sommerfeld
based instructional systems design produce lasting results! —Jane McClelland
creativity that improves people’s job performance. —Esther Bergman
methodology creating measurable positive employee behavioral differences. —Monica
crafted performance improvement opportunity, with timely feedback. —Laura
it takes to achieve the required performance. —Howard Sommerfeld
As with any long-term fitness program, there will
be periods of progress, plateaus, and slumps. The most successful endeavors
set challenging yet
realistic goals and “stay the course” through those up and down cycles.
Success requires determination, dedication, and discipline. It is the
same with an organization’s financials. As the Treasurers for the Board,
we would like to provide some highlights of ISPI’s current fiscal fitness.
As many of you have experienced personally, these past few years have
been economically precarious. Many of us have witnessed severe repercussions
from the global economic situation in our own businesses and organizations.
Many professional organizations have suffered serious financial setbacks,
membership reductions, and service restrictions. Indeed, some organizations
have not weathered well.
ISPI endured these same economic trends and challenges.
The Board adapted strategy, instituted myriad cost containments, and
drew upon the Society’s
reserves. As a result, ISPI was able to preserve services to members
and create new income streams during the economic lows.
During our last Board meeting, we conducted a comprehensive
review of the Society’s financial performance. We are most pleased
and proud to report that our financial health is gaining strength and
moving in positive
The 2003/04 year proved to be a financially successful
one. The Society realized an overall 30% plus increase over
fiscal year. The increased income was realized in four main areas:
To fully appreciate the contributions and hard work
that have made these results possible, we need to describe the accomplishments
in each of
these areas. It is important to maintain a “systems view” with our financial
picture. There are numerous interrelated factors that contribute to ISPI’s
overall financial status.
ISPI’s increase in membership counters the downward trends in other
organizations. This is a testament to the staff’s consistent recruitment
of past, current, and new members. Other ISPI initiatives, such as
certification and Institutes, also contributed to the gain in this
The total number of CPTs is close to 1000! Keep in mind
that this initial momentum will not be sustained. The end of
phase will affect income generation; however, we do expect re-certifications
to be steady income for the continued support of this program.
The Board recently approved the addition of a full-time staff member
to support our Certification program. Although this will increase expenses,
we believe it is a vital investment to secure the vitality of our CPT
Understandably, this area can be dramatically affected by forces beyond
our control. (Remember 2001?) A healthy increase in this area signals
a growing confidence in the rejuvenation of conference participation.
Given the number of 2004 conference proposals submitted, we are optimistic
In-house Performance Improvement Institutes
has been a banner year for customized in-house HPT Institutes. The
dramatic increase in this area is a testament to
the hard work and
stellar reputation of ISPI’s staff and Institute faculty. The recognition
of the value-added ROI of these customized programs continues to grow.
We expect increased interest for future programs from member and non-member
organizations. These targeted Institutes are proving to be strategic
avenues for increasing the general awareness of ISPI and the credibility
We remain cautiously optimistic
about ISPI’s fiscal future. These positive
gains are results of the critical decisions of past and current Board
members, the incredible dedication of ISPI’s staff, and the determination
and business savvy of our Executive Director.
We will present detailed financial data at the general
business meeting during the upcoming Annual Conference. At that time,
we will review balance
sheets, historical trends, and budget allocations for current and future
programs. We invite your participation and encourage your continued interest
in our Society’s finances.
The Nominating Committee has announced the slate of candidates
for the upcoming 2005-2007 Board of Directors election. This year the membership
will elect a President-elect and two Directors. They will join the President,
three continuing Board members, and the non-voting Executive Director who
make up the eight-member Board.
The slate was developed by the Nominating
Committee, which received nominations from the membership and determined
the willingness of those nominated to run. All the candidates meet
the qualifications and criteria of the positions. For further information
on the qualifications and criteria, click here.
In mid-December, members can view the Candidate Statement from each
nominee on the ISPI website.
As a reminder, ISPI will hold
its annual Board election electronically, and active members will vote
to the Board online. Since your link to the “voting booth” will be
sent via email 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.
The candidates for the 2005-2007 Board
of Directors, listed in random order, are:
Elizabeth Carey, EdD, CPT
M. Desautels, CPT
Matthew T. Peters, CPT
R. Amarant, CPT
L. Bodine, PhD, CPT
What is the best method for creating a performance improvement
organization within a company? This question often arises at conferences
during phone calls, and chats with performance consulting colleagues.
Fifteen ISPI Advocate members recently met and discussed this topic.
Below is a summary of that dialogue, drawn from their combined experiences.
For anyone considering the development of a performance improvement
team, these considerations may help to more rapidly develop a framework
1. Why form a performance improvement organization?
The Advocates identified two primary purposes for an internal performance
2. What are our potential measures of success?
we delivering results? (short-term)
we in demand by internal clients? (mid-term)
we have repeat clients? (mid-term)
we a place where people want to work? (mid-term)
we expected at critical meetings and in critical decisions? (mid-term)
we a part of the company’s DNA? (long-term)
3. How can we gain and maintain support?
a clear charter. When something
is “new”, others want to know what it does (focus), how it affects
them (scope), and whether it is supported by senior leadership (license).
These three issues can be rolled into a single requirement—a charter.
Your charter is supportable if the focus is crystal clear, the scope
is reasonable, and management provides public, visible support via
words, actions, and resources.
a broad and clearly identifiable network. Consider four elements of your network. The first
is a network of sponsors. These
must be known, recognizable, and influential. Having
this network will lead to an early ability to exercise
role—but it will
not lead to success. That is where results take over.
is a network of critical stakeholders in
related departments. It is often
these people who must acquiesce or welcome your inquiries and
your expertise, your
lack of bias, and your ability to deliver as promised.
The third, drawn from the first two, is
an internal board of advisors. An advisory board provides advice,
identifies key constraints to success. When using a board,
give them something
to do and ensure they do it. Small things such
as calling another executive or providing access to data will
maintain connection to your team’s mission.
The fourth is a network outside the company. This
group ensures you are linked to scientific developments
and new professional practices.
balanced objectivity. The
role of a performance improvement organization is to help
move the company
upward on the performance/results graph. We must operate
much like a physician who provides diagnoses without bias
for a particular
drug or treatment. The main objective is health. That is
not to say that we ignore internal politics or interactions.
The company’s organizational
realities need to be considered.
4. Reactive or Proactive—How should the PI organization
There are likely three typical models of service provision:
which the organization mainly takes requests for support.
This is the “show me” stage of development and most likely
occurs early in the team’s formation.
which the team has the authority to conduct analyses where they see
tends to occur once the organization is established and offers known
5. Centralized or Decentralized—What structure is best?
This may be the greatest area of debate. Building your team based
on your service approach and the culture of your company will likely
lead to greater acceptance. Other factors requiring consideration are:
need to standardize your methods.
need to prioritize, track, and report on projects across the company.
variations in demand across the company.
From an operational perspective, the Advocates questioned
all assets are singularly owned and distributed—will
be most effective. Instead, a hybrid model seemed
to be the most common experience of the Advocates. This
consists of a core management team; locally distributed
assets; and a centralized, flex-staff that
can be shifted based on need.
Via a core leadership team, the organization ensures commonality of thought, process, tools, and
language. It has the authority to temporarily reassign assets based
on the operational needs of the company. It also tracks and manages
all existing projects from analysis to implementation.
Locally distributed assets are small teams assigned to or owned by the business units and field
organizations. Project requests come from the business
units while oversight is provided by the core team.
A flex-staff fills
operational gaps or offers a “surge” capability when the size, scope, or number
of projects grows beyond what the local teams can handle. Temporary “task
forces” that address critical needs are supported via this team.
It is likely that a performance consulting team
will have responsibilities beyond analysis, such as supporting project
and evaluation. Many companies do not have budgets specifically earmarked
for “performance improvement.” So, you may find yourself in the training
department or, maybe, in the process improvement, marketing, or sales
departments. Whatever the location, grow where you are planted, and
exert influence on other departments that may provide performance improvement
Preliminary 12-point Checklist
||We understand the primary purpose
of our organization and our sponsors concur.
||We have a clear, sponsor-approved, charter.
||We have a solid, dependable, network within
|| We have a solid, dependable, network outside
||Our organizational structure is business and
culturally appropriate and understood by others.
have a common set of tools, processes, and methods.
||We are delivering results.
||We are in demand by internal clients.
||We have repeat clients.
||We are a place where people want to work.
||We are expected at critical meetings and in
||We are part of the company’s DNA.
One size doesn’t fit all, and this is just a start.
Consider the ideas outlined above and use them as they
best fit the nuances of your company.
Where you can build on these, please do, and then share with Rodger.Stotz@maritz.com. By considering
these experiences and the suggestions of others, you’ll likely
increase the speed at which success comes to your team.
Whatever the location,
grow where you are planted, and exert influence on other departments
that may provide performance improvement solutions.
As we conclude the year
2004, we have the opportunity to evaluate our experiences. How
we place value on our successes,
our lessons learned, and our sense of self creates guidelines for our
capacity to evaluate the performance of ourselves and others. There are
many who put the “love” in “evaluation”, so this month we visit a few
sites that may be of value to performance technologists. Our theme is Value URL.
Get ready for some trippendicular HPT.
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
What’s your “e” value?
For a simply designed and extensive list of evaluation resources, visit Digital Resources for Evaluators,
compiled by Catherine A. Callow-Heusser. The site includes a great portal
communities of evaluators, a variety of evaluation
instruments and data sources, and several funding
and employment listings. Some gems uncovered here of HPT interest
include: the Institute of Objective Measurement’s definition of, well, Objective Measurement; a 2001 article
by Kim Sheehan, University of Oregon, on E-mail Survey Response
Rates: A Review; the United Nations Development Program Handbook
on Monitoring and Evaluating for Results;
and a working
paper on adapting U.S. program evaluation standards to African conditions
by the African Evaluation Association. Despite some broken links, this
comprehensive site is a helpful springboard to learning more about evaluation.
Extra credit for listing ISPI, too (under Other Associations
for Researchers and Evaluators)!
What’s your “I” value?
Trying to figure out your own value at work? Some light on this issue
is shed in a recent
article by Loren Gary on The
new ROI: Return on Individuals which
appears on the Working Knowledge site of the Harvard Business School.
this site are other pieces to help explore how we are valued at work,
including an email
interview by Mallory Stark with Russell Muirhead on the justifiably
double-meaning nature of his recent book Just Work, and a list by Herminia Ibarra on Nine
Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career. Other articles
be found here. This site includes a large library of articles on topics
including Finance, Moral
Additional links bring you to current Harvard
Business School Faculty and Research and special reports from Conferences.
And what’s your
Valley you? For a quick translation of your valued text into Valley Girl
hop over to the eLibs
Funkatizer and select “Valley Girl” in the “Translate to:” box. Here’s
what you get for the definition of HPT from the ISPI
“Human Performance Technology (HPT) uses
a wide range of interventions that are drawn from many other disciplines
includin’, fer shure, behavioral psychology, fer shure, instructional
systems design, fer shure, organizational development, man, and human
resources management. As such, oh, baby, it stresses a rigorous analysis
of present and desired levels of performance, fer shure, identifies
thuh causes for thuh performance gap, like, offers a wide range of
with which to improve performance, oh, baby, guides thuh change management
process, fer shure, and evaluates thuh results.”
Other options for “funkatized” text
include Swedish Chef and Smurf. (You can note their disclaimer: “The
Funkatizer is not intended to be racist, sexist, or otherwise demeaning
or discriminatory. It is pure humor in word-play.”) For a definition
of “Valley Girl” you can visit the InThe80s.com Cliques
of Eighties Teens and find definitions of
Valley Girl speak and other terms from U.S. English in the 1980s here,
where we learn that “Trippendicular” is “Something that is totally
amazing.” Sounds like HPT to me.
Best wishes for a safe
and happy holiday season, and we at I-Spy look forward to seeing and “e”-ing
you in the New Year. Fer shure!
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.
HPT practitioners are trained to systematically
analyze performance issues, determine causes, and recommend specific
solutions that lead to measurable improvements in performance, profit,
and employee satisfaction. Unfortunately, many of the best-intended
efforts fail. Why?
Consider this scenario: A globally recognized
organization experienced a highly visible operational failure. An HPT
team was afforded direct access to the COO and key performer groups,
and had sufficient time to conduct a thorough analysis. They identified
14 environmental and eight individual performance deficiencies. Their
recommended solution set was well thought out. The COO agreed with
their findings, but later failed to lead the implementation effort.
The HPT team hadn’t really communicated
with its sponsor. At the outset, the COO had focused on a few topical
symptoms, had rationalized some solutions based on years of personal
experience, and expected the HPT analysis to support those positions.
Meanwhile, the HPT team had assumed the quality of their work would
carry the day. They worked in isolation, rarely shared their findings,
and delivered their comprehensive, well-authored report on time…to
This presumption of sponsorship
is an area of weakness for many in the human performance profession—especially
for new HPT organizations and practitioners. We centrally managed our
initial efforts in some 20+ Navy sites and partnered with Dr. Jim Hill
(a past president of ISPI) to avoid as many pitfalls as possible. It’s
also why ISPI included “Utilizing partnerships and collaborating with
clients” in its Standard of Performance
We learned a lot during our early efforts.
Here are 10 ideas to help performance technologists improve their ability
to gain sponsorship:
- Begin the
effort on Day 1.
define the roles and responsibilities with your sponsor early in the
game. Gain consensus
on the desired outcomes and the potential range of solutions.
- Get verbal
and public commitment from the sponsor. Sponsorship can never be delegated.
committed sponsorship, stakeholders will hesitate to commit, your
recommendations may never be implemented, and long-term change is likely
to fall short.
- Keep your
sponsor engaged. Schedule regular discovery and discussion meetings
to share interim
results. Ensure your sponsor is fully prepared and is your advocate.
- Over communicate.
Update your sponsor at every critical phase. Be sure you get a response.
is deadly. Help your sponsor engage the other stakeholders by drafting
the response you want in an email along with a recommended list
of recipients and their addresses. If sponsors have to work too hard,
they are likely to lose interest.
- Expand your
sponsors and champions during each phase of your analysis. Don’t
leave any potential naysayers on the sidelines.
- Spend time—maybe
a day a week—with sales and marketing professionals. They will teach
a lot about customer/client management—plus, they’ll appreciate the
- Learn the
language of your sponsors. Talking to them in “HPT” is a sure way
to fail. Save the scientific talk for meetings with other HPTers.
- Help new
HPT practitioners learn from your experience. Trying to figure it out
alone own is painful
for the novice and costly for the organization.
- Be aggressive…but smart.
Let the organization know your value.
Try a few of the actions above. You’ll know you are
on the right track when you have to keep your sponsors from implementing
before your work is complete.
Captain Matthew T. Peters,
CPT, is Commanding Officer, U.S. Navy Human Performance Center (HPC).
He has been in the
Navy for 24 years, is a Naval aviator, holds an MBA, and has held several
jobs in the Operations Research field. Captain Peters has been directly
involved with the Navy’s Revolution in Training transformation initiative
since 2000. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This presumption of
sponsorship is an area of weakness for many in the human performance
profession—especially for new HPT organizations and practitioners.
This past semester I taught a
graduate course about performance technology for
20 on-campus students and 24 distance students. One assignment, dubbed PT Makeover,
asked graduate students to choose a past project that would benefit from
some serious PT “magic.” I’m sharing
several of their short papers with you.
Even good projects can profit from a more comprehensive
approach. Below, Jerry Marino describes a branding effort that went well
and finds several ways
that it could have gone even better. Read all about it in Rethinking
a Branding Program. If you would
like to contact me, I may be reached at email@example.com.
What We Did: Rolling Out a Brand Awareness Campaign
early 2003 my client, a national trade association, implemented an
educational brand awareness
program to sales
associates in electronics retail chain stores. They relied on an
outsourced marketing group to visit stores and present the association’s
message to electronics sales associates. My organization (The Marino
was engaged to develop online sales training and information for
use by the
outsourced marketing group with the salespeople. For this project,
we provided online product and technology information and a follow-up
The client wanted to deliver their message and test recall of facts
tied to the branding communication.
Store Visits With a Purpose
The visits by marketing agents ran over
three months. During that period, the agents made over 1,500 store visits,
and spoke with over 4,000 sales associates as well as to over 1,000 store
managers and 5,200 customers. They left sales aids and shelf talkers
(shelf promotional sheets) at the stores. The Marino Group developed
approximately 60 pages of web content and a 10-question quiz. Approximately
associates started the quiz; all but seven completed it.
There was very little analysis done prior
to developing the content, and performance drivers and causes were not
considered. Although there was collaboration between groups, there was
significant white space between the groups charged with organizing, managing,
and implementing the program. We collaborated with the marketing reps
about delivery of the message but did not speak with any prospective
retailers to determine performance gaps. We used our best guess for solutions,
taking direction from the client and their marketing representatives.
The client evaluated the program as a general
success: follow-up surveys and visit reports showed that the store visits
and leave-behind promotional material raised brand awareness and increased
knowledge of the technology. The client was pleased with the response
from store sales associates and the web training, but would have liked
more visits to the website and greater test participation from store
Rethinking Our Approach
This program could have been improved
by a more thorough and purposeful analysis. This would have included
interviews with the client, the
their supervisors, and the marketing representatives visiting the stores.
Questions to analyze performance would have followed the interview schedule used
for a rollout program (Rossett, 1999). In addition, a review of the
have provided more information about what others had experienced for
this type of rollout. What works? What doesn’t? What tends to get
in the way of such efforts?
Client Questions to Clarify Goals
would have been helpful to more clearly define what the client expected
from participants as well as
the drivers associated
with that performance. It also would have helped the client clarify goals
and establish realistic expectations for the project. The client wanted
to motivate sales associates to recommend sales and to instill in them
the value of products certified with their cutting-edge technology. Their
goal was to implant “top of mind” product and technology value recognition
through education and training. This implies a skills and knowledge deficiency.
An initial analysis of the intended audience would have validated this
premise and established specific information to deliver. Did the sales
associates lack knowledge about the products and their superior value?
Our approach assumed that was the driver of their performance. Now, with
performance technology perspectives, many other possibilities present
This type of sales call, with follow-up information
support, is a standard approach for brand awareness and product training.
What we did, the follow-up
and support information delivered via the website, was an innovative
solution providing more information than a representative could cover
in a call. But, I believe, a more extensive analysis may have uncovered
even better ways to deliver the information and motivate sales associates
to visit the client’s website.
When All Else Fails Ask Users…and Review the Literature
retrospect, several appropriate questions could have been asked to improve
the outcome: What are the best ways to encourage
and interaction with the content? Would a motivator such as an online
game or simulation attract the sales force to the site and deliver the
appropriate message? Would interactive tools engage visitors at the site
longer and encourage them to become involved with the content? Would
less “training” information and more performance support and job aids
improve performance or information retention?
A review of the literature and an extensive after-the-fact
Internet search has uncovered other potential solutions. Reflecting
on it now,
I’m keen on the use of incentives. Games or simulations could also be
employed to increase involvement and motivate the audience to repeatedly
visit the website.
Games and Incentives
Incentives have been shown to not only improve job performance but
also to improve results of roll outs and promotions. Stolovitch, Clark,
Condly (2002) showed that incentives greatly increase job performance.
Their study found that incentive systems work best when current performance
is inadequate, when the cause of inadequate performance is motivational,
and when the desired performance can be quantified (how much, how often,
how many). For incentives to improve performance, goals must be challenging
In addition, vendors of incentive programs have shown
that online incentives can support offline programs, like this rollout.
Linkner (2003) states, “Industry
statistics show that adding an online promotion to an offline campaign
increases response rates by as much as 50%.” Mitchell (2003) of Snowfly.com proved
that using Las Vegas-style incentives to reinforce performance objectives
in a call center reduced call handling time and increased
compliance to schedules, and these results were not temporary.
They improved over the year-long period that the solution was implemented
at the call center.
Further research and questions to sales associates (the target audience)
and their supervisors would clarify whether such incentives would be
enticing to this audience, how incentives would be received, if introducing
them would increase web visits, and what type of incentives would be
This process clearly shows that even programs perceived as successful
can be improved through thoughtful planning and analysis. A thorough
literature review and insightful questioning of potential users and sponsor
can produce innovative options for solutions.
Linkner, J. (2003). News Release. ePrize
CEO touts power of online promotions to stretch marketing dollars at
Ad:Tech New York 2003. Retrieved online March 30, 2004, http://www.eprize.net/company/news/pressreleases/20031027.html
Mitchell, B. (2003). White paper: Snowfly
incentives call center improvement.
Retrieved online April 2, 2004, http://www.snowfly.com/Alliance_Data_White_Paper.pdf
Rossett, A. (1999). First things fast:
Strategies for performance analysis. San Francisco: Jossey Bass/Pfeiffer.
Stolovitch, H.D., Clark, R.E., & Condly,
S.J. (2002). Incentives and motivation in the workplace. Retrieved
online April 8, 2004. http://www.hsa-lps.com/Performance_WS_2002.htm.
Jerry Marino is a performance consultant who specializes
in learning, training, and knowledge management. He has more than 30
years of experience in education, training, and publishing, and in his
practice has worked with high-tech, banking, and publishing companies.
Jerry is a graduate student at San Diego State University where he will
earn his Masters Degree in Educational Technology in December 2005. He
may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The impact of Human Performance Technology, our
technology, may be our own best-kept secret. Whether better visibility
into increased opportunity and effectiveness for CPTs is its own debate.
But, maybe sharing our secret can lay a fertile ground upon which
ISPI members can plant the seeds of HPT, grow its influence, and yield
higher accomplishments for themselves and their organizations.
This is the vision of CPT@Work: A place where anyone,
any time, from any place, can go to find
a case study of how a human performance technology (HPT) approach
to improving individual
and organizational performance made a difference.
Every application received for certification provides
us with many illustrations of our technology at work. Illustrations
of successful endeavors that
made a positive impact on the business, in manners that we have seen
possible, repeated in story after story, application for certification
after application. We’d like to highlight these successes for the world
to notice, and then invite CPTs in for further discussion.
From this moment forward, we’ll be asking our CPTs
if they would like to share the stories in their applications publicly.
The goal is to
identify projects done by CPTs that clearly defined the performance
gaps and causes, used appropriate solutions, and achieved measurable
results. Every month in this series, we will place
these case studies for anyone to access and learn about how others
are applying the technology to close performance gaps. We may also
utilize a space on the ISPI website to locate case studies as white
papers of particular interest to specific groups.
We want accessibility to the illustrations to be easy so that decision
makers can see what HPT is about and move forward with action. While
we may say, for example, that HPT can be applied to solve any performance
issue, we want the CEO who asks how it works to witness our technology
in a cross-section of:
- Performance gaps and causes
- Performance interventions
- Impacts on individual and/or organizational performance
Ditto for managers who ask about designing measurements or about use
of consequences. Ditto for how interventions get identified and implemented.
These shared stories will become part of the public repertoire.
They build the ISPI lore. Our membership will share these stories with
and external clients because they illustrate how performance obstacles
are identified, clarified, and rectified. Maybe the CPT who contributed
the story will be phoned for a deeper discussion by a reader working
through a similar complexity.
If you are a CPT and wish to contribute a case study
for consideration, click
open a Word document containing the guidelines for submission. Each
case study submitted should help us understand the:
- Opportunity or performance gap,
- Solution designed to capitalize on the opportunity,
or close the gap,
- Measurement process utilized, and
- Findings that indicated the success of the intervention.
Lastly, woven throughout every case study will
be its alignment with our 10
Standards of Performance Technology and our Code
reflections of how we work.
I hope you agree with my enthusiasm about the potential
to gain visibility for HPT. If you’d like more information about submitting
your case study, email me at email@example.com.
||Brian Desautels, CPT, is a past ISPI
Board Director and Society Treasurer, 2000 ISPI Conference Chair,
of the Seattle chapter of ISPI. He is a former Sr. HR Manager for
Microsoft Corporation and is currently the Managing Partner
of JB2D Performance, a Seattle-based consulting firm
which applies performance technology strategies to human resource
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
Workshops by Darryl L. Sink & Associates,
Inc.: The Instructional Developer Workshop, San Francisco,
December 13-15; The Criterion Referenced Testing Workshop, April 26-27,
2005, Chicago; The Course Developer Workshop: Online Anytime!
Designing Instruction for Web-Based Training and other workshops
being scheduled for 2005! Visit http://www.dsink.com.
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.
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.
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