April 2010

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In this issue:

A Suite Deal!

When Cultural Blindness Hinders Performance Improvement

Ad: Six Boxes


Performance Thinking for the Whole Organization

Ad: 2010 Conference

Measuring Mentoring Results

From the Board

ISPI Bestows Honorary Awards

Don’t Just Survive… THRIVE In Your Job!

THE Performance Improvement Conference 2010

Practicing Masterful PT: Classic Symphony or Modern Jazz

ISPI Announces New Organizational Member

PT Makeovers

ISPI Interactive Timeline and Conference Twitter Chat

Tales from the Field

CPT News

International Training and Translation

Career Center

Performance Marketplace

Join ISPI Now!

Newsletter Submission Guidelines

ISPI Board of Directors

ISPI Advocates

Back Issues






A Suite Deal! Enter ISPI’s Drawing for a Complimentary Room at THE Performance Improvement Conference 2010

In less than a month, April 19-22, THE Performance Improvement Conference 2010 will be in full swing in San Francisco, California.

Register and pay to attend both the conference and a pre-conference workshop (April 18 and 19), the Principles & Practices Institute (April 17-19), or the CPT Certification Workshop (April 18 and 19) before Friday, April 2, and you will be entered into a drawing to receive a complimentary one-bedroom suite at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis during your conference stay (guest is responsible for all incidentals).

If you are registered for the conference, you still have time to add a workshop to your educational experience to be eligible. For those participants already registered for the conference and pre-event programming, you are automatically included in the drawing. The winner will be announced on Monday, April 5. Check out our amazing lineup below, and sign up today. We guarantee it will be a “suite” experience.

April 17-19, 2010

  • Principles & Practices of Performance Improvement

April 18 and 19, 2010

  • SDI Level 1 Facilitator Certification; Tim Scudder
  • Preparing for the CPT; Judy Hale

April 18, 2010

  • Faster, Cheaper, Better: Alternative Approaches to Instructional Design; Sivasailam “Thiagi” Thiagarajan & Tracy Tagliati
  • Motivation & Behavior: Focused Leadership Tools to Achieve Increased Performance; Edward G. Muzio & Steve Overcashier
  • Performance-based Instructional Design: Practical Techniques & Tools that Engage Learners; Gary DePaul

April 19, 2010

  • Designing Scenario-based Multimedia Learning; Ruth Clark
  • Interactive Strategies for Improving Performance; Tracy Tagliati & Sivasailam “Thiagi” Thiagarajan
  • Matrix Management: Key Management Practices for Effective Cross-Functional Cooperation; Bill Daniels
  • The Six Boxes® Approach: An Introduction to Performance Thinking; Carl Binder

If you would like to register, please call the office at 301.587.8570, or send an email to info@ispi.org. Remember, you must pay to attend both a workshop/institute and the full three days of ISPI’s conference to be eligible.

See you in San Francisco!

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When Cultural Blindness Hinders Performance Improvement

by Andrea Edmundson, PhD, CPLP, 2010 Conference Presenter

I often tell companies that they need to recognize their own cultural values when they are developing employees in another country or marketing training courses to learners in different cultures. In general, I get the “yes, that makes sense” response. However, in reality, while we may acknowledge the existence of cultural differences, we do not adapt to them easily. This oversight occurs largely because our own cultural values blind us to the importance of others. Subsequently, companies can alienate their employees, lose existing customers, or destroy new market opportunities before they have even begun.

Here is a recent example from the news of how incongruous values interfere with logic:

In many countries, there is a strident rivalry among cricket teams. Recently, a well-known American company, Kentucky Fried Chicken, ran an advertisement in Australia showing a “white Australian cricket fan subduing boisterous black West Indians fans by sharing his fried chicken.” This was a very clever ad, which successfully garnered attention and humor from Australian cricket fans…and the fans of KFC. However, when some Americans viewed the ad, they were offended because they felt it represented a common derogatory stereotype of U.S. blacks, based on the American history of slavery. In short, while this ad might have been offensive in the U.S., this negative context did not exist in Australia.


How does this example relate to performance improvement? When companies design performance improvement strategies, they are creating cultural artifacts, which are materials or techniques embedded with the values of the designing culture. However, such values can clash with those of learners in other countries. Let’s examine some common performance interventions.

In the United States, we value strong leaders and promote leadership development. However, Americans perceive leadership competencies quite differently than do the Chinese. In the United States, we value leadership traits such as being willing to take risks, being decisive, and having the ability to empower employees. Yet, the Chinese value wisdom and deep insight (wu) and avoiding extremes (zhong yong). In general, the concept of a relationship between leaders and followers has been foreign to the Chinese management environment. In addition, the concept of “developing” a leader is even more foreign! Thus, in multinational environments, each group’s values can cloud its perception of the others. The Chinese typically perceive American leaders as rash and weak (Why do they need the help of subordinates to lead?). In contrast, Americans tend to perceive Chinese leaders as reluctant and indecisive. Imagine how (un)successful a leadership workshop, exported from the United States to China, would be when the U.S. company is promoting risk-taking to “leaders” who are accustomed to avoiding extremes. These differences can be bridged, but only if we can acknowledge the differences in our values and be willing to adapt leadership development to address them.

In the United States, we commonly accept coaching and mentoring as useful performance improvement interventions. However, we would likely encounter resistance in a Malaysian company, where coaching is not only rare, people tend to be adverse to criticism, have high respect for people in authority, and avoid losing face with colleagues. In this environment, we would need to recognize these different values and adapt our approaches accordingly.

E-learning is a common tool for training employees, especially when travel budgets are limited. However, we cannot export a training course to another country or culture and expect to achieve the same results. For example, an e-learning course on ethics (a very culturally influenced—high context—concept), such as bribery and corruption, designed by Americans may be incomprehensible to learners who, in an emerging economy, simply perceive these practices as “relationship building.”

In contrast, Indian programmers would readily accept an American-designed e-learning course on computer programming because the topic is “black and white” (low context), and it is relevant to their mutually shared world of computers (contextualized). However, an online course, in which subordinates regularly approach the CEO of a company in a casual manner, would be incongruous in India where there is a strong respect for hierarchy. While American course designers may not “agree” with this arrangement (we value equality), if we want the course to make sense to our learners, we need to recognize this respect for hierarchy (power distance) in our learners’ worlds. Research shows that people learn best when concepts are presented (a) in their context (cultural, organizational, etc.) and (b) in their native language. Thus, while companies typically elect translation as the ultimate adaptation for e-learning courses, it is more efficient and cost-effective to do it after addressing cultural differences.

The concept of adjusting our values applies to assessment techniques as well. In the United States, if our learners submit certification exams that all have the same answers, we would consider this cheating; however, learners in many Middle Eastern countries would call this collaboration. In fact, if you did not help your peers to succeed, your in-group would shun you. Thus, the Eastern value of communitarianism challenges our Western value of individualism.

These are just a few examples of how cultural blindness can hinder performance improvement. If businesses could at least recognize—and become comfortable with—the values of learners in other countries, they could better develop their workforces and better compete in global markets.

Strategic globalization of performance improvement plans can identify what will or will not work for learners in another culture or country. Cultural analysis of training courses and materials ensures that they align with the cultural preferences and learning styles of your targeted market.

Cultural analysis addresses:

  • Content—for relevance, context (organizational, political, etc.), and language usage
  • Intervention strategies (i.e., instructional design)—for learning styles, culturally preferred activities, and assessments
  • Media—for appropriate video casting, audio, images, icons, and technology (availability and accessibility)

We could almost consider the cultural aspect of performance improvement as an additional element of Wile’s human performance technology (HPT) model (see Figure 1) because, as we have seen, it is definitely internal to the performer. In any event, the key point here is that organizations need to address embedded cultural values to be successful in multinational, multicultural performance improvement.

Figure 1.

Andrea Edmundson will present Translating HPT Using ADDIE for an International Environment at THE Performance Improvement Conference 2010 in San Francisco. In this session, participants will work through the ADDIE process for international audiences.

Andrea Edmundson, PhD, CPLP, is the global learning strategist and CEO of eWorldLearning, Inc. (www.eWorldLearning.com). She is an expert in designing culturally appropriate training courses and materials (online or in classroom) to increase their effectiveness in other cultures and countries. She created the research-based Cultural Adaptation Process (CAP) Model, a unique process that aligns courses to the cultural characteristics and preferences of targeted learners. She also founded the Global eLearning Community, an online membership association for professionals whose work encompasses culture, learning, and technology. She authored the pioneering book Globalized eLearning Cultural Challenges and introduced the concept of Cross-Cultural Learning Objects (XCLOs). Andrea served three terms as president of the American Society for Training and Development - Greater Tucson Chapter. She teaches graduate courses on distance learning and educational technology for several online universities. As the former professional development manager for multinational software companies, she has created distance-learning curricula for learners in a dozen different countries. During her 25-year career in training and development, she has provided training courses—in the classroom and online—in 30+ countries for thousands of learners.

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Performance Improvement Career Checkup

by Carol Haig, CPT, and Roger Addison, CPT, EdD

This month we put Roger Addison on the opposite side of the table, so to speak, as a TrendSpotters guest rather than an interviewer. As our regular readers know, each year at this time we showcase ISPI’s major annual award winners in this space. It is Carol’s great pleasure to begin with Roger Addison, CPT, EdD (rogeraddison@earthlink.net), the 2010 recipient of the Thomas F. Gilbert Distinguished Professional Achievement Award. The Gilbert award recognizes outstanding and significant contributions to the knowledge base of human performance technology (HPT).

Roger is currently president and founder of Addison Consulting, a global firm specializing in worker, work, and workplace alignment. His ISPI credentials include past-President, Honorary Life Member, and Distinguished Service Award recipient. Roger is co-author, with Carol Haig and Lynn Kearny, of Performance Architecture—The Art and Science of Improving Organizations, winner of ISPI’s 2010 Communications Award.

Because Roger is often asked how he got started in the performance improvement field, we thought this would be an opportune time to invite him to respond appropriately for a Gilbert Award winner—with a visual. Roger’s visual of choice is a Mind Map. Readers may be familiar with Mind Mapping, a method of visually capturing and organizing ideas or information that is nonlinear. Some examples of Mind Maps show the variety and level of detail possible with various popular software applications. Roger uses NovaMind and encourages interested readers to research the many programs available for this purpose.

Mapping a Sample Performance Improvement History

Roger got involved with ISPI (then NSPI) when he was 19. His longevity with the Society may explain how his wide-ranging professional network got its start. Among his many talents, Roger excels at connecting with performance improvement colleagues all over the world and helping them to link up with other professionals. Along the way he has drawn on resources he values to add to his skills and knowledge as an active practitioner. These critical links and how he views them are shown in Roger’s Career Mind Map below:

Figure 1. Roger's Career Mind Map

Performance Improvement Career Connections

Roger identified these key connections in his career in performance improvement:

  • Professional associates
  • Mentors
  • Influence
  • Work
  • Clients
  • Professional organizations
  • Education, formal and informal

He emphasizes that this Mind Map is a work-in-progress and apologizes to anyone he has inadvertently omitted. Because a Mind Map reflects an individual’s vision of information, the Mind Map you create for your professional development could be very different from this one.

While Mind Mapping is a valuable tool for capturing information and making it visible, it is not a technique that works for everyone. Regardless of how you organize information pertinent to your own professional development, Roger hopes that seeing how he views his own progress will inspire you to periodically evaluate your career path to see where you have been and how you might get to the next step. He recommends a periodic Performance Improvement Career Checkup.

Performance Improvement Career Checkup

Possible elements to consider as you review your journey will help you create a personal profile along with a description of the route you have followed in your career to date:

  • Foundation: education, work history, mentors
  • Resources: colleagues, bosses, clients, readings
  • Life experiences: travel, challenges, major events
  • Values: what you stand for, passions, causes, your legacy

With your history captured along with the important emotional drivers that propel you, a next step is to look at the immediate and long-term future for your work life and formulate a goal. Some questions to consider:

  • What are possible next career moves for you?
  • How soon do you want to make a change?
  • Will it take you elsewhere in your current organization, to a new employer, out on your own, back to school, somewhere else?
  • What resources, skills, knowledge, connections will help you achieve your next goal?
  • How will you access the resources you have identified and who can help you?

As you consider your personal growth plans and moves, you might also like to look back at the values you identified earlier and give some thought to:

  • Matching your ambitions with one or more causes important to you
  • Ensuring that your next career step has the potential to add to the legacy you want to create
  • Contributing, through your work, to the larger world (Mega) outside the organization
  • Continuing to improve your skills, knowledge, and experience
  • Keeping current with the latest trends in our field

Links to the Performance Technology Landscape

The Performance Improvement Career Checkup supports these principles of performance technology:


Focus on Results—identify your next career goal


Take a System view—examine all aspects of your work history and life experiences


Add Value—determine how your next career move will mesh with your personal values


Establish Partnerships—identify who can help you meet your goal

Application Exercise

Create a visual representation of your career path to date using a hand-drawn Mind Map, mapping software, or other method to capture where you have been. Evaluate the elements most critical in shaping your journey so far, and share the results with a trusted friend or colleague. Then set your next career goal.

Direction for Performance Improvement

From creating a visual of his own professional path, Roger expands his view to our field and its immediate future. He sees the continued integration of the performance improvement technologies and an increase in their impact on society:

  • Human performance technologies that focus on individuals
  • Process performance technologies that focus on processes and procedures
  • Organizational performance technologies that focus on organization development

Find all the models and tools featured in TrendSpotters at www.ispi.org/archives/perfXpress.htm#trendToolkit.

You may reach Carol Haig at carolhaig@earthlink.net or at http://home.mindspring.com/~carolhaig; Roger Addison may be reached at rogeraddison@earthlink.net. Roger blogs at http://rachekup.blogspot.com.

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Performance Thinking for the Whole Organization

by Carl Binder, CPT, PhD, 2010 Conference Workshop Presenter

Who “does” performance improvement in your organization? Is it you or other specialists, working on projects and initiatives? Is it members of a learning and development department, trying to transition from training to performance improvement? Is it process professionals, a group called “Organizational Excellence,” or a network of certified “belts” in Six Sigma or related methodologies? Or maybe it is all of these people, and more. How well are they working together?

How do executives, managers, and team leaders contribute to performance improvement? How does everyone partner and communicate with one another (or not) about performance? Do you think the return on investments made in people is as high as it could be from what we know about human performance?

These questions, and more, have driven my colleagues and me for over 30 years in efforts to bring the results of research-based performance improvement into organizations. It is our goal to take what we know about performance to everyone in organizations, at all levels and in all functions. We think that the vision of a performance-based organization, with a culture focused on understanding and continuously improving results through people working together, is both compelling and achievable. But there are many obstacles.

Models, Methods, Jargon, and Silos

Just about everyone has his or her own methods and jargon, often held tightly to his or her heart. Our own field of human performance technology (HPT) is filled with numerous and overlapping models, which, according to many who attend my workshops, can be confusing and overwhelming. Add to that the language of Six Sigma, human resource management, instructional design, motivational theory, and the countless flavors-of-the-month that pop up in bookstores and business publications, and you have quite a mishmash. I call it a Tower of Babble.

Diversity and complexity in concepts, models, and language can lead to silos and turf battles, resistance to adoption, and falling back on knee-jerk “favorite” solutions. Have you encountered adherents to process improvement methodologies or management models whose enthusiasm for their approach seems to exclude others? Have you figured out how to keep business stakeholders from asking for training as the default response to performance problems; or how to prevent managers from writing off poor performers as having “bad attitudes”? When you ask to conduct a needs analysis, are you warned of “analysis paralysis” by executives who have been burned by big reports with small results? How can we bridge these gaps, overcome these obstacles, and get everyone working together to improve performance?

Performance Thinking: Plain Language, Simple Models, Shared Logic

We think we have found a solution in what we call “performance thinking” based on The Six Boxes® Approach, a combination of elements that everyone, independent of his or her particular discipline or role, can use to improve performance. It has evolved from our plain English framework known as The Six Boxes® Model, derived from Thomas F. Gilbert’s Behavior Engineering Model, but improved because of its user-tested ease of communication. The approach has expanded with additional elements which, like The Six Boxes® Model, are aimed at rapid, easy communication in plain language for people of all backgrounds, and applications at all levels and in all functions.

While there are many models and concepts in our ever-evolving field, I have always thought that the distinguishing elements of HPT were ones I learned from Gilbert:

  • A focus on valuable work outputs (what Gilbert called accomplishments), the missing link between the behavior of people and the business results they seek to achieve, depicted in what we call the Performance Chain
  • A comprehensive model of behavior influence, that includes all factors that influence behavior as part of a system
  • A performance improvement logic that analyzes (or deconstructs) performance into its constituent parts and then optimizes it to maximize results by balancing and tuning the system

It is the combination of these elements, not any one alone, that composes my understanding of HPT. And it is these elements that we have been teaching to HR and HRD professionals, performance and process improvement specialists, executives, managers, team leaders, and many others in organizations as part of our new venture, The Performance Thinking Network.

Many Users and Applications: All Levels and All Functions

We are finding that anyone can rapidly learn these elements and begin to apply them, formally or informally, in day-to-day practice and in large projects, often working together across silos and turf boundaries.

In just the last few weeks I have listened to an executive VP describe this approach as “impactful, especially for our business leaders,” after a one-day Introduction to Performance Thinking for line and HR managers; worked with a group of OD specialists, training professionals, line managers, and Six Sigma belts to improve performance in a call center sharing the vocabulary of this approach; and coached VPs and directors in a high-tech company using the Performance Chain and The Six Boxes® Model to create development plans for their direct reports. I have heard from a performance consultant alumnus of our programs who says that with this approach he “could have those conversations with people at all levels in our organization and make much faster progress.”

In short, we think we are onto something, and every day the evidence is mounting that we can enable people at all levels and in all functions to share the powerful concepts and tools that we as HPT professionals have known for years—and to partner with others to accelerate the return on investments that organizations make in their people.

If you would like an introduction to this approach, please attend my one-day pre-conference workshop, The Six Boxes® Approach: An Introduction to Performance Thinking on Monday, April 19, at The Performance Improvement Conference in San Francisco. It is a rare public presentation of the workshop, open to conference attendees as well as those wishing to attend the workshop a la carte. We are excited about launching The Performance Thinking Network, and want to invite you to be a part of taking HPT to a much wider and deeper audience in your organization and around the globe.

Carl Binder, CPT, PhD, has been working to improve productivity and profitability per employee, and to maximize employee engagement in organizations in the United States and around the world for nearly 40 years. He has been an active participant in ISPI, frequent contributor to its publications, and was awarded ISPI’s highest accolade, Honorary Life Member, in 2009. Contact him at carlbinder@sixboxes.com and read his blog at http://sixboxes.typepad.com.

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Measuring Mentoring Results

by Margo Murray, CPT, MBA, President & COO, MMHA The Managers’ Mentors Inc.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010–1:00 pm EDT | Register Online

Many mentoring processes seem to have skipped two critical success factors—readiness assessment and evaluation. Margo will provide a chart of the critical success factors for an effective mentoring process. The discussion will focus on strategies for determining readiness of an organization to implement a mentoring process and designing the evaluation plan.

Participants will have the strategies to:

  • Link a mentoring process to organization vision, mission, goals
  • Create goals for a value adding mentoring process
  • Create evaluation plans
  • Gather data for baseline and post-intervention evaluation
  • Select evaluation indicators, and monitor and track results


Applying the strategies described, and using the worksheets provided, will save time and struggle for those designing a mentoring process, or those wishing to scale up a languishing process.

About the Presenter

Margo Murray, CPT, MBA, has earned two of ISPI’s highest honors—Honorary Life Member and the Distinguished Service Award; is a past-President of ISPI; and serves as mentor to many of ISPI’s leaders. The preeminent researcher, designer, and evaluator of facilitated mentoring, she has collaborated with clients on strategic planning and mentoring processes in over 100 organizations in 26 countries. Her best-seller book, Beyond the Myths and Magic of Mentoring: How to Facilitate an Effective Mentoring Process, is considered the seminal work on facilitated mentoring. Margo has been an invited speaker at many international, regional, and national events, including the United Nations Secretariat, and is on the faculty for the ISPI Institutes.

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From the Board
What I Know

by Miki Lane, 2009-2010 ISPI President-elect

Recently, I was walking with my nephew, Michael, and his dog, Watson, an appropriately named English springer spaniel, when my nephew asked me a question that threw me for a second. He asked, “So, Miki, what do you know?”

At first I did not think much of the question, and responded with a quizzical,
“what do you mean?” look. He then said that he was finishing up his last years at university and would like to know if I could tell him anything of value that I have learned over the years.

I flashed on two things. One was holding Michael as an infant and whispering in his ear that I would be there for him; and two, what Polonius said to Laertes in Hamlet. I doubted that the “don’t borrow or lend money speech,” while good advice, was what he was asking for. So I thought, what have I learned that a Gen Yer, just beginning his adult life, would find valuable?

Telling him to have a good work ethic, live by the Golden Rule, and respect the 10 Commandments did not seem to be the right approach, given that many of the most successful people of his and the previous generation did not seem to live by those codes of behavior.

So what do I know?

I know that family and friends are critical, but at this point in his life, he also knows that, albeit more intellectually than at a gut level.

I know that I should not live beyond my means, but that is a lesson that cannot be verbally imbued, it must be learned… for some, the hard way.

So what do I know?

OK, I know that in all that we do, we should work to make this world a better place for the next generations. I do not just mean using less energy and recycling, but actively ensuring that we are not only sustainable, but actively working to improve the planet. Where and how did I learn that? In my work life, I learned that from Roger Kaufman. His work on looking at and moving clients to move to societal levels has made me focus on that not only for my clients, but my own life as well.

I also know that if I do not have clear, specific objectives or goals before I act, I may not achieve the end results I desire. Who did I learn that from? Tom Gilbert, Joe Harless, and Bob Mager all come to mind.

I know that if I do not get to the root or cause of a problem, I will be wasting time and money trying to fix things that may not be broken or end up putting a bandage on a wound that should have stitches. I learned that from the same guys mentioned above along with others like Stolovitch, Tosti, Addison, and others.

I know that if I do not attack problems systematically, I will most likely miss something and not be able to provide others with the rationale for my actions. Again Stolovitch, Sink, and others have impressed upon me the importance of a systematic, reproducible approach to getting results.

I know that if I do not evaluate what I have done, I am not going be able to show what I did to change the status quo and I am destined, like history, to repeat all the errors I have made in the past. Judy Hale has provided me with the skills to evaluate almost anything.

I also know that I am not smart enough to know how to do everything on my own. I need mentors and coaches to fully realize my potential and reach my goals. Margo Murray helped me understand the critical importance of both getting help and helping others.

So it seems everything that I know, that I feel is important, that I would want to pass on to Michael, I did not learn in kindergarten, but in ISPI.

It seems strange that in this day of wondering if professional societies are relevant and whether or not they add value, most of my professional development has come from my association with members of the Society. I think of all the new members of our Society, the Cmerging Talent Committee, and wonder if they will have the same access to knowledge and skills that my mentors so freely gave. My fervent hope is that they will and, as incoming president, I would like this freedom of information and ideas carried on to all members of ISPI. To ensure this, I will, in my tenure, focus on what got us here and what will continue to grow our discipline.

Research is at the heart of our field. It is what distinguishes us from other ISPI-like organizations. We will support and celebrate research in our field. It will be highlighted at next year’s conference in Orlando, we are hoping with a full-day symposium.

Existing data and knowledge are also critical to our members. We are currently working on a knowledge management system that will provide members with clear access to all published ISPI materials in a searchable format.

We are also making new efforts to work more closely with ISPI chapters. You will see in the next few months a considered, coherent, and win-win plan to align chapter and international membership.

You will see new initiatives relating to the CPT certification process. We are moving to make it a “brand workhorse” for the Society. We are working with a number of corporations and institutions to expand the reach of the CPT designation.

I also hope that new and current members will have the same benefits that I had in being mentored. So watch this space. Every month there will be a new “What I Know” article by the leaders in our field.

I also feel that communication with the membership is critical. Continuing the great work by past-President Darlene Van Tiem in that regard, there will be periodical updates to the membership about what is happening in the Society. I would also welcome your continual feedback on how we are doing and if we can provide help in any way. After all, the mission of ISPI is to further the development of both the field and its members. Let us know how we can help.

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ISPI Bestows Honorary Awards on
Three Longtime Members

The International Society for Performance Improvement
(ISPI) has three special honorary awards that recognize outstanding individuals for their significant contributions to human performance technology (HPT) and to the Society itself. Those awards are the Honorary Life Member Award, Thomas F. Gilbert Distinguished Professional Achievement Award, and the Distinguished Service Award. ISPI is pleased to announce this year’s recipients: Guy Wallace, Roger Addison, and Mark Laurin. The awards will be bestowed at THE Performance Improvement Conference 2010, April 19-22.

Honorary Life Member

ISPI’s Honorary Life Member Award honors one of our colleagues for the totality of his or her contributions to both ISPI and the field of HPT over the course of his or her career to date. This award is not necessarily awarded every year, as it requires the unanimous agreement of two consecutive ISPI Boards.

ISPI is happy to announce that this year we have selected Guy Wallace, CPT, as our newest Honorary Life Member. In over 30 years in the performance improvement profession, Guy’s important work has taken him throughout North America and Europe. Guy’s specialty is the rapid analysis and design of large-scale Curriculum Architecture Designs (CADs) for mission critical enterprise processes and the people charged with doing that work. Since 1982 he has completed 74 of these projects to improve the performance of research scientists, call center staff, oil pipeline workers, program and project managers, brand managers and sales managers, and top “C” level executives. In addition to his client work, Guy is the author of five books, more than 90 articles, and even a performance improvement-themed comic strip “Lessons in Making Lemonade.”

Now in his fourth decade of affiliation with ISPI, Guy has served in several critical roles for the Society and left an indelible and personal imprint on each one. Guy’s ISPI leadership spans involvement at the chapter level to conference presenter, author, board member, and President, an office he held from 2003 to 2004. Upon completing his tenure as President, Guy did not quietly fade into the sunset; instead he has continued to push the Society to better leverage technology, embrace web 2.0, and to record our history. He has served as ISPI’s de facto historian through video interviews with the Society’s original thought leaders. These short videos not only honor our roots, but also promote our future.

Guy Wallace is the embodiment of what is possible when you combine a great idea and a bias for action. ISPI is proud to bestow the title of Honorary Life Member to Guy Wallace, CPT.

Thomas F. Gilbert Distinguished Professional Achievement Award

Named after a foundational contributor to the field of human performance technology, this award recognizes those who have made outstanding contributions to the knowledge and practice of HPT. This year the award is presented to Roger M. Addison, CPT, EdD.

Roger is an internationally respected practitioner of HPT and performance consulting and principle of Addison Consulting. Roger is a past President of ISPI and received ISPI’s highest award, Member for Life. As an international delegate, Roger has presented and worked in North America, South America, Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Roger is a past president of the International Federation of Training and Development Organisations (IFTDO).

Roger was vice president and manager at Wells Fargo. His responsibilities included executive coaching and education, change management, and partnering with line managers to improve performance. He consults with Fortune 500 organizations to help them align their business requirements with bottom-line results. Roger has successfully implemented performance improvement initiatives in a number of organizations. Roger is certified in performance technology.

Roger is a frequent speaker at ISPI, IFTDO, and the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD). Topics include performance technology, performance architecture, reengineering, information design, mentoring, consulting, project management, and communication networks.

Roger’s latest contribution to the field is the award-winning Performance Architecture: The Art and Science of Improving Organizations, a book he co-authored with Carlo Haig and Lynn Kearney. Reviews for the book have been exceptional as this excerpt from Paul Harmon’s review shows:

“Too many business practitioners focus at the process level, imagining that once they have redesigned a process, managers and employees will immediately embrace the new workflow. Or the redesign team is located in IT and focuses on redesigning and implementing a new software system, assuming that employees will happily embrace the new system without any effort on the part of the IT team. Both these assumptions lead to frequent business process failures. People matter! Managers and employees are the heart of any process and they are the ones who make the new process succeed or fail.

Process practitioners, no matter what their background, need to think more about the people in the process, to redesign their jobs and their training systems and their incentive systems and to assure that they understand why a given process is being changed.”

Roger Addison has provided the Society and its members with continual scholarly insights and understandings as these, and the Society is proud to award him this year’s Thomas F. Gilbert Distinguished Professional Achievement Award.

Distinguished Service Award

This award, determined by a vote of the ISPI Board of Directors, recognizes long-term, outstanding, and significant contributions to the betterment of ISPI. This year’s award goes to Mark Laurin, MA.

When Mark Laurin became the chair of the Chapter Partnership Committee (CPC) in the summer of 2008, the “to-do” list was long. The Chapter Leaders’ Workshop (CLW) was rapidly approaching, the CPC needed to be recruited, a chapter service plan created. In addition, the Chapter Affiliation Agreement (CAA), the service level agreement between the Society and its chapters, a cornerstone of the One Society—chapter/Society integration effort, was only in draft form.

Mark worked hard to socialize the ideas and concepts in the CAA. The CPC’s “Reach Out Sessions,” a regular conference call for all chapter leaders, proved to be an ideal forum to engage chapter leaders. A pilot effort during the fall and winter of 2008 provided insights to roll out at the CLW.

Mark constantly reminded all involved that they were working to improve chapter success and support the mission of the Society. Mark regularly engaged chapter presidents and leaders in one-on-one coaching, serving both as friend, a supportive shoulder to cry on, and a one-man cheering section when needed.

Mark has built up the CPC, developing an enormously skilled and dedicated committee complicated by the economic circumstance, and is working to ensure that the transition supports the work already done and builds on it as we build a sustainable business model for the One Society initiative in the future.

Mark has over 25 years’ experience in organizational learning and training and development as an instructional designer, trainer, facilitator, organizational development consultant, and performance analyst. He currently is a program manager for GeoLearning.

Mark is twice past-president of the ISPI’s Front Range Chapter in Colorado. He is a current faculty member for the University of Denver’s University College and was previously with the University of Phoenix, Webster University, and Buckinghamshire College, England. Mark has an undergraduate degree from Ripon College in speech communications and philosophy and a graduate degree in speech communications from the University of Denver.

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Don’t Just Survive… THRIVE In Your Job!

by Marshall Brown, Marshall Brown & Associates

There is no quick fix to finding fulfilling work—you know, the kind of work that gets you out of bed in the morning before the alarm clock rings. Some people give up on the pursuit of job satisfaction altogether, buying into the belief that work is a means to end, a necessary evil, something you have to do to pay the bills.

Others believe that job satisfaction is linked to finding a new job. They believe their lack of fulfillment is rooted in the job itself or in the organization they are working for. They stay at one job until the honeymoon is over, and then they move on to another.

But moving on is becoming increasingly difficult. Our economy is in a major slump, and new jobs are hard to come by. Not to mention that moving from job to job is an exhausting endeavor in itself… especially when you never really find what you are looking for.

Forget the economy, forget everything you have been told about job satisfaction, and focus on these two facts:

  • You do not have to accept the slump you are in.
  • It is possible for you to find satisfaction… in the job you have right now.

There are no quick fixes. You will have to take responsibility for your own situation, and you will have to make a serious commitment to your job and career growth. But your efforts will be rewarded.

Try these 10 strategies to improve your situation in your current job now:

  • Get in touch with your passions. Your passions never really go away. While they may be a little rusty, the things that feed your soul and stir your heart are still within you.
  • Engage. The cure for exhaustion is not rest. It is involvement. When you are truly absorbed in something, you feel energized. The connections you feel from participation create the drive you need to perform your absolute best.
  • Manage your supervisor. Be one step ahead. Always have a good strategy in place to address resistance from your supervisor. Build a mutually beneficial relationship.
  • Challenge yourself. Do not wait for your employer to engage your interests, skills, and education. What skills and experience do you need for your dream job, and how could you improve them? Take a class; ask someone to mentor you; or educate yourself through books, CDs, podcasts, and seminars.
  • Tweak your job to your natural preferences. Understand how your natural preferences match up with the structure of your job. Identifying what is working for you, as well as what is not working for you, will allow you to move toward making changes in your job’s structure that better suit you.
  • Clarify job requirements. One of the keys to feeling good about your job is knowing what is expected of you. Request clear expectations, advocate for needed education and training, and ask for frequent reviews.
  • Connect with people. When you think about it, much of the reason why we do our jobs is to serve other people. Understanding how you affect the lives of people around you—both inside and outside the workplace—can increase your satisfaction.
  • Invest in improvement. By allocating a specific amount of time toward education and self-improvement, you can significantly increase your specific job skills, as well as knowledge about the industry in which you work. As you gain the education and knowledge necessary to excel in your job, your fulfillment and enjoyment will increase.
  • Make time for life beyond work. Paying attention to both your work life and your home life is integral to increasing job satisfaction. If you find that you are working more and playing less, chances are you will also notice your enthusiasm and motivation—and eventually your performance—decrease.
  • Choose your mood. Reframing a “bad” situation—finding the silver lining in something negative—can completely change your outlook and increase your satisfaction at work.

Here’s wishing you much thriving!!

Marshall Brown will be presenting at THE Performance Improvement Conference 2010. He will be presenting workshopsCreating Powerful Resumes, Developing a Successful Network, and The Realities of a Successful Job Search. In addition, Marshall will be providing one-on-one coaching sessions. For additional information about these services, contact Robin Stimson at robins@ispi.org.

Marshall Brown, a certified career coach, executive coach, and personal brand strategist has always had a passion for helping people find ways to live more fulfilling lives. As a coach, Marshall helps individuals to find their passions and encourages them to move ahead in reaching their goals. Marshall may be reached at marshall@mbrownassociates.com, 202.518.5811, or visit www.mbrownassociates.com.

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THE Performance Improvement Conference 2010

The 2010 Conference Committee had a directive from the ISPI Board to bring some new ideas to the conference and the committee has worked hard to incorporate some exciting, innovative additions. We are looking forward to showcasing the World Café (www.theworldcafe.com), Chat ’n Chew (two 20-minute roundtable presentations with 30 lunchtime topics to select from), and our new virtual connections features. And we will still have the successful features from previous conferences including the Case Study Competition for university students, the Executive Roundtable, the Bagel Barrel, and Speed Mentoring session.

We are very fortunate to have keynote speakers Marshall Goldsmith, Diana Whitney, and Deb Page; and Masters’ Series speakers Irada Sadykhova, John Baldoni, Curtis Bonk, Rear Admiral Timothy Sullivan, Thiagi, and an Executives Panel with Aaron Carmack, Stephen Cooper, Kay Monore-Townsend, David Stanasolovich, and Margi Tatro. The primary focus of the conference is the peer-selected educational sessions in the tracks:

  • Analysis
  • Instructional Intervention
  • Measurement and Evaluation
  • Organizational Design Intervention
  • Process or Tool Intervention
  • Research to Practice
  • The Business of HPT

No conference would be complete without the opportunity to network with industry peers and experts.

Virtual Connections

For the past three years the Connections Corner of the conference has been a meeting place for those looking to meet and greet their peers both virtually and face-to-face. Two years ago, ISPI launched HPT Connections, which serves as an online community for ISPI members and guests interested in performance improvement. This year, we plan to make the virtual connections to the conference more robust by offering new, key features, such as the 2010 Conference group within HPT Connections, Social Networking Dinners, direct updates to Facebook™, and Tweets & Trends.

  • The 2010 Conference group page offers a social network group within the HPT Connections site. This group page enables conference participants to ask questions of the presenters prior to the event. Information can also be passed through this site between presenters and the Conference Committee. It can be used as a repository to post conference materials to the site, prior to travel, to enable our international attendees greater access to those materials. Lastly, it serves as a threaded discussion tool to promote more robust discussions on the presenter’s topic, prior to, during, and after the conference.
  • Dinner sign-up sheets will be made available before and during the conference for those interested in “putting a name to the face of your virtual colleagues.” We will be seeking volunteers to coordinate these dinners.
  • HPT Connections now includes a feature that enables users to post their HPT Connections content directly to their Facebook profile. For those participants who connect on multiple sites, this is a wonderful way to stay connected, without duplicating effort.
  • The Connections Corner will still be offering old favorites, such as real-time conference pictures, shout-outs, and volunteer and virtual information. However, this year we will be incorporating two new technologies to the Connections Corner. The Tweets & Trends features will follow the tweets as they are uploaded to the Twitter site, and key conference trends will be updated real-time for the attendees and “ISPI Twitter-bugs” to follow along. There will also be opportunities to view the HPT Legacy Series and other videos at the Connections Corner

World Cafés

Are you getting ready to set up your conference session schedule for San Francisco? Be sure to include one of our three new World Cafés (engaging, powerful conversations designed to consense on what is important to improve human performance and to our international society).

Tuesday, 4:00–5:30 pm, help us brainstorm

  1. ISPI in 50 Years—The Dream;
  2. Growing to 10,000 Members; and
  3. Every Member in a Chapter, Every Chapter Full of Members.

Wednesday, 10:30 am–12:00 pm, we’ll discuss

  1. Mainstreeting of Performance Improvement;
  2. Think Mega: 6.9 Billion People to Improve—First Steps Might Be…; and
  3. Building It—ONE Improvement (or PI) I Can Take (My Responsibility).

Thursday, 10:30 am–12:00pm , conversations will center around

  1. Using Performance Improvement to Save the World;
  2. Why, Why, Why Are We Members of ISPI? Who Else Should Be?; and
  3. ISPI’s Gifts—People, Partnerships, Processes.  

All World Café conversations will be held in the Yerba Buena Salon 8. Plan to attend at least one Café to speak out and be heard and also to see first-hand what this well-known conversational proces is all about!

2010 University Case Study Competition

Merely listening to solutions does not always help learners understand how to apply a methodology. The ISPI HPT University Case Study Competition provides a valuable opportunity for participants to apply and receive expert feedback on that methodology application.

In this year’s competition, five American universities are competing to identify the best solutions for our fictitious company: specialty food retailer Magic Sticks. The company engaged each team to make recommendations to ensure a successful new product rollout.

“Perhaps my favorite part of the competition so far has been the live interviews. They added a level of realism that left me with a sense of what it would be like if I was performing the functions of an HPI consultant in the field.”

The top three teams will present their solutions live in front of an esteemed panel of judges, while the other two teams will present for their professional peers. The judges, all experts in performance management, will provide feedback for each of the proposed solutions in front of the session audience. A primary benefit is that conference attendees and students can equally learn from the results and shared solutions.

One of the most important goals of the case competition is to attract new high potential young professionals to ISPI who will, ultimately, serve as contributors to our field.

“The Case Study Competition has really pushed me to look in depth at an organization—including its people, processes, products, customers, and market. Now I know what to look for.”

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Practicing Masterful Performance Technology: Classic Symphony or Modern Jazz

by Steven J. Kelly, CPT, 2010 Conference Bagel Barrel Presenter

OK, I will admit it. I am a card-carrying practitioner. It has been that way from the beginning. Starting in the U.S. Army in 1975, working in the 9th Infantry Division. I started in tactical intelligence. High demand assessment environment. Little time. Fragmented data. Urgent needs for prediction. Wrong conclusions extremely hazardous to your health. Later with an innovative Army office called OE (Organization Effectiveness). Moving forward through a blizzard of acronyms over three decades. ISD during the early ’80s supervising training efforts for refinery and nuclear plant construction. OD in supporting municipal government and utility restructuring in the late ’80s. Call it anything you like during the hectic 1990s in post-communist Czechoslovakia. Driving relentlessly to turn order-takers into retail and industrial sales professionals. Hanging in there with PT and its confusing definitions at the turn of the century. Currently helping to define the uses of HICD (Human Institutional Capacity Development) slowly being adapted within the international donor aid programs.

I have seen a lot of data. Designed many interventions. Building on the scaffolding of rigor in research. Riding that interface where analysis translates into value for end users. All those years focused on cranking out results… using whatever methodology seemed to work. Sure, I immersed myself in all the basics—Drucker, Gilbert, Forrester, Mager, Blanchard, Rummler… the list goes on. I devoured the literature, attended conferences, published a few articles. But, ultimately I am a practitioner. I supply critical recommendations that senior managers need now. I take what seems to work, merge complementary tools together, give credit where it seems appropriate, push the process forward with the client.

The Challenge Today

Lately, I have found myself working in more challenging assignments. Real Mega work. Kaufmanesque earth-shaking societal impacts. Assisting institutions in poorly transitioning societies. The funding always limited versus the yowling needs. The odds of success, true sustainable success, stacked against me. How can I attack massive problems in short time frames, with a limited budget? I find myself more and more looking at our profession. Certainly this is a science, or rather applied technology. The science provides the foundation for what we do. But, more and more, I see also a certain art to the style of practice.

Brethower reminds me to consider aspects of Snow’s two cultures. His highly influential thesis in the late ’50s. The fear of a breakdown between humanities and the sciences. A certain competition. In some cases a distain. But, coupled with this, his certainty that both are needed to address the complex issues. Applied engineering, joined with artistic craft. Absolutely necessary to address human-created industrial age challenges. These challenges only multiplying moving into the digital age.

The Music Metaphor

I have been drawn to the metaphor of music composition and execution. There are those who lean toward the grand composition. Music as math, as science. The most relevant example being a Haydn piece—exactly structured four movements. Trustworthy and proven. A symphonic approach to assessment and applied interventions. The approach requires very thorough planning. Exhaustive and validated lists of questions. Complex hierarchies of analysis. Extensive direction and control of the process with the client. The vacuuming up of all available data for analysis and mapping—all in the pursuit of the elusive performance gap.

Very useful for strategic forecasting. Long time horizons. Proper funding. It is the perfect setting for grooming the young talent. Sound frameworks. Simple, elegant tools. Gaining mastery through practice. Mapping one step of the process after the other. A very effective way to learn the tools and methods. Surefire. Thorough. And so damn expensive.

For me at least, after many years in the business, I question that it is most effective in all cases. Especially in the tactical area. The day-to-day operations. Where the rubber hits the road.

At some stage, the advancing expert begins to look for more. More results faster at less energy and cost. Many prefer to maintain the emphasis on the grand composition and symphony. There is certain symmetry to its form and elegance. Slowly working through levels incrementally—job, process, organization. Collecting data and implementing interventions sequentially. Truly a science.

But, there is the practitioner who understands the need for another style. Never dismissing the theoretical foundations, there is the urge to find the key results quickly in assignments. On the tactical level, this is sometimes in the form of first aid. Stop the bleeding. Heal the major wounds. Keep the patient alive so he or she can survive for more complex or rigorous interventions. And, also a method that works for the long-term fix. How does the practitioner do this? Can one trust in the depth of grounded experience in applying the technology? Translating experience into incisive observation through constant training and reflection? Importantly, coming to accept the realistic absorption rate of each client to make change.

Thus, I have found myself in the past decade perfecting my own style of craft. Using the music metaphor—a form like modern jazz. Like most jazz, it is difficult to comprehend until you experience it. Some people cannot stand it. It drives them crazy. But for me, it stimulates thinking. It challenges my edges.

It all starts from a foundation of the classics. Then gives rise to a wide diversity of style and elegant orchestration. It is tuned in to the fluidity of living systems. The focus on clients served in small venues. Available to those with great need. But lacking the patronage to afford full orchestral composition. Lower upfront cost. Still faithful to the art and science of skillful PT. Results with value that matter.

Curious to take a look at the PT jazz method? Click here to download the full description and application. Come to my Bagel Barrel presentation at THE Performance Improvement Conference 2010.

Steven J. Kelly, CPT, has 34 years’ diversified experience in building high performance systems. He is the founding partner in KNO, 1979, and headquartered in Prague/Bratislava since 1991. He currently serves on the Board of ISPI. Steven may be reached at Steven.Kelly.KNO@gmail.com.

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ISPI Announces New Organizational Member

Defense Logistics Agency

As America’s combat logistics support agency, the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) provides the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, other federal agencies, and joint and allied forces with a variety of logistics, acquisition, and technical services. The agency sources and provides nearly 100% of the consumable items America’s military forces need to operate—from food, fuel, and energy to uniforms, medical supplies, and construction and barrier equipment. DLA also supplies about 84% of the military’s spare parts. In addition, the agency manages the reutilization of military equipment, provides catalogs and other logistics information products, and offers document automation and production services. For additional information about our newest organizational member, please visit www.dla.mil.

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PT Makeovers
International Students and Plagiarism

Graduate students
in Allison Rossett’s Performance Technology class at San Diego State University were tasked with creating short papers called PT Makeovers. ISPI has been publishing these papers in PerformanceXpress over the past several years. The author and organization have chosen to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the article.

Our international students bring a variety of perspectives to the American classroom. Along with them come cultural and language differences that can result in many difficult issues. One of the biggest challenges is their interpretation of academic integrity. Plagiarism can be prevalent. Instructors do not know how to address these issues. Enrollments from the domestic market decreased amid complaints that these students brought the quality of the education down. As the director, I spent time finding ways for these students to complete their work, retake tests, perform extra credit, and earn their certificate. The immigration adviser issued warning after warning.

There was a failure to examine the true causes and drivers of this behavior. The assumption was, gleaned primarily from frustrated staff, that the students simply did not know what was expected in the U.S. classroom in terms of citing references and doing one’s own work, and they needed a lesson. There was a small amount of consultation with the staff who oversaw other programs, with limited questioning:

“Do students in your program plagiarize and cheat on tests, too?”


“What do you do about it?”

“We make them read this paragraph and warn them not to do it!”

The paragraph consisted of a strongly worded memo, issuing a warning that plagiarism is illegal and students will be kicked out of school if they take this approach to their assignments and exams. This was the only “literature” used to offer guidelines for best practices. NAFSA was not consulted, nor were other schools hosting international students or educational agents who represented our programs abroad. A search into cultural approaches to this issue was not performed, students were not surveyed or interviewed to find out why they chose to plagiarize. Instead, the solution was to integrate a four-hour APA workshop into orientation. Instructors were made aware that this training was taking place, so there would be no tolerance of a plead of ignorance. But the result was a very immeasurable improvement. The workshop just added to students’ confusion, and instructors were left asking, “Now what do I do?”

In a PT Makeover, I would develop a solution system that considers the fact that the school actively recruits, and accepts the money of, international students, and therefore has a responsibility to create an environment in which they can succeed. We also have a responsibility to the domestic community. Research shows that plagiarism can be a result of a variety of drivers, including:

  • English as a Second Language, lack of confidence in understanding of texts, and so forth
  • Students coming from a collective society in which a person’s thoughts and ideas belong to all
  • Instructors not having either the time or the training to deal with plagiarism
  • Universities more concerned with “cheeks in seats” than academic integrity
  • Students not being trained in citing of sources
  • An unclear definition of plagiarism

What is clear is that the problem is both complex and pervasive in many English-speaking countries, including the United States, Britain, and Australia.

To gain some insight into some of the above drivers, I would start by going directly to the source, the students themselves who were guilty of plagiarizing, and interviewing them. I know they are very decent people, who do not want to break the rules. I would try to find out what the barriers to optimal behavior were by asking questions designed to find out:

  • Is there a skills or knowledge issue? Did they not understand? Why not?
  • Is this acceptable in their own country? If not, what are the consequences?
  • A motivation problem, lacking confidence in their English skills, or not valuing their own work and ideas?
  • Are there environmental barriers, i.e., computer crashing, causing a lack of ability to study? Books too expensive to purchase or difficult to read? Length of assignments too long while carrying 12 units? Not enough time to complete exams?

I would gather data via an anonymous survey, via SurveyMonkey, Zoomerang, or Fastake, with similar questions designed to reach more students, including those who have not engaged in plagiarism.

I would also survey the instructors, via e-mail, to gain their insight and suggestions. Many I consider experts in this area, who do not enjoy failing students, and who understand that there can be cultural differences.

I would also reach out to agents in other countries who send students abroad, asking questions related to academic integrity standards in their own countries. They want students to succeed. They are also good resources of information regarding their country’s educational system and expectations.

I would develop a solution system that would be comprehensive, and provide initial training to students in terms they can understand. This would include:

  • A facilitated discussion of the cultural differences between the United States and other countries
  • An explanation of consequences (i.e., being expelled, losing their tuition, not being able to get that ever-important job referral or letter of recommendation for grad school)
  • Creating awareness of tools that instructors have at their disposal (i.e., turnitin.com, obvious English too perfect)
  • Samples of plagiarized and non-plagiarized work, and how sources are cited
  • Resources available

I would make this material available online to all students throughout their stay.

It would also be important to:

  • Support and inform instructors so that everyone is approaching this issue from the same standard
  • Gain buy-in from everyone involved, from top leadership on down, to create a culture of consistency
  • Expect accountability on the part of the students, through a signed agreement acknowledging their understanding
  • Continuously support and encourage students to share their ideas and thoughts without fear of criticism or rejection

It would be important to follow up for continuous data, looking for indicators of improvement. Information spreads like wildfire among our international students, and a consistent and clear policy, that they believe is enforced over time, will bring about desired results.


Association of International Educators. (n.d.). Retrieved from www.nafsa.org.

Bretag, Tracy. 2003. Implementing plagiarism policy in the internationalised university. Abstract for University of South Australia. Retrieved using keywords “academic integrity.”

Di Maria, D. L. (2009, June 4). Plagiarism from a cross-cultural perspective. Al Jamiat. Retrieved from www.al-jamiat.com/college-lifestyle/plagiarism-crosscultural-perspective.

Freedom Keyes. (n.d.). Collectivism vs. individualism. Retrieved from http://freedomkeys.com/collectivism.htm.

Purdue Online Writing Lab. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://owl.english.purdue.edu.

Martin, Brian. (1994). Plagiarism: A misplaced emphasis. Published in Journal of Information Ethics, 3(2), 36-47, with minor editorial changes.

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A Sneak Peek of the ISPI Interactive Timeline and Conference Twitter Chat

by Marci Paino and Jessica Briskin, Emerging Talent Committee

Is this your first ISPI Conference? Are you familiar with Twitter chats? Are you curious about the history of ISPI and what that means to you?

The Emerging Talent Committee (ETC) has been updating you the past couple of months about our initiatives for THE Performance Improvement Conference 2010. We are pleased to provide you with details about two brand new opportunities: a sneak peek of the ISPI Interactive Timeline and the ISPI Conference Chat on Twitter.

ISPI 2010 Conference Chat: How to make the most out of your conference

Our first initiative includes pre-conference Twitter chats, which are scheduled times to ask questions and talk to experienced ISPI members about the upcoming conference. We will host a two-part series, scheduled for two consecutive Wednesdays:

  • Wednesday, April 7, 8:30–10:30 pm EST (5:30–7:30 PST)
  • Wednesday, April 14, 8:30–10:30 pm EST (5:30–7:30 PST)

Log on to your Twitter account and pose your questions using the hashtag “#ispi2010”; we will create a dialogue and answer all of your questions. Some topics and questions to tweet about might include:

  • What do I bring to wear?
  • Do I need to bring my resume or should I bring business cards?
  • How do I choose what sessions to attend?

So, why should you attend the chat events? You should attend if you are looking to:

  • Receive instant answers to all of your questions
  • Elicit expert advice, tips, and tricks from members, peers, and so forth
  • Establish connections with others attendees before the conference
  • Learn about conference sessions, events, and offerings specific to your interests or needs
  • Plan your schedule for the conference ahead of time

ISPI Interactive Time Line: Sneak peek!

The ETC and ISPI have decided to launch the full-blown interactive time line to celebrate ISPI’s 50th anniversary, during next year’s conference in 2011. In the meantime, we wanted to show you a sneak preview—only at THE Performance Improvement Conference in San Francisco! The time line consists of data gathered by the ETC from longtime ISPI members and Society records and publications. This interactive program describes the key historical events that have shaped the Society and the field we work in. The future time line will build on these events and show how ISPI played a fundamental role in the growth of human performance technology (HPT). You can navigate through the time line at your own pace, surfing through information by decade, year, or category. Look for the ETC table in the Community Center at the conference to see this sneak peek!

Don’t miss out on these two new and exciting opportunities! Register for THE Performance Improvement Conference today to take advantage of other promotions and opportunities, including the student and professor discount and the speed mentoring session. And, do not forget to join us in April on Twitter!

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Tales From the Field
Needs Assessment on Service Center Technicians’ Billable Hours

by Christin Lundberg, Jennifer Elderman, Pat Ferrell, and Leslie Harper

Tales from the Field, a monthly column, consists of reports of evidence-based performance improvement practice and advice, presented by graduate students, alumni, and faculty of Boise State University’s Instructional and Performance Technology department.

The Client

Best Tool (name changed for anonymity) is a retailer based in the Midwest region of the United States that specializes in power tools and equipment for the serious do-it-yourselfer. Operating over 60 retail locations across the country, 52 of the locations include a service center that typically employs one technician who repairs equipment (whether or not it was sold by Best Tool), handles customer parts ordering, and provides technical assistance to walk-up and phone-in customers.

The Problem

In January 2009, the service centers underwent a corporate management change that began to scrutinize the number of billable hours technicians log each week (billable hours are for customer product repairs that are not under warranty).

The authors of this article were the team of needs assessors who conducted a semester-long analysis of the billable hours situation for a project in Dr. Winiecki’s Needs Assessment class at Boise State University. The team was asked by the client to determine how to increase the service center technicians’ average of only five to six billable hours per week to the company’s goal of 10 hours per week.

Data-Gathering Methods

To discover how to increase the number of billable hours, the team first conducted a front-end analysis (FEA) using a combination of Harless’ (1973) 13 Smart Questions and Gilbert’s (2007) Behavioral Engineering Model (BEM).

The team then used a combination of methods (based on ethnographic research) to gather empirical data, beginning with a review of existing documents and artifacts (e.g., job descriptions and performance reviews). Open-ended and semi-structured interviews were conducted with a quota-based sampling of store managers and technicians, followed by on-the-job observation at one service center location. The overall data-gathering and analysis process is illustrated in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Data-gathering and analysis process.

After analyzing the resulting information, the team identified several issues potentially contributing to the problem: (a) corporate expectations for performance were not aligned with job descriptions, (b) job descriptions were not aligned with performance reviews, and (c) there appeared to be considerable confusion about the specific tasks and performance expected of the technicians.

From this, the team developed a Job Responsibilities & Recommendations document that included the tasks, knowledge, skills, abilities, attitudes, and behaviors identified during the data collection phase as required to carry out each responsibility. The main contact at Best Tool reviewed the document; he was pleased with the detail and provided a few comments.

This document guided the team’s culminating activity in the data-gathering process, which was the administration of a survey to 45 technicians and 39 store managers to complete triangulation of prior findings and to identify the distribution of issues identified during the interviews related to the responsibilities of the service technician position.

Data Analysis

The team used three data analysis tools to develop final recommendations:

  • The team generated a narrative based on empirical data collected, which helped to “tell the story” of the situation, and categorized the issues into several categories of problems that affect the technicians’ ability to increase their billable hours. These included customer assistance, warranty repairs, standard operating procedures, store management, slow business periods, organization, and additional retail duties.
  • An Ishikawa diagram was prepared to highlight the causes the team identified for the billable hours problem. This analysis clearly depicted interrelated issues with management, technicians, methods, time, machines, and material.
  • Chevalier’s Performance Analysis Worksheet was used to analyze the issues using his BEM-related categories. This analysis showed that the largest negative forces were job or task-related information, resources, incentives, and knowledge and skills.


Based on the data gathering and analysis, the team provided the client with a summary of training and non-training recommendations, in a suggested order of completion (based on the Chevalier worksheet), that showed the need to clarify performance expectations of the service technician with the technician and management, and maximize the efficiency of the service center. Afterward, training for both the technicians and other store personnel would be developed. Figure 2 illustrates the overall needs assessment outcomes.

Figure 2. Gap, desired outcome, root causes, and recommended interventions.

IPT-grounded Advice

  • Use ethnographic research methods for data gathering and analysis.
  • Triangulate the data to produce more complete descriptions of the issues in context.
  • Surveys should be used to confirm and measure the prevalence and weight of issues identified in other data-gathering methods such as document review, open-ended interviews, semi-structured interviews, and observations.
  • Triangulate the data to help ensure the solution-development focus is placed on the most pressing issues first. Select and use data analysis tools to suit the data and issues that are emerging, to ensure full comprehension of the situation.
  • Examine environmental factors closely when conducting a needs assessment.


Chevalier, R. (2009, August). Analyzing performance: An example. Performance Improvement, 48(7), 15-19.

Gilbert, T. F. (2007). Human competence: Engineering worthy performance (tribute edition). San Francisco: Pfeiffer.

Harless, J. H. (1973). An analysis of front-end analysis. Improving Human Performance: A Research Quarterly, 4, 229-244.

Christin Lundberg is an instructional designer at the company for which this needs assessment was conducted. She is scheduled to complete her master’s degree in Instructional & Performance Technology (IPT) in spring 2013. Christin may be reached at christinlundberg@yahoo.com. Jennifer Elderman is a graduate student in BSU’s IPT master’s degree program, and is scheduled to graduate fall 2011. She is the director of training for Synergy Systems, Inc. She may be reached at jennifer.elderman@synergies4u.com. Pat Ferrell is a learning and development manager for Family Dollar stores. She is scheduled to complete her master’s degree in IPT in 2010. Pat may be reached at SSewing01@aol.com. Leslie Harper is a program manager for EchoStar Technologies. She is scheduled to complete her master’s degree in IPT in 2011. Leslie may be reached at leslie.harper@echostar.com.

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CPT News from Around the World

Welcome a New CPT

Patrick Coughlin, CPT, World Learning

Recognizing a CPT

I want to introduce you to Brenda Jean Scott, CPT, because I was struck with her work in divorce and grief counseling when reading her recertification application. Brenda has a Master of Education degree in Instructional Technology from Wayne State University, MI. For the last 10 years, she has worked as a learning and implementation specialist on various corporate projects and initiatives, such as healthcare, education, manufacturing, media, sales and marketing, HR, and IT.

Her work experience has included implementing integrated software programs for Compuware Corporation, Ford Motor Company, CBS Radio, and Department of Defense’s HR and Healthcare electronic medical records systems. As a learning consultant, she implemented ISD phases, which included performing client needs assessments and proposal writing, designing and developing training materials, training and facilitating, and evaluating training effectiveness and best practices learned. Here is Brenda Jean’s story.

How did you get involved in divorce recovery and grief counseling?

Sometimes in life we go down roads we thought we would never have to go down. I wouldn’t have ventured getting involved and using my talents with divorce and grief workshops until it became a real and personal experience in my own life. Then amazingly, it allowed me the opportunity to incorporate ISD strategies and tools of what I was already learning and using in my everyday work life.

In the course of completing my Master of Ed studies at Wayne State University and applying my ISD knowledge and skills at Ford Motor Company’s IT Implementation Center, I focused on using my principles and expertise in a totally different venue that I personally and passionately became involved with, which was divorce recovery.

This occurred when I personally was faced with divorce after my marriage of 30 years. A friend suggested I attend a well-known, local Divorce Recovery Workshop (DRW) that met one evening a week for seven weeks. I signed up as a participant and soon discovered how important and necessary it was for me to connect with and understand what so many other people were dealing with in their lives when faced with divorce. While attending the seven-week workshop sessions as a participant, it became evident that I could contribute my expertise in instructional design to develop, implement, and evaluate the workshop classes to improve and enhance the content and presentations.

Prior to completing my last DRW session as a participant, I met with the director and explained that I was an instructional designer. In our discussion, we talked about the ISD strategies and the ADDIE methodology approach. I requested that we work together over the next several months to transform the Divorce Recovery Workshop materials into an instructionally designed project, designing and developing visual presentations, guides, and activities for the speaker, facilitators, and participants.

The first phase was to interview the director and workshop facilitators, as well as gather and analyze the content to establish the goal and sessions’ objectives. The second phase was to design and develop the course map and determine the ISD strategies for each workshop session to be used.

We held review meetings throughout the project to ensure each workshop was sequenced properly and then designed and developed each of the workshop session’s slide shows, as well as speaker, facilitator, and participant guide books that contained notes, references, and activity deliverables.

Formative and summative evaluations were conducted to ensure that the deliverables were improved on a continuous basis for accuracy and reliability and tested them throughout the first year, which consisted of three 7-week workshops in the 12-month period.

At the end of the first year of this project and facilitating Divorce Recovery Workshop, I was asked to lead a similar project for the Grief to New Hope Workshop for another director at the same center. It required similar ISD phases but with different objectives, audience, and content. I completed this project in six months with continuous improvement processes in place.

In what way does your skill in HPT help you in this work?

Without my HPT knowledge and skills that I learned after my studies and practical work experience on my job, I would not have been able to apply it to the Divorce Recovery and Grief to New Hope Workshops. They were not just projects to perform, but they became a passion to improve what was already at hand for many people needing assistance and understanding in their own lives. I continued providing performance improvement support for four additional years at the center before moving to Georgia.

What did you enjoy about this work?

There is nothing more gratifying than to be able to give back to others what you have learned and can perform for others. It was something that was a gift that I received and was able to pass on, and I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to accomplish it.

Brenda Jean may be reached at mipeach@bellsouth.net to learn more about her work.

Do you have a story to tell? Contact Judy at Judy@ispi.org.

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International Training and Translation

by Eileen Maeso, CPT, 2010 Conference Presenter

Whether you are working for a government agency, a government contractor, or are a part of a commercial organization, all of the “i’s” need to be dotted when you are contracting out translation. Imagine if you will, you developed a training program and had a translator from a local company translate the audio portion of a training video. You send it to your company’s location in France. To your horror, you are told they are laughing hysterically at the training video. What went wrong?

There are many considerations when translating material. Whether it is the spoken word or written, one significant consideration is the dialect of the locality. No matter the language, all of them have peculiarities and you must use a native speaker or trained professional who tests with a native speaker to be successful. When using a translator in a speaking role, many factors must be considered. If it is a voice-over (narration over video or photos and pictures; the speaker is not actually seen in the video), mannerisms, clothing, and so forth do not matter because the speaker is not seen. Pace, pronunciation, and inflection do matter, however. For on-camera speakers, make sure you address the cultural dress and mannerisms of the targeted audience. An example would be not to have the on-camera speaker point his or her finger at the audience. Some cultures consider this an insult. I personally recommend cultural training for the developers of any instruction that is being used in other countries or engage a company that specializes in culturally appropriate instructional design.

When hiring a company to provide your translation, I would recommend following these guidelines:

  • They are members of the American Translators Association.
  • Their focus is on quality, and there are specific standards that they can show you that they follow to ensure quality products.
  • The translators are professionals and are educated and are familiar with your field or discipline.
  • They have a database and they store your specific terminology translations so edits and future updates are not charged at full price (this is negotiated separately).
  • Translation is not performed by machine or software translation only, but is performed by humans (“For Publication” translation).
  • Proofreading and editing are performed by native language speakers. As much as 30% of the wording can be eliminated by using Global English, thereby saving you 30% of translation costs.
  • They maintain your existing format completely (written).

To assist the translator:

  • Remove Americanisms and spell out acronyms. Do not use any acronyms that are not necessary.
  • If developing e-learning or Power Point, make sure to consider that the translated material will take more space on the screen than English and adjust the material you are providing accordingly.
  • Be very specific with your language requirements. Spanish for Mexico is different from Spanish for Guatemala, for example.

So, now you are ready to present your translated course and materials. You have conducted your analysis, found training is one of the interventions, and designed and developed the course following human performance technology (HPT) principles. The training and job aids are now translated and you are going to the country to implement the training in-country. Have your instructors received cultural training? Imagine an instructor who sits down, crosses his legs, and insults the country he is in by showing the bottom of his shoe. When the training is completed, you will want to evaluate the students. Have you considered the audience? Do you know that in some countries, those who do not succeed could be punished? Often the manner in which evaluations are performed will need to be adapted to meet the cultural preferences of the country and audience.

There are many different considerations in the ADDIE and HPT processes when you are developing international interventions.

Eileen Maeso will present Translating HPT Using ADDIE for an International Environment at THE Performance Improvement Conference 2010 in San Francisco. In this session, participants will work through the ADDIE process for international audiences.

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ISPI Career Center

The International Society for Performance Improvement’s
Career Center will revolutionize how you search for jobs and source candidates! Our job board, powered by career services leader JobTarget, makes it easier than ever for ISPI members to enhance their careers and stay connected within the performance improvement community. Below you will find the most recent job postings added to ISPI’s Career Center:

Instructional Designer
Job Type: Full Time
Job Location: Savannah, GA 31401

SCAD e-Learning seeks qualified candidates for an instructional designer position. The main responsibility of the position is to ensure that a high standard of instructional design is maintained throughout the life of each online learning development project. Duties include assisting in the development of e-learning curricula and courses, working closely with faculty content experts to develop effective content and course designs, providing artistic direction to designers and developers, editing course content, reviewing and evaluating course content, assisting with embedding and formatting learning objects, and providing quality assurance testing for courses and postproduction work.

Learning & Development Manager
Visa, Inc
Job Type: Full-Time
Job Location: Foster City, CA 94404

Visa Inc. seeks an experienced Learning and Development Manager to project manage the development of learning solutions and other programs to support their Talent Retention objectives. With minimal guidance, lead the analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation efforts for these programs. Make recommendations to management regarding resources required and project schedules.

Manager Organizational Development
The McIntyre Group
Job Type: Full Time
Job Location: Stamford, CT 06901

In this highly visible role, this detail-oriented professional will help promote best practice organizational development excellence and report to the Senior Director of Human Resources.

Sr. Performance Consulting Manager
Fifth Third Bank
Job Type: Full-Time
Job Location: Cincinnati, OH 45263

Learning consultant for large business client groups where scope/scale and complexity is significant. As a member of the learning leadership team, applies generalist expertise in Learning/Development to identify opportunities, strategies, and solutions that are linked to organizational effectiveness.

Training Coordinator
Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc.
Job Type: Full-Time
Job Location: Denver, CO 80234

This Training Coordinator position is responsible for planning, developing, and conducting training courses specific to the operation and maintenance of the transmission system. This will include reviewing and evaluating available training resources, both internal and external, and providing recommendations; evaluation of ongoing training programs to monitor employee progress and/or improve results; and keeping informed of maintenance and construction methods and materials in the industry and recommending needed changes.

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Performance Marketplace

Performance Marketplace
is a convenient way to exchange information of interest to the performance improvement community. Take a few moments each month to scan the listings for important new events, publications, services, and employment opportunities. To post information for our readers, contact our marketing department at marketing@ispi.org or 301.587.8570.

Online Performance Improvement Bookstore. ISPI and John Wiley & Sons have partnered to offer professionals in the field the best selection of performance improvement resources. ISPI members save 15% on all book purchases (professional and personal)!

ISPI @ Amazon. ISPI has created a one-stop shop for all your performance improvement needs. Here we have boks written by ISPI members, CPTs, E-Documents, and featured books of the month. All purchases over $25 are eligible for free shipping.

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

Magazines, Newsletters, and Journals
Performance Improvement journal is available to subscribers in print and online through John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Order your subscription today.

Performance Improvement Quarterly is a peer-reviewed journal created to stimulate professional discussion in the field and to advance the discipline of HPT through literature reviews, experimental studies with a scholarly base, and case studies. Discounted to ISPI members.


Conferences, Seminars, and Workshops
THE Performance Improvement Conference, our Annual Conference, April 19-22, 2010, in San Francisco, CA. Early registration rates at an all time low, ISPI member rate of $875, non-member rate of $1,125 until February 12, 2009.

Learn the Principles & Practices of Performance Improvement Institute, April 17-19, 2010, in San Francisco, CA. Speak performance improvement language everyone else is. Register Today!

Get Certified with ISPI at the CPT Certification Workshop, April 18-19, 2010, in San Francisco, CA. Take the first step in separating yourself from the competition. Register Today!

Earn your graduate Certificate with Ithaca’s Professional Certificate Program. Certificate programs include: Performance Evaluation and Measurement, Performance Improvement Management, and Leading Networked Organizations and Virtual Teams. Sign up today!

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ISPI Membership: Join or Renew Today!

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, simply click here.

Newsletter Submission Guidelines

ISPI is looking for
Human Performance Technology (HPT) articles (approximately 500–700 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 johnc@ispi.org. Each article will be reviewed by one of ISPI’s on-staff HPT experts, and the author will be contacted if it is accepted for publication. If you have any further questions, please contact johnc@ispi.org.

About PerformanceXpress

Feel free to forward
ISPI’s PerformanceXpress newsletter to your colleagues or anyone you think may benefit from the information. If you are reading someone else’s PerformanceXpress, send your complete contact information to johnc@ispi.org, and you will be added to the PerformanceXpress email list.

PerformanceXpress is an ISPI member benefit designed to build community, stimulate discussion, and keep you informed of the Society’s activities and events. This newsletter is published monthly and will be emailed to you at the beginning of each month.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact John Chen at johnc@ispi.org.

Stay informed: add ispi.org to your Address Book and/or Safe Senders list to ensure you don’t miss important announcements and valuable offers from ISPI!

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