November 2010

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In this issue:

Get Your Employees and Coworkers to Do What YOU Want

Ad: Boise State


Why Goalonaries Do Not Exist

Ad: Performance Improvement Conference

New Season of Quality Education: 2010-11 SkillCast Series

From the Board

Walking the Talk at THE Performance Improvement Conference 2011

Organizational Spotlight

ISPI Welcomes Intern

Lights, Camera, Action! 99-Second Video Contest

2011 Distinguished Dissertation Awards

Bright Minds Ensure a Brighter Future

Tales from the Field

CPT News

Chapter Corner

Invitation to Participate in Research Studies

Contest: Exposing Exceptional Performance in HR

Career Center

Performance Marketplace

Join ISPI Now!

Newsletter Submission Guidelines

ISPI Board of Directors

ISPI Advocates

Back Issues





Get Your Employees and Coworkers to Do What YOU Want

by Marvin Marshall, EdD

Leadership would be easy if it weren’t for those we lead. As any leader or manager knows, getting people to actually want to do the tasks you need them to do can be a challenge. Without their motivation to want the same goals and objectives as you have, people will not fully commit to a task.

Unfortunately, many managers and leaders rely on external motivators to get people to do things. For example, using rewards as enticements and threats of punishment are approaches aimed at obtaining obedience and compliance. They overpower, rather than empower. Telling people what to do and then rewarding them if they do as expected, or threatening them if they do not, increases stress while diminishing professional relationships.

Since these management approaches are manipulative, the results are never as effective as cultivating in the employee the thought process of internal motivation. Manipulative approaches are something you do to another person and have little long-lasting effects. This is in contrast to working with a person to empower the person.

Whenever you impose something on someone, it only produces short-term results because the person does not have any ownership in it. Think about it: If these external motivational approaches were effective, getting employees motivated to carry out the company’s needed objectives would be easy, not something managers read countless books about.

The irony of manipulating behavior is that the more you use it in an attempt to control people, the less real influence you have. Although managers want to remain in control, the paradox is that the more you empower others, the more effective you become. In addition, if people only do things because they are forced to, not because they want to, then you have not really succeeded as a leader. Truly effective leaders know how to trigger internal motivation for commitment that has people wanting to carry out objectives without the lure of a reward or the fear of threat.

Following are three powerful, enduring, and universal practices that will make your management much easier. By implementing these practices on a regular basis, your staff will be more eager to accomplish mutually beneficial goals.


So often, when we want our employees or coworkers to change, we attempt to influence them by using negative communications rather than positive ones that would actually prompt them to want to do what we would like. Even the worst salesperson knows enough not to make the customer angry. Yet, because we allow our emotions to direct us, we often ignore this commonsense approach when dealing with staff members and send negative messages. You can easily tell if your communications are sending negative messages if what you say blames, complains, criticizes, nags, or threatens.

Positive communications elevate the spirit; they offer encouragement and support. They send the message that the other person is capable of handling challenges. Positivity creates hope and prompts feelings of being valued, supported, and respected. Communicating in positive terms triggers enthusiasm, capability, pride, dependability, and responsibility—none of which is triggered by negativity.

Because being positive is so enabling, it makes sense to stop all thoughts and communications that are negative. Therefore, become conscious of phrasing your communications with your team so they will be in positive terms. Continually ask yourself: “How can I communicate this message in a positive way?” For example, saying, “Don’t be late again tomorrow,” is disabling, and prompts being late because the word “don’t” is not visualized; what comes after the “don’t” is what the brain visualizes. “I look forward to your being on time tomorrow” prompts the picture you want, is enabling, and is much more effective.


When people resist doing something you ask of them or do something contrary to your instructions, rather than force your request on them, offer them choices; then watch how quickly their resistance weakens. Offering choices paves the way to changing behavior and is much more effective than barking orders. By giving staff members some degree of control, you will get more cooperation. There is a simple reason for this: people do not argue with their own decisions.

Even when there are no choices about whether or not to do something, you can build in some element of choice. Just a small one qualifies because any choice allows the person to retain dignity and power. For example, suppose you need one of your employees to do a webinar to educate current clients about some new product features. The choice is not whether to do the webinar. The choice is in the how. “Would you like to do a live WebEx meeting or a recorded demo of the new features?” By giving a choice of how to do the presentation, you can avoid a confrontation. Offering choices is a simple approach you can use to immediately reduce resistance.


The most effective approach for influencing another person is to ask reflective questions. When specific reflective questions are asked, people are prompted to think, reconsider, change their minds, and grow. By asking this type of question, you will accomplish what you want more effectively, with less resistance, and with less stress. By having the employee reflect, you instantly avoid the person’s natural resistance to being controlled.

Reflective questions are noncoercive. They guide, rather than force. Reflective questions elicit a thinking response and are framed to fit the situation and clarify. Specifically, they

  • Focus on the present or future—as opposed to the past
  • Often start with “What?” or “How?”
  • Are usually open-ended in that they require more than a “yes” or “no” answer

As soon as you start asking reflective questions, you will immediately realize the effectiveness and power of this strategy. Questions such as the following promote deep and reflective thinking:

  • “What would be the best approach to… [reach the sales target, reduce errors, increase production, and so on]?”
  • “How can we correct this mistake?”
  • “What would you recommend we do differently next time?”
  • “What can you do to accomplish that objective?”
  • “How can we do that without disrupting… [R&D, the sales cycle, manufacturing, and so on]?”

A More Productive and Profitable Future

When you regularly use these three practices of positivity, choice, and reflection, you will become a more effective manager. Additionally, your team members will naturally put more effort into their work and will achieve greater results. By switching from coercive management behavioral approaches to collaborative and empowering thinking approaches, you can influence your staff to perform at peak performance levels, which will positively affect your company’s bottom line.

Marvin Marshall, EdD, is an American educator, writer, and lecturer and is widely known for his programs on discipline and learning. His approach stemmed from his acquiring knowledge about youth as a parent; a recreation director and camp counselor; a classroom teacher; a school counselor; an elementary and high school principal; district director of education; and as a certificate holder from the William Glasser Institute. Marvin may be reached at or

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Whenever you impose something on someone, it only produces short-term results because the person does not have any ownership in it.



Harvest 2010s

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

Long-time readers of TrendSpotters know that each year we choose a focus for this column. During 2010 we have explored the direction of our field, performance improvement. We have asked each of our guests to consider what is emerging in our profession and have shared thoughts in response to our question: From your perspective as a performance improvement practitioner, what direction do you see our field taking in the near future?

It is November, an appropriate time to harvest these thoughts and consider the commonalities and differences in how colleagues see our line of work evolving. As we looked back at the columns for this year, we identified five themes that represent the collective thinking of our guests:

  • Increasingly holistic view of performance improvement
  • Merging of all the performance improvement technologies
  • Increased appreciation for performance improvement results
  • Performance improvement tools as tools for life
  • A worthy goal: to improve performance without having to be an expert

Let’s unpack each of these to see what conclusions we can draw and how we might use the resulting information in our work.

Holistic View

ISPI has long advocated a systems approach to improving performance. Practitioners have built models, developed tools, created methodologies, and preached the advantages of taking a whole system view of the organization even for projects that initially appear specific to only one or two functions. Leaders are seeing the value of an inclusive mindset as they observe performance improvement projects touching so many areas in their organizations.

Whole system thinking produces organized, logical, replicable strategies for identifying issues and crafting solutions. Senior management is hearing us to a greater degree than in the past. It may be that as we all become more involved with technology and the systems that power the many electronic devices we use, our clients become more appreciative of process and its power to create change.

Merging Technologies

Historically, practitioners have promoted a perverse kind of snobbery about our field. We have drawn lines between the specialists in training, OD, process improvement, HR, and specific disciplines such as Lean and Six Sigma, declaring each of us different and promulgating exclusive terminology to further separate these disciplines. One result of separating ourselves in this way was the dilution of our collective power to achieve results that contribute to our organizations’ goals.

Now, we appear to have some movement toward unity. As a profession, we see worth in offering our collective tools and resources to our clients, providing them with one-stop shopping for performance improvement. Offering an array of technologies oriented toward people, processes, and organizations is an added value for clients and is more likely to enhance our contributions to performance improvement than detract from them.

Appreciation for Results

The first of the four principles of RSVP is Focus on Results. We chant our mantra: start with the end in mind. Many of our models and tools guide us to begin with the desired outcomes and work backward to identify issues. Because our clients are focused on achieving results in their businesses, in our practice of performance improvement, we support this by doing the same.

Senior leaders are increasingly interested in how improved performance can produce desired results, and they are gaining an appreciation for how this works. Perhaps their heightened awareness is due in part to the stripped down nature of many businesses these days, and the greater visibility of the way work gets done.

Performance Improvement Tools for Life

Lone voices have written and spoken of the versatility of the tools of our trade. We have attended presentations and read articles about applying performance improvement to our personal lives, societal challenges, and global issues. We have an opportunity, right now, to influence the world with the art and science of performance improvement. We can take our tools and techniques out of the workplace and into our homes and communities, and we can use them to help shape our world.

Unconscious Performance Improvement

If we can leverage the merging of all the performance improvement technologies discussed above, we can certainly strive to demystify our work and make what we do understandable to our clients. If we step away from the notion of making magic and let everyone see how we get the rabbit to come out of the top hat, we will not take anything away from the power of what we know and can deliver. As Geary Rummler never tired of reminding us, “It isn’t magic, it’s science.” By sharing our skills, we will enable others to improve performance.

By capitalizing on the desire of organizations to do things right the first time, increase efficiencies, operate cost effectively, and build morale, we can embed basic performance improvement practices in client organizations. Some day, we will have our clients practicing performance improvement and realizing results without knowing how they have done it.

Some Final Thoughts

These trends we discussed here will not all appear in every organization. But some will. You can look for evidence in the company where you work. What to do when you spot one of these trends? Let others know what you have observed, what it can mean to the organization’s results, and how everyone can support the continuing emergence of performance improvement as good businesses.

TrendSpotters greatly appreciates the contributions of our 2010 guests. Very special thanks to: Bill Abernathy, Roger Addison, Vince Araujo, Gary DePaul, Laurie Diener, Heather McGee, Barbara Gough, Lynn Kearny, Pat Patterson, and Guy Wallace.

Find all the models and tools featured in TrendSpotters at

You may reach Carol Haig at or at; Roger Addison may be reached at Roger blogs at

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Why Goalonaries Do Not Exist

by Marjorie Wolter, PhD, Founder, Vita Celebrata

Liam was at a breaking point. Economic pressures at work and home were unrelenting. He was used to having a clear sense of how to be a winner for his company but the game had changed. For the first time, Liam had not a clue about how to pull a success out of thin air. More than well trained, he was disciplined at goal setting and achieving, but the market conditions he depended upon to chart his course had been decimated. How could he assemble a new roadmap without any landmarks? What had been a hyper-speed success trajectory felt like it was ready for a nosedive. Only one thing could alter Liam’s crash and burn mentality: a vision of success in spite of the apparent chaos in his industry.

Periods of invention and periods of crisis are similar in that effectively navigating them employs vision. These times delineate differences between “goalonaries” and “visionaries.” “Goalonaries” are individuals who progress through, committing to and fulfilling a series of goals, forsaking the big picture and alternative opportunities. Without a visionary’s command of foresight, of prying into the future, goal setters are of no use. Routinely employed problem-solving skills are no longer meaningful during breakthrough or chaos, or they must be applied from a new perspective. Visionaries thoroughly comprehend this, thus the designation. They are not swayed, at least not for long, by what lesser mortals brand as calamity.

No matter how jazzed up the thinking, only your logical mind is activated when delineating goals. Vision accesses unadulterated creativity and inspired thought. It is vital to understand that the essence of vision is uniquely your own, a distinct combination of mind, body, and spirit. The results you bring to the table will never be able to be duplicated. Vision is the manifestation of your unencumbered virtuoso in action and it answers the age-old question: What would you do if you knew you could not fail?

Accessing authentic vision can be tricky if, as in Liam’s example, he cannot relax. Coaxing vision out of the shadows of stress calls for the twin strengths of rock solid self-esteem and inner calm. Here are a few steps on making vision’s appearance a sure thing:

  1. Remember a time when you were unquestionably successful in your personal life or business. It does not matter how or when this happened, just hone in on what that event felt like. Focus on every detail leading up to and including the moment when your achievement became real. Spend at least five minutes a day going back to that time and focusing on the sensation of being successful. When times appear to be getting tough, people often think in circles of negativity etching those patterns in their brains. There is no more efficient method for unwinding a downward spiral than anchoring in the absolute truth of personal accomplishment.
  2. Think about what you did that got you to victory in the first place. What internal talents did you employ? This step requires total self-trust, and reacquainting with long-forgotten talents without judgment. List them specifically, refer to them in your five-minute sessions (from step #1). Repetition of this regimen will undoubtedly yield previously unrecognized faculties. No matter how much you have already achieved, there are multitudes of assets lying dormant within the scope of your intelligence awaiting discovery and your authorization to go to work. Let them perform for you by continuously adding attributes to your list as they become apparent.
  3. When you spend time anchoring on your chosen achievement, breathe deeply. Deep breathing has a natural calming effect necessary for resurrecting your internal genius and allowing vision to flow. You will be able to sense your body downshifting. Your genius self knows exactly how to employ circular thinking to fixate on positivity. You may even ask for vision to send solutions during your sleep that will really get any remnant of conscious doubt out of the way.
  4. Keep a pencil and paper, or your favorite note-taking device, close by. You do not want to miss a single bit of the information your inner genius is begging to release. Stay open to being awed at the information vision presents to you because you are always bigger than your circumstances.
  5. Repeat step #3 whenever your attitude takes a dive. This is the cue to use your wings inherent expertise (not a business-y phrase) allowing only a positive outcome to occur. You will feel better, be more effective, and anchor powerhouse-thinking patterns, as any visionary leader would.

Whatever your position in business, you are, by default, a leader. Leading oneself is an essential. Disciplined personal development unavoidably becomes reflected in professional preeminence. Take responsibility for that fact, knowing with absolute certainty you have a fail-safe operational system for maneuvering through every situation with exponentially paced proficiency. Relax with the assurance that five minutes a day spent securing a clear vision will systematically generate success.

Dr. Marjorie Wolter is a speaker, mentor, and founder of Vita Celebrata, a consulting firm specializing in inspired leadership and creating unique cultures of success. With over 20 years of experience, she is a catalyst for those who will only be satisfied having achieved the highest level of business success. Marjorie has authored three books: Magnificent Men are Everywhere, Seekers and Evolutionaries, and Seeking Celebration. Marjorie may be reached at or 800.959.8096.

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Periods of invention and periods of crisis are similar in that effectively navigating them employs vision.



Announcing a New Season of Quality Education: 2010-11 SkillCast Series

ISPI is excited to launch its 2010-11 SkillCast webinar series. These 12 high-quality, engaging educational programs are specifically tailored to help performance improvement professionals stay current and share knowledge with others in the field. You know how important it is to be up-to-date and that fresh ideas are the key to success. This webinar series offers you a unique opportunity to access innovation and accomplish your professional development goals, all from the comfort of your own workspace.

ISPI members can attend each monthly, one-hour program for as little as $54 each with a $649 season pass. The non-member fee is $899. This gives you access to the live webinar and the recorded program after it takes place.

ISPI also offers a Corporate Season pass, $1429, for those organizations wanting to offer continuing educational and professional development to their staff.

2010-11 SkillCast Schedule*

Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Social Media at Work: How Networking Tools Propel Organizational Performance,
Mary Ellen Kassotakis, CPT, EdD, MBA, Director-Leadership Development Center of Expertise, Oracle America, Inc.
Learn more about the startling growth of social media and social networking in our personal and business lives. We will begin the session with some level-setting on what social media is and then discuss the areas in which social media has the potential to improve organizational performance. Come take a look into Web 2.0/social media tools that can help leaders with their organizations and to improve the learning experience and impact of employees. This session is about how trailblazing organizations can use social networking tools effectively to improve organization performance. Register Online

Wednesday, December 15, 2010
HPT’s Role in Business Continuity: What it Means, Why It Is Important, and the Role of HPT in the Process,
Dean Larson, CPT, PhD, Principal, Larson Performance Consulting

Wednesday, January 19, 2011
How to Address the Cultural Aspects of HPT Interventions,
Eileen Maeso, CPT, United States Coast Guard, & Andrea Edmundson, PhD, CEO and Global Learning Strategist, eWorldLearning

Wednesday, February 16, 2011
How High Performers Learn-Implications for HPT,
Daniel R. Bielenberg, Director of Capability Development Strategy, Accenture, & Dana Alan Koch, Learning Strategist, Accenture

Wednesday, March 16, 2011
How to Use HPT to Navigate the Gray Space for Positive Change
Deb Page, President, Willing Learner

Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Strategies for Developing a Contemporary Training Curriculum,
Dawn Snyder, CPT, PhD, Chair, Master’s of Science in Instructional Design and Performance Technology, Franklin University

Wednesday, May 18, 2011
How Documentation Infrastructures Contribute to Performance Improvement
Edith E. Bell, CPT, PhD, Principal Consultant for Bell Design Technologies, Inc.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011
How to Get & Use Customer Knowledge to Support Innovation
Lance J. Welter, Chair, Certification Networking Group of Chicago, & Tricia Sutton, MSc, MBA, PMP, NPDP, President, Sutton Enterprise Inc.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Building & Sustaining Relationships
Mike Monar, President, Monar Consulting

Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Designing Effective Multi-Generational Learning Experiences
Donald Shandler, PhD, President, Shandler Associates & Adjunct Faculty, University of Maryland-Baltimore County

Wednesday, September 21, 2011
How to Get Reliable Data from Groups
Maurie Coleman, CPT, PhD, Director of Certification and Accreditation, ISPI

Individual Skillcast Webinars

ISPI Member: $79, Non-Member: $109, Corporate Seats: $239

Register for your SkillCast Webinar Season today and immediately receive the link to our recorded program from October: Quality Tools & Human Performance Technology, with Tom Berstene, MA, Founder & President, Workforce Planning Associations. For more information, call ISPI at 301.587.8570 or visit to order.

*Schedule subject to change.

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From the Board
Financial Update

by Lisa Toenniges, CPT, ISPI Treasurer and Director

As the ISPI Treasurer, I would like to take this opportunity to update you on the financial status of our Society. Given that our fiscal year runs October 1 through September, we have just wrapped up an eventful annual cycle, and I can now share the Society’s financial picture.

Looking Back

As you would expect with a recession and a very difficult economy, ISPI has faced numerous financial challenges during the past several years. Both 2008 and 2009 were years of significant losses for our Society. When the Board met in September 2009 to determine the 2010 fiscal budget, it projected a loss.

The revenue cycle for ISPI is very uneven because the majority of our revenue comes from our annual conference, which is usually held in April. During fiscal year 2010, expenses exceeded revenue for the first half of the year. But as the San Francisco conference wrapped up with stronger than anticipated attendance, we were in a positive financial position.

With the official data on record from our accounting firm, I am pleased to report ISPI ended the 2010 fiscal year with a surplus that was added into our reserve fund. Kudos go out to our staff, past and present Boards, volunteers, and members. We have all made difficult decisions, worked very hard, and targeted our efforts on doing the most critical activities.

Our biggest areas of member value, and therefore revenue for the Society, include membership, THE Performance Improvement Conference, and certification. We also experienced much success with SkillCasts and the Principles and Practices Institute. You will most likely note all of these member services focus on providing education for our members, which in turn improves our proficiency and ability to apply human performance technology principles in our own organizations and our clients’ organizations.

Looking Forward

As a Board, we have just completed our annual budgeting process for the 2011 fiscal year. The key steps in the process included:

  • Obtaining input from our committee chairs on their financial needs for the coming year
  • Looking at actual data for the current year for revenue streams and fixed expenses
  • Considering investments we should make to grow our Society
  • Establishing a realistic budget to guide our actions and decisions in the coming year

As a result of these steps, we have set a budget that has us ending the year with a loss. Key factors that contribute to this projection include the following:

  • A significant investment in marketing expenses. We have a wealth of programs and services to offer the business world and our members, but to date many are well-kept secrets. We need to be able to clearly define our audiences, state our value proposition to current and potential members, and get the word out on the many benefits we offer.
  • Our fixed expenses are very stable but after three years of cost cutting cannot be lowered any more if we are to still to operate on a day-to-day basis.
  • Our Certified Performance Technologists (CPTs) renew their certification every three years. Based on this cycle, there are a low number of CPTs up for renewal this year. This will, therefore, reduce revenue from this member service.

If our investments in marketing show a reasonable return, our upcoming annual conference in Orlando is successful, and our anticipated new services offer value, we should easily do better than our initial projection. At this juncture however, it is important to the Board to set a budget that is realistic rather than a pie-in-the-sky. The Board and staff will keep a close eye on our financial progress throughout the year and will make adjustments as needed to stay on plan.

I am looking forward to a prosperous and dynamic 2011 fiscal year!

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Walking the Talk at THE Performance Improvement Conference 2011

ISPI is rolling into Orlando, Florida, April 8-13
for THE Performance Improvement Conference 2011. Join Harold Stolovitch and Saul Carliner on April 10 as they launch our new Research-to-Practice Day! Then, get ready for three powerful days of learning and networking as we reflect on the work, worker, and workplace. Join Elliott Masie, Joseph Fiskel, Philip Kirby, Andrew Hill and all your performance improvement colleagues. Early registration closes December 23, 2010. For more information, visit

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Organizational Spotlight
An Interview with Steve Russell, Schwan’s Food Company

Welcome to ISPI’s Organizational Spotlight!
This column focuses on our members—some you may know, some you may not. Each month, we will explore what brought them to ISPI, how they use the principles of human performance technology (HPT), and their insights into the value of membership. This month our interview is with Steve Russell, Senior Director of Technical Training and Development at HPDC, Schwan’s Food Company.

How would you explain HPT to someone unfamiliar with the term or concept?

The great thing about human performance technology (HPT) is it can be explained in terms the audience understands. If I’m speaking to manufacturing leaders, I describe it as the people version of lean, quality improvement or Six Sigma. It it’s a CFO, I talk about contribution to top- and bottom-line growth. For a sales audience, it may be focused on the questioning techniques that surface needs and potential outcomes.

What do you think sets ISPI apart from other organizations?

ISPI is so well-grounded in research. It also draws the best of the best in the industry. HPT is very process-focused as well as outcome-focused, and as a result are easily repeatable.

What is/are Schwan’s biggest challenge(s)?

Acquiring talent, developing talent, and using customer and market insights to be a product innovation leader.

How does Schwan’s purpose and basic beliefs tie back to workplace performance improvement?

The Best People portion of our strategy (see strategy below) focuses on two things: (1) Creating a high performance culture and (2) Identifying and growing talent

What drives your strategy?

At The Schwan Food Company, we want to Be the Best. Our strategic intent is simple. We want to Be the Best at what we do. We will accomplish this by focusing on our people, our products, and our performance. To be the best, we will: (1) Have the best, most engaged People in the industry, (2) Have the best, most innovative Products in the freezer, (3) Deliver the best Performance to our consumers, customers, and stakeholders.

Where do you see the future of human performance technology going?

I think HPT will be increasingly important in the future as human capital becomes a greater differentiator and competitive advantage for companies.

What is the best thing you’ve learned while being a member of ISPI?

Companies have traditionally begun their pursuit of performance improvement or continuous quality improvement in the manufacturing arena.The biggest advantage to being an ISPI member is the visibility of PI best practices across different types of business, functions, and organization size.

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ISPI Welcomes Intern

ISPI welcomes Daniel Mason as our very first intern. Daniel is a graduate student at the Adler School of Psychology in Chicago where he’s in a master’s program to receive an MA in Organizational Psychology and Counseling. He graduated from Miami of Ohio in May 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Daniel’s professional interests include employee assistance, nonprofit consulting, and nonprofit management.

He will be working with Maurie Coleman, Director of Certification & Accreditation, on projects related to our Certified Performance Technologist designation.

ISPI selected Daniel because he is bright, articulate, and energetic. Daniel chose ISPI so he could learn more about the human performance field and begin to build his professional network.

Daniel grew up in a North Shore suburb in Chicago. When he is not studying, attending classes, or working as an intern, he likes to participate in intramural sports, volunteer for a human rights organization, and spend time with friends and family.

If Daniel contacts you as a part of one of his internship projects, please help in any way that you can. You may reach out to welcome Daniel at

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Lights, Camera, Action! THE Performance Improvement Conference 99-Second Video Contest

An exciting video contest for the 2011 ISPI conference is now available! In 99 seconds or less, share your views on the value of ISPI membership and attendance at THE Performance Improvement Conference in 2011 with a short video clip titled: “This is ISPI!” You have the opportunity to win prizes such as pre-recorded SkillCast webinars and one-year ISPI memberships! All you need is a digital video camera and up to 99 seconds to speak passionately about the value of the ISPI conference. For example you might create a video that completes any of the following sentences:

  • My most valuable or memorable conference experience in previous years was…
  • The reason I wouldn’t miss THE Performance Improvement conference is…
  • If I only have 99 seconds to explain to someone what HPT is, I would say…
  • What I love about the conference each year is…
  • Here’s what I applied back on the job that made a difference…and I learned it all at the conference!
  • The conference networking is invaluable because…
  • With 99 seconds to “sell my boss, my spouse, my partner, my kids, my pets” on going to the conference, I would say…

Think about the speakers, educational sessions, and networking! Be creative and have fun!

Provided the video’s message, accuracy, appropriateness of theme, creativity, and entertainment value promote THE Performance Improvement Conference, up to six winners will be selected at random and notified by email on or about February 19, 2011.

The contest closes on February 11, 2011 at 11:59 pm (EST). Contest information, including submission guidelines, is posted on the ISPI 2011 conference website.

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2011 Distinguished Dissertation Awards: Recognition You Deserve

The International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) is currently accepting applications for the 2011 Distinguished Dissertation Awards. This initiative funded by the Research Committee aims to honor excellence in student research. Three tiers of reward accompany the awards ($1,500 for first place, $1,000 for second, and $500 for third). Only doctoral dissertation research defended between May 31, 2007, and October 31, 2010, is eligible. Dissertations must be defended and approved by the student’s committee prior to applying for the award and may be applied for by students of any accredited university throughout the world.

Studies not conducted as part of dissertation research, as well as recipients of ISPI’s Distinguished Dissertation Award from previous years, are not eligible. Applicants from prior years who did not receive the award may reapply as long as they meet all other requirements. Half of recipients’ monetary reward will be paid upon announcement of award winners with the remaining funds to be paid upon submission of a manuscript for consideration in Performance Improvement Quarterly (which must be received no later than August 30, 2011). Award recipients are also encouraged to consider submitting a proposal to present at the 2012 annual conference.

For more details on submitting by the November 26, 2010 deadline, visit

If you have any questions, contact Hillary Leigh, Chair of the ISPI Research Committee, via email

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Applications for the Distinguished Dissertation Award are due November 26, 2010.



Bright Minds Ensure a Brighter Future

by Carol Lynn Judge, CPT, ISPI Director

What is all the fuss about STEM? The acronym stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, but it also may be the key to our future since to stay competitive in the global economy the United States must soon graduate 100,000 more engineers a year. In recent years, our institutions of higher learning annually award approximately 225,000 STEM-related bachelor’s degrees each year to United States citizens and permanent residents. For our country to meet the growing demand for STEM professionals, and especially within the national security-related industries, we need to nearly double the graduation rate of STEM graduates to 400,000 by 2015. If we as a nation fail to awaken the passion for STEM careers, especially within K-12 students, our country’s innovative and creative capacity as well as its security is not only threatened, but it is in serious risk in the years ahead.

So what is needed? Actually many things are needed, but one thing we can all help with is the need for effective role models; we need several “Bright Minds to Ensure a Brighter Future.” It will take a collective effort to make STEM subjects more fun, interesting, and relevant inside and outside the classroom. The first role models for K-12 students are their parents. Parents need to be more involved in their children’s education in any way possible and in constant communication with their teachers. And, of course, beyond their parents there is no greater impact in a student’s life than a teacher. We need teachers who can combine profound knowledge with passion for the STEM fields to prepare the next generation of engineers, scientists, mathematicians, and technological innovators.

But as many parents and teachers understand, peers can heavily influence our youth, which is why we need the help of role models in the STEM fields to provide inspiration and play up the "cool" factor for their peers. A key to STEM success is to develop a sustainable model of influencers who can work together to ensure success and then circle back into the community. To this end ISPI has established its own community of practice for role models and human performance technologists, which recognizes this social responsibility and the call for action necessary to move America forward.

To restore America’s competiveness, President Obama has also stated, “We must recruit a new generation of science and technology leaders by investing in diversity….” According to the census reports, minority students will be in the majority of the population by 2023, but the numbers are just numbers without a clear path for success paved by role models who provide for not only the inspiration but also the rigorous, high standards needed for success in the STEM career fields. American youth need effective role models for STEM success.

The challenges facing our nation’s schools are daunting. As performance improvement professionals, we can also serve as role models and offer our assistance in the development of innovative, effective approaches to practice and policy. We can also volunteer our services as individuals and ISPI chapters to act as role models, mentors, and educational assistants with science and math projects. Failing to provide a high-quality education to all our children lessens their potential and widens the gap between those who thrive and those who fall behind in society.

Are you ready to answer the call? If so, please contact for more information or for information about attending a future ISPI STEM Community of Practice meeting.

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Tales From the Field
Constructing Competencies Creates Construction Consistency

by Kris Marchini, Ayanne Levy, and Sidney Chase

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.


Building Blocks Inc. (a pseudonym) is a construction company that has grown exponentially, increasing from 200 to 1,100 employees in five years. Historically, the company encourages each superintendent to use his or her own ideas and skill set to complete projects in lieu of establishing company-wide procedures.

The Request

Each superintendent hired brings individual behaviors and work methods, contributing to inconsistency in schedule management. This has resulted in numerous missed project deadlines. The superintendent employee review includes scheduling performance; however, performance standards are not defined. In light of these issues, Building Blocks recognized the importance of establishing consistent procedures, drawing on the behaviors, skills, and knowledge of its exemplary superintendents, and requested us, a team of graduate students at Boise State University, to conduct a competency-based needs assessment.

The Approach

The competency-based needs assessment examined high performing superintendents (exemplars) and identified critical behaviors, knowledge, and skills that guided development of a competency model.

We used Langdon’s Language of Work (LOW) model (Langdon & Marrelli, 2002) to define the previously undefined competencies required for the scheduling job function. This model “provides the basis for defining jobs so that we can then build a system for identifying competencies” (p. 17). The LOW model comprises “four sources [that] contribute to the development of performance-based competencies” (p. 18). These sources are behavior plus attributes, standards, work support, and human relations. Langdon and Marrelli describe behavior as the integration of inputs, conditions, process steps, outputs, consequences, and feedback (p. 18).

We collected data using open-ended and semi-structured interviews with exemplar performers and company executives. The data collected provided Building Blocks with useful information to develop standardized procedures specifically related to the process of schedule creation and updating. Once the scheduling job function was defined, the LOW model was used to develop specific competencies for the job function. We created a competency model for Building Blocks’ use in identifying performance gaps between exemplar performers and other performers, as well as to align business objectives between superintendents, project teams, core processes, and operations.


Thirty-five competencies were found to be critical to creating and updating a construction schedule. The majority of competencies fall within four key areas of the needs assessment model: Process Steps, Attributes, Job Standards, and Human Relations. The top three competencies necessary for exemplary performance are Organizational Awareness, Communication, and Planning, followed closely by Impact and Influence, Relationship Building, and Building Strategic Working Relationships (see Figure 1). Analysis of competency domains showed that superintendent competencies are more tactical than strategic within their business focus. Interpersonal skills prevail over intrapersonal skills, and autocratic and democratic leadership styles are equally balanced.

Figure 1: Key Competencies by Frequency


Based on the findings, we provided the following recommendations to Building Blocks:

  • Develop a standardized set of schedule creation and update procedures and a tactical training program focused on development of competencies. Use the competency model to revamp hiring and recruiting documents to focus on necessary competencies.
  • Create a committee charged with creating a strategic plan whose members possess competencies as outlined in the LOW model. Implement a strategic training program focused on those competencies and actively communicate the company’s strategic plan and corporate philosophy.
  • Develop job descriptions based on the competency model and develop and/or modify current recruiting and hiring processes to focus on required skills and competencies. Modify the current superintendent employee review to include competencies identified in the model. Conduct a gap analysis of individual superintendents and develop and implement individual employee development plans to close competency gaps.

Lessons Learned

One of the most profound lessons learned was the need to select the correct model for the desired result. Model selection is crucial, as it is the lens through which the needs assessment is conducted. We began with a model that was more geared to performance gap analysis as opposed to the LOW model that helps capture behavioral details needed to ascertain competencies. Initially, we could not identify a strategy to produce the requested competency deliverables, indicating that our initial model selection may be incorrect. Further examination of required deliverables led us to change models. Once we identified the appropriate model, the process and subsequent data products were aligned with the identified problems and we were able to meet the client’s needs.

Another critical lesson learned pertained to project scope. Our focus was limited to one function of the superintendent’s job. Competencies were identified from that limited perspective. During data analysis, we were surprised that some of the seemingly obvious competencies for the superintendent role were not as prominent, while others were more prominent than expected. Periodically re-examining project scope validated our process, tools, and plan, enabling accurate data collection, coding, and competency development.

Finally, we learned that success comes from faith in a process that at times seems chaotic and is inherently messy. We had to suspend our attachment to order, and trust in the models and the experts that created them.


Langdon, D., & Marrelli, A. (2002). A new model for systematic competency identification. Performance Improvement, 41(4), 16-23.

Kris Marchini is director of human resources at Building Blocks Inc. She is a graduate student in Instructional and Performance Technology. She will complete her master’s degree in 2012. She may be reached at Ayanne Levy is a graduate student in Instructional and Performance Technology. She will complete her master’s degree in 2011. She may be reached at Sidney Chase is the director of quality at Fiserv Inc. in Corvallis, OR. She is a graduate student in Instructional and Performance Technology. She will complete her master’s degree in 2012. She may be reached at

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CPT News from Around the World

Welcome New CPTs

  • Guy Boyd, CPT, Poudre Fire Authority
  • Kristyn Broderick, CPT, Deloitte Consulting
  • Maggie Chan, CPT, Deloitte Consulting
  • José Espinosa, CPT, Datavision Digitial
  • Michelle LaLonde, CPT, Deloitte Consulting
  • Lee Mazanec, CPT, Deloitte Consulting
  • Steve McCoy-Thompson, CPT, Deloitte Consulting
  • Diana Osinski, CPT, SPHR, Deloitte Consulting
  • Margaret Owens, CPT, Deloitte Consulting
  • Istvan Siman, CPT, Human Cooperation Ltd.
  • Erik Spurgin, CPT, Deloitte Consulting

With several more applications on the way, Deloitte Consulting LLP has certainly embraced the value of ISPI’s Certified Performance Improvement designation and RSVP. Over the past several months, the company has partnered closely with ISPI on educational programming and becoming an Organizational member. Deloitte Consulting LLP houses the second largest human resources consultancy practice in the world with more than 8,500 practitioners in 80 major offices globally. Its Human Capital Practice brings the world-class capabilities of a global consulting organization to each of its clients. Deloitte Consulting works in public and private institutions across the world to understand the different human capital challenges local institutions may face. Deloitte combines this understanding with its team’s demonstrated ability to customize and deliver assistance that is appropriate given the local environment. For more information, visit

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Chapter Corner
Chapter Partnership Committee: Working to Support Chapters!

by Gary DePaul, Chair, Chapter Partnership Committee

ISPI established the Chapter Partnership Committee (CPC) to provide additional support for chapters. The CPC will meet Wednesday, November 3, 2010, at 1:00 p.m. CDT to discuss CPC goals as well as coordinate critical work. If interested in participating, contact Gary DePaul at for details.

CPC Charter

The CPC is charted to maintain and strengthen communication between chapters, leaders, and the Society. The CPC provides guidance and serves as a liaison to forming chapters and charter chapters as they work to establish and maintain local networks in support of ISPI’s vision and mission.

2010 CPC Goal Summary

  • Develop a plan to evaluate the cost and benefit of creating an ISPI Chapter Liaison program to improve communication and connectedness between each chapter and ISPI’s International Society.
  • Implement support teams that specialize in forming and revitalizing chapters.
  • Provide chapter leader conference calls (four to be scheduled between November and April).
  • Implement the Chapter Leaders Workshop (CLW) at ISPI’s April annual conference (free for chapter leaders).
  • Provide liaison support for the One Society Committee and the Technology Committee.

Kansas City Chapter Celebrates 20th Anniversary 20/20/2010

Vision/Value/Voice is the theme of the 20th anniversary celebration for the Kansas City Chapter on November 3, 2010.

Visionmobilized 20 charter members in 1990 to become a practicing community of human performance professionals. Charter members had made a commitment to be ISPI members before supporting the Kansas City Chapter.

Value came from collaboration in planning and delivering chapter sessions that focused on human performance technology (HPT) models, resources, and applications. Chapter members have added value to the community by hosting annual workshops for business leaders and donating time to develop curriculum for teens and adults with developmental disabilities.

Voice of HPT has been sustained over the past 20 years by the involvement of the membership in their own business setting, partnering with local business and technology college programs to determine desired results before solution, and active participation in annual ISPI conferences.

Many Kansas City Chapter members have presented concurrent sessions at conferences, accepted committee leadership, and devoted time to the growth of the Society. Four members have been elected to the Board of Directors: John Swinney, Mike Schwinn, Marilyn Spatz, and Mary Norris Thomas.

Chapter achievements have included Chapter of Excellence and Chapter of Excellence in Communications.

ISPI Kansas City Chapter President Heather Carrington may be reached at

Chapter Events

Crystal, Minnesota—November 1, 2010
Minnesota ISPI Book Banter

Kansas City, Kansas—November 3, 2010
20th Anniversary Event: 20/20/2010 = Vision/Value/Voice

St. Louis, Missouri—November 5, 2010
Coaching: A Tool to Improve Performance
Jillian Starman, PhD

Albuquerque, New Mexico—November 9, 2010
Critical Infrastructure Protection—Is There a Knowledge Deficit?

Washington, DC—November 9, 2010
How to Apply the 6 Levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy to Competencies
Susan Krup Grunin, PhD, Adjunct Professor University of Virginia and UMUC Graduate School of Management

Boston, Massachusetts—November 10, 2010
Performance Architecture: Art or Science?
Carol Haig, CPT, Carol Haig & Associates

Los Angeles, California—November 13, 2010
Adding Value with Needs Assessment
Doug Leigh, PhD, Associate Professor, Pepperdine University

Behind the Scenes Experiences in Developing Collaborative eLearning
Tony Pinto, Web Product Management and Social Media Consultant

Atlanta, Georgia—November 17, 2010
Exploring Free Web Technologies for Instructional Development
UGA Learning, Design, and Technology Studio Graduate Students

Chicago, Illinois—November 18, 2010
CISPI’s annual networking program: Mash Up Your Network

Detroit, Michigan—November 18, 2010
LEARNING 2.0: What Strategic Leaders Should Know
Marc Rosenberg, CPT, PhD, Marc Rosenberg & Associates

Detroit, Michigan—November 19, 2010
Knowledge Management Strategy Workshop
Marc Rosenberg, CPT, PhD, Marc Rosenberg & Associates

To have your chapter event listed in next month’s Chapter Corner, contact

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Invitation to Participate in Research Studies

Instructional Design Practice Survey

My name is Ingrid Thompson-Sellers, and I am a graduate student of Instructional Design and Technology at Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA. My advisor, Dr. Brendan Calandra, and I are conducting a study that investigates your perceptions of corporate instructional design practices, and we would like to ask for your input via an online survey. I intend to use the results of this study to help inform instructional designers, trainers, and hiring managers about what traits, skills, and design practices are valued by those in the workplace.

This survey should take no longer than 30 minutes to complete. Please be assured your responses will be held in the strictest confidence. All responses will be reported only in aggregate and no identifying information will be reported. Once we have completed the study, and to thank you, we will send the survey results.

Because the validity of our results depends on the number of respondents, your participation is crucial to the success of the study and my dissertation. If you agree to participate in this study, please use this link to access our online form:

Please do not hesitate to contact me at 404.502.6294 or or Dr. Calandra at if you have any questions.

How Instruction is Actually Designed

My name is Dr. James Marken and I am an assistant professor at Old Dominion University. Dr. Gary Morrison and I are conducting research on the practice of instructional design in various types of organizations and would appreciate your assistance.

We invite you to complete a brief online survey regarding your work environment and how you perform instructional design tasks. It will take you approximately 20 minutes to complete this survey, and participants will have the option of entering a random drawing to receive one of three $50 VISA gift cards.

I encourage you to participate by visiting

The results of this study will be summarized in a future issue of PerformanceXpress. All information collected about you during the course of the study will be kept without any personal identifiers, making it completely anonymous. If you choose to participate in the drawing, you will need to provide your name and email address on the questionnaire. This information is not linked to the survey data.

Please email or call my graduate research assistant, Don Robison, if you have questions about participating in or learning more about this research. Don may be reached at or 757.270.1742.

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Contest: Exposing Exceptional Performance in HR

by Sonia Di Maulo, Feedback Enthusiast

Exposing Exceptional Performance: It’s What I Do

Last April I was making my way to a FedEx Office in San Francisco, printing handouts for my presentation at THE Performance Improvement Conference 2010. I walked in, out of breath, about 15 minutes before closing. I was expecting impatient service, but was received with open arms, quiet understanding, and thorough explanation of options and wait time. And all this with a smile.

A deep breath and 15 seconds later, I was smiling too. I was about to expose exceptional performance! I have developed the skill and attitude to recognize work performed with heart. It’s harder than you think and it’s been therapy for me over the past few years. In moments of stress, hard work, intensely charged schedules, travel, and family activities, I find it comforts me to slow down to notice the little things that make up exceptional performance.

At the end of my FedEx Office experience, I asked the gentleman if I could have his manager’s business card because I wanted to send her my feedback on his performance. My experience was mine alone and it was mine alone to recognize. If not me, then who?

He looked instantly worried and I reassured him that it was to expose his exceptional performance. And it just so happened that his manager was there at that very moment, and I would be able to deliver my feedback live. Awesome! The manager emerged with a worried look. Again I explained that all was perfect and I provided the details of my experience. She looked relieved and thanked me for taking the time to provide positive feedback about her staff’s performance. She had expected to spend the next 10 minutes appeasing me!

So this experience, like many others, allowed me to develop two insights:

  1. Insight about others: It’s amazing how poorly prepared people are when receiving positive recognition and feedback. I am often confronted with this lack of preparedness when I recognize others! This means that people:
    • Don’t get recognition very often and always expect the worst
    • Are insecure about their excellent performance because of the lack of feedback received
    • Have a hard time accepting and believing recognition because they aren’t expecting it
  2. Insight about myself: I offer myself a gift every time I help others recognize their efforts and exceptional effort and performance. The gift is an opportunity to focus on people and in doing so; I relax and enjoy helping others feel joy and appreciation.

After all, recognition goes a long way when delivered authentically—it offers people a better chance of feeling it, believing it, and paying it forward!

Recognition and HR

HR professionals work hard to make the workplace a better place! Through their hard work, their exceptional performance sometimes gets overlooked. And so in keeping with what I do (expose exceptional performance) the contest, Exposing Exceptional Performance in HR, was born!

The goal of this contest is to help leaders and the organization:

  • Gather insight about the exceptional work of their HR professionals
  • Gather insight about themselves by focusing on the recognition of others
  • Celebrate success

Organization leaders are invited to send in a story in written or video format of how an HR professional helped them develop solutions that improve the workplace and resolve an organizational or team challenge. The three top stories will be recognized as models of HR excellence amongst their peers and win prizes worth approximately $15,200 (total combined value)!

For more information on how to enter and to download the story submission form, visit Contest Headquarters on the Web.

I am grateful for the support of my sponsors and would like to recognize them for their encouragement in organizing this contest. Thank you!


  • The Braithewaite Group
  • Goose Educational Media
  • Human Resources, a division of IQPC
  • International Society for Performance Improvement
  • Lead Change Group
  • MVM Communications
  • Recognition Management Institute
  • Rypple
  • Society for Human Resource Management

Sonia Di Maulo is Founder and Lead Feedback Enthusiast of Ready to Feedback. She exposes exceptional performance at work, home, during her travels, and even while she shops. Her passion is to help others do the same—to recognize and expose good work and gently encourage improvements through authentic feedback. Sonia’s mission is to partner with HR professionals to coach and train leaders and their teams to use authentic feedback that retains, motivates, and fosters team connections. Sonia may be reached at

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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:

Director of Education and Training
Chicago Police Department
Job Type: Full Time
Job Location: Chicago, IL 60607

Head of Learning Effectiveness Experience
Job Type: Full Time
Job Location: Windsor, CT 06006

Instructional Designer
Georgia Tech—Distance Learning & Professional Education
Job Type: Full Time
Job Location: Atlanta, GA 30301

Senior Manager, Organizational Development
Anderson Packaging, Inc.
Job Type: Full Time
Job Location: Rockford, IL 61109

University Organizational Development Consultant
Indiana University
Job Type: Full Time
Job Location: Bloomington, IL 47405

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ISPI logo



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 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.

Handbook of Improving Performance in the Workplace—Three Volume Series. Featuring best-in-field researchers, thinkers, and practitioners across several disciplines and geographic boundaries, each volume provides a current review of all information presently available for the three core areas of improving performance in the workplace.


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.

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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 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

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, 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

Stay informed: Add 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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Silver Spring, MD 20910 USA
Phone: 301.587.8570
Fax: 301.587.8573


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