Well, the elections are over and the new leaders are about to join the team to steer the ship over the next two years. ISPI is in good hands. However, my year as president is about to come to an end. I set some goals for myself but was only partially successful. On the plus side, there has been some significant progress due to the outreach efforts of Gay Bruhn (Director of Certification & Industry Relations), the tenacity of Robin Stimson (membership), and the doggedness of April Davis (Executive Director). Gay not only cracked open the doors of the Department of Labor, Department of Education, and USAID, and other major consulting firms, she walked through them. She represented ISPI in untapped venues, introducing new audiences to ISPI and the discipline of human performance technology (HPT). She negotiated a joint venture with the APQC to partner on a study related to performance measurement. She has initiated the paperwork to get the job of performance improvement officially listed in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles–key to seeing job postings for our work. Her successes and efforts are directly tied to ISPI’s goal to be recognized as the champion and leading resource for performance improvement. Robin’s work with members and her success at growing and retaining organizational members is directly tied to the second goal for members to be engaged and satisfied. April’s efforts are and continue to be directly tied to the third goal for ISPI to be a sustainable organization. She asks hard questions about the implications of new initiatives on the Society’s sustainability.

On the negative side, three interrelated issues have yet to be tackled. One is the Society’s position on instructional design. Well-designed instruction is a valuable service, not to be denigrated or apologized for. The Society’s embracement of performance was seen by some as a divorce from our roots–instructional design. I do not. Our own research shows that sustained improvement at the marketplace, workplace, and work levels requires multiple solutions that include instruction and performance support tools. Any single change–whether it is a redesign of the work, an alignment of incentives to support desired outcomes, or a new on-boarding process–will fail if not supported by the organization’s infrastructure, goals, measures, and capability of its people. Our work is about identifying the need and facilitating the selection and development of an integrated set of solutions that collectively support people within and outside of the organization.

The second is about who we want as members. When the Certified School Improvement Specialists (CSIS) was launched, some members feared we were recruiting teachers. Teachers do not do performance improvement work; instead, there are people commissioned to improve the performance of students, teachers, and school leaders in the education system. This work is performed by superintendents, principals, and performance improvement specialists. Also, we currently have fire marshals, pharmacists, CPAs, and managers who have earned the CPT designation. Does this mean they are or are not really one of us? Do we just want them to come to the conference, but not join us or speak? We say we are inclusive, but I am suggesting our actions communicate otherwise.

The third issue has to do with how to best leverage out standards. If we refer to ourselves as The performance improvement (fill in the blank), then we should set the standard for others who profess to engage in performance improvement. The CSIS is an example, as well as the new accreditations being established to recognize programs and departments for their systematic processes that produce measurable results and add value. If the goal is for ISPI to be seen as the champion and leading resource for performance improvement, then I ask, “Champion of what and for whom?” It seems to me that champions set the standard for others to emulate and, therefore, offering certifications for people who work in other venues and accreditations for organizations that embrace our standards seems only natural.

Thanks for electing me, and I look forward to hearing from you. I hope to see you in Toronto.  You may always contact me at Haleassoci@aol.com.