By Scott Weersing

I was looking forward to the 50th anniversary ISPI conference because it would be a chance to hear from the legends of our profession. And it was great to meet with them, but I also benefited from the meeting and talking with attendees from around the world as they shared their perspective of performance improvement. As I look back on my time in Toronto, I will remember several key points:

Evidence based practice
I was challenged by Dr. Dick Clark to stop making excuses and continue to use evidence based practices. I have often thought that even though a strategy or intervention is supported with evidence from a research study, that it won’t work here because our workplace is unique. I need to remember to look for the similarities in my organization rather than what is different, and to use what works, rather than what I think could work.

Application of concepts
I have attended many conferences where the presenters just talk about what they did to solve the problems, then forget to include how you can apply their lessons learned. The educational sessions at the ISPI conference which I attended were structured as real instructional experiences where the speakers presented a concept, demonstrated how to use it, and then gave me a chance to try it. For example, Dick Handshaw talked about the importance of reactive conversations with clients, showed a video, and then let us try to shift the conversation.

Be serious but approachable
I have always tried to make data driven decisions and practice serious performance consulting. But l learned from the conference that I don’t need to have all the answers. Rather that the members of ISPI are here for help, guidance and advice. The conference was an example of the mentoring, building relationships, and refining my skills that I wish all conferences could provide.

About the Author:
Scott Weersing is an internal performance consultant with Amerigroup, an insurance company in Virginia Beach, VA. He is also completing his doctorate in Instructional Design and Technology at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA.