By Brett Christensen, MSc, CPT, CTDP
I’ve been in the learning and development field in the Canadian Forces since 1993, shifting to performance improvement in 2006. My experience serving the Armed Forces Chapter showed me the value each group holds for the other. The chapters are the grassroots of the Society and one of the main sources from where we draw future leaders. The amount of support and learning I have received through ISPI, at the local and international level, is immeasurable. It is my professional home. To be given the occasion to serve ISPI on its Board of Directors is an opportunity to pay forward a small portion of what I have received.
How did you get into the performance improvement field?
After commissioning as a Training Development Officer (TDO) in 2004, I was introduced to ISPI and HPT (via Boise State’s IPT program) by my TDO instructors who were both enrolled at BSU at the time.
What was your first performance improvement related job?
In reality, it was before I heard of ISPI. Back in 1997, when I was the Chief of the Naval Acoustic School, my team and I embarked on a two-year transformation of the training curriculum, moving from a largely paper-based system that had been used for decades to implement computer-based systems. When I discovered ISPI, I knew it was where I belonged.
What was your favorite performance improvement related project and why?
We did a project to totally re-engineer the e-Learning design and development cell at the Canadian Forces Training Development Center. The end result exceeded everyone’s expectations and demonstrated our team could produce e-Learning courses of the highest quality faster and at a lower cost than products provided in the past by contractors.
How long have you been an ISPI member and what chapter are you affiliated with?
I joined the Armed Forces Chapter in 2007 and International in 2008.
Why did you choose to become a member of ISPI? What do you think sets ISPI apart from other organizations?
On my first contact with ISPI at the San Francisco Conference, where I took the Principles & Practices Institute under Geary Rummler, Klaus Whitkuhn, Roger Addison, and Lynn Kearny, I was deeply impressed by the willingness of the Society’s thought leaders to join my network and assist me in learning and growing within the field. That has led me to the Board of Directors, promotion to Lieutenant Commander within my own organization, and growing success within the field as a whole. So, in a nutshell, it is the people and the results I get in my work by applying the principles of HPT that make ISPI my professional home.
How would you explain HPT to someone unfamiliar with the term?
I keep it really simple. It is a scientific approach to determining the root causes of problems, identifying potential interventions, and implementing them–followed by measuring their effect to see if you got it right. Then, repeat as necessary.
Which college(s) did you attend and which program(s)?
- Royal Roads University, Victoria, BC ,Canada; Bachelor of Commerce in Entrepreneurial Management
- Boise State University, Master’s of Science Instructional and Performance Technology
Is there any advice you would give to a student or recent graduate?
Immerse yourself in the Society. Volunteer! It is the best way to meet key people. Most important, seek out the thought leaders–either at the conference or through our new collaborative community “ISPI Collaborate” and introduce yourself. You will be AMAZED at how willing they are to engage.
What company are you currently associated with and what is your title?
Canadian Forces Warfare Center, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Training Development Officer and Knowledge Management Officer
What is on your performance improvement bookshelf? (Top 20)
- HPT Handbook—Volume 2
- Improving Performance in the Workplace series
- A Manager’s Guide to Improving Performance
- Human Competence: Engineering Worthy Performance
- The Fifth Discipline
- First Things Fast
- A Practical Guide to Needs Assessment
- Diagnosing and Changing Organizations
- Telling Training’s Story
- Telling Ain’t training
- Analyzing Performance Problems
- The Mager Six Pack
- The Design of Everyday Things
- Beyond Training and Development
- Building Expertise
- Images of Organization
- Evaluation Methodologies
- Electronic Performance Support Systems
- Essential Ethnographic methods
- Who Moved My Cheese?
List one hobby or passion.