Ingrid Guerra-López is a performance improvement professional with 15 years of practice, teaching, research, and service to the field. She is currently an associate professor of Performance Improvement and Training and director of the Institute for Learning and Performance Improvement at Wayne State University in Detroit. She is also principal at Intelligence Gathering Systems and associate research professor at the Sonora Institute of Technology in Mexico. She has authored 19 manuscripts for ISPI publications, including PIQ, PIJ, PX, the Handbook of Human Performance Technology, and the Handbook of Improving Performance in the Workplace. Ingrid has consulted in the area of evaluation, needs assessment and analysis, and performance measurement and management for private and public organizations, including GM; Daimler-Chrysler; Daimler Financial; MetLife; U.S. Naval Education and Training Command; State of Ohio, Amway International; USAID; and UNESCO. She has also provided performance improvement coaching to leaders throughout the world (United States, Spain, China, Portugal, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Puerto Rico). Ingrid’s research is focused on improving management decision making through data usage, particularly through performance measurement systems and key performance indicators. Her research has resulted in five published books, over 30 articles, and 12 book chapters. She has also published in Spanish, disseminating performance improvement throughout Latin America. As a professor at Wayne State University’s Instructional Technology program, one of the oldest and most respected programs in our field, Ingrid educates and mentors future performance improvement practitioners and academics. She has introduced dozens of students to ISPI who have become members, volunteers on committees, presenters at annual conferences, and authors in ISPI publications.
How long have you been a member of ISPI and what chapter are you a part of?
I have been part of ISPI for about 15 years now. While I am not affiliated with any one chapter, Michigan has an amazing chapter, and I am fortunate enough to have been invited to participate on a few occasions.
What was your first performance improvement–related job?
An evaluation of a leadership program for one of the U.S. military branches…learned a lot not only about evaluation, but also about how to function in this type of environment, what happens when your clients don’t like what the data indicates, and the power of politics and agendas…
Which college(s) did you attend and which program(s)?
Florida State University’s Instructional Systems Design. I had the amazing fortune to have Roger Kaufman as chair of my doctoral committee, and amazing professors like Robert Morgan, Robert Reiser, Walt Dick, Robert Branson, Marcy Driscoll, and Walt Wager.
What company are you currently associated with and what is your title?
I am currently an associate professor at Wayne State University’s Instructional Technology program and also director of the Institute for Learning and Performance Improvement. The school’s website is http://coe.wayne.edu
What is on your performance improvement bookshelf?
HRD 6-pack series…a series of books written by Roger Kaufman (Change, Choices, and Consequences), Dale Brethower (Performance Analysis), Bob Carlton (Implementation and Management of Performance Improvement Plans), Ryan Watkins (System Design), Richard Gerson (Achieving High Performance), and yours truly (Evaluation of Performance Interventions).
List one hobby or passion.
My hobby is running…I take my running shoes on every trip I take, and have gotten a chance to run (and occasionally trip and fall) all over the world. I have a passion for writing…while I do enjoy academic and professional writing, I absolutely love writing existential types of pieces…a la Hermann Hesse and Albert Camus.
How did you get into the performance improvement field?
Someone from the Instructional Systems Design faculty came to talk about instructional and performance systems design to our behavioral analysis group (we studied under John Bailey at Florida State University), and I thought that was a logical next step for me. I started my graduate work at FSU’s ISD program and enjoyed it, however, it wasn’t until I took Roger Kaufman’ s course on strategic thinking and planning that the light bulb went off, and I got really excited about the possibilities of doing truly meaningful work that would add value to the world in an important way.
What is your favorite performance improvement–related project and why?
I wouldn’t necessarily point one project out; however, I would point out that the common characteristics of my best projects are the willingness and openness of clients and stakeholders to look at themselves in an honest way and be proactive in learning, improving, and growing, even if it means rocking some boats. It isn’t easy, but if there is a genuine will in their part, they find a way to make positive and required change happen…we play a key role in providing the relevant and convincing evidence that helps them clearly weigh the costs and consequences of not only for achieving “what should be,” but also for ignoring it.
Why did you choose to become a member of ISPI? What do you think sets ISPI apart from other organizations?
I chose to become a member of ISPI while I was still a student. I simply wanted to join because most of the figures in the field that I respected were members…I wanted to be near them, learn from them, even if it was through a casual conversation on the way to a presentation. I remember being so excited to go to their conference presentations, even if it was too crowded to get a seat.