Presenter: Carl Binder

Since the early days in human performance technology (HPT), thought leaders have created models and methodologies, algorithms and tools to help practitioners analyze and improve the performance of people, processes, and organizations. We HPT professionals love our models and methodologies and continue to develop and refine them for greater precision and impact. When we attend THE Performance Improvement Conference April 14-17 in Reno, NV, we can be sure to learn about new refinements of old methods and more powerful tools for our toolboxes.

Like many technologists, we sometimes become so enamored with our technologies that we risk missing the forest for the trees, and turning off some of our less enthusiastic colleagues with complexity and detail. As one of my clients noted a while back, we sometimes have our noses so deep into our job aids that we forget to sit up, look around, and truly comprehend what is happening in the big picture.

That is where what our clients have named performance thinking can play an important part. With just two simple models–the Performance Chain  and the Six Boxes® Model of Behavior Influence — even those who are impatient with models and methodologies can understand and describe human performance and its drivers in ways that lead naturally to greater insight and actionable steps for improvement. With what we call performance improvement logic, performance professionals and their stakeholders can step through a thought process from analysis of valuable work outputs and how they contribute to business results, to configuration of ­plans to improve performance, all without leaving a plain English vocabulary.

At the pre-conference workshop called Introduction to Six Boxes Performance Thinking, we will present these models and logic in what amounts to a day-long structured conversation about human performance and the logic of performance improvement. Participants will see how this way of thinking can help consultants, executives, managers, and even individual contributors communicate with one another about performance and contribute to continuous improvement.

We expect a lively discussion at the 2013 conference, as we have been having in this workshop every year since 2005. With the plain language and logic of performance thinking, both beginners and advanced practitioners can gain new insights that will contribute to how they do their jobs for the rest of their careers. As one senior vice president at a Fortune 500 company told us a few years ago, “If what I’m about to do with my people doesn’t fit into what I’ve learned from this model, then I just don’t do it.”

We know that Six Boxes® performance thinking offers a vocabulary for talking about performance with anyone at any level in one’s work life, and even at home. That is why we think this approach both supports and in some ways “trumps” any specific HPT methodology, because it makes sense out of the whole thing, in a simple but powerful way. We hope to see you in Reno–the more the merrier!

Carl Binder, co-founder of the Performance Thinking Network received ISPI’s Honorary Lifetime Member award in 2009 and Gilbert Award in 2012. He is a thought leader in performance improvement, instructional design, evaluation, and organizational change, with many articles, chapters, and columns in ISPI’s publications. Download many of his publications at

Click here to learn more about this and more educational sessions at THE Performance Improvement Conference 2013 in Reno, NV April 14-17. Register today!