By Carol M. Panza

The Tbilisi conference was a memorable and enriching event according to those who participated!

ISPI EMEA conferences are unique learning and sharing events, and the 2013 conference in Tbilisi was no exception. Ask anyone who participated! In the meantime, we invite you to read the 2013 Tbilisi Conference Feedback Report by clicking on the this link. The report summarizes the feedback we received from participants in several ways, along with a few candid photos taken over the course of the three days from September 26-28, 2013.

ISPI EMEA has a tradition of taking photos throughout our conferences and making video recordings of conference highlights, with a focus on the comments and reactions of conference participants. If you would like to get a little taste of what it was like to be there, watch for the 2013 video to be posted soon on the ISPI EMEA website located at If you do not feel like reading the 2013 Feedback Report, do consider making time to watch the video when it is posted. For those with no time to read the report, nor the patience to wait for the video, following are some highlights of this year’s conference whose theme was “Improving Performance in Emerging Markets.”

Let me add here that ISPI EMEA was fortunate to partner with Chemonics and USAID in organizing this very successful event, where approximately 100 professionals from 13 countries came together to contribute their own personal skills, knowledge, and experience as they participated in conference events.

The simulation, which ran throughout the conference, featured a real case, as always. And, as in Skopje (2011) and Lisbon (2012), we were fortunate to have the actual client with us representing their organization, the National Center for Education Quality Enhancement (NCEQE). However, for the very first time, the situation and issues presented by our NCEQE client were “live.” Following is a comment we received by email from our simulation client:

“Thank you and the whole team that was working with us! Patrick, special thanks to you, as your primary interest in the NCEQE has moved this interesting project forward! This endeavor was quite timely for the Center, as it will help us in our plans to move the organization forward and develop its capacity.” — Simulation Client

Reactions from participants were, as always, uniformly positive.  Here is just one example:

“The simulation was incredibly valuable for me. At one point during our team’s work, we reached what appeared to be an impasse: two different groups endorsed a different process to be proposed to the client. We incorporated a cultural-difference technique of adopting the best of both processes, based on Hofstede’s research that resulted in a constructive and mutually satisfactory approach. I thought that we achieved a breakthrough by working across cultural differences. That was what I came for, the chance to experience working with a diverse group of talented individuals. I felt richly rewarded by the experience.”

Senior Executive Panel
This year’s Senior Executive Panel was expertly facilitated by Juan Pablo Ortiz. He worked with three  excellent panelists from very diverse backgrounds and three very different organizations–a university, a steel company, and a telecommunications company. Following is a comment received via email from one of our panelists:

“I hope that USAID considers disseminating the conference material to more organizations in Georgia that need to hear and learn about PI.” – Senior Executive Panelist

Participants made, and highly rated, the following comment via the We Achieve crowd sourcing tool (whose name has recently changed to Waggl). We used the tool before, during, and after the conference.

“Hearing directly from senior executives and getting some insight into what they face and how they think, was valuable.”

If you would like to learn more, please consider reading the 2013 Feedback Report or watch the video when it is posted. I would like to close with two comments made by conference participants. One comment was made by someone who was attending for the first time and because she was required to participate.

“I was commanded to come but very glad now that I was given this opportunity to participate in a forum for sharing performance improvement knowledge and tools on a very practical level in an international context and specifically recognizing the challenges in emerging markets.”

The other comment came from a frequent participant and presenter at ISPI EMEA conferences.

“I make the choice every year to invest in the ISPI EMEA conference because it is a uniquely valuable learning and sharing opportunity.”

We hope to see you at our next ISPI EMEA conference, scheduled for September 25-27, 2014, in Kiev, Ukraine!




CarolMPanzaAbout the Author
Carol M. Panza is a recognized expert in organization, process, and job analysis for effective, sustainable performance improvement. Carol uses organization mapping as a key analysis tool and is very experienced at helping others to build their analysis skills.

Carol was senior associate at Applied Performance Analysis and The Rummler Group before forming CMP Associates in 1985. She has worked with clients from a broad range of industries and countries during her long career and feels that the loyalty of her clients is the most important indicator of success.  Examples of a few of Carol’s clients include Exxon International – Tanker Department, Tandem Computers, Bell Communications Research, Indiana Bell Telephone, The Sherwin-Williams Company, National Vision, Cigna Dental Health, Glaxo Pharmaceuticals, Office Depot, and SAIC/Telcordia.

Carol is frequently invited to speak on performance topics domestically in the United States and internationally and has many published articles and book chapters. Her own book on organization mapping, entitled, Picture This…Your Function, Your Company, which was first published in 1989, continues to be a unique and useful resource.

She is very active professionally including two years on the Board of Directors of the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI). She is currently serving as president of the executive board of ISPI EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) and became chair of the board of directors for the International Federation of Training and Development Organizations (IFTDO) in January 2013.