George Gu, Sinolearning, & Hui Ding, Reachone Management Consulting Co. Ltd.

On June 12, 2009, Mr. Zhang Ruimin, chairman & CEO of Haier, raised a billion-dollar question during his keynote speech at a Wharton Global Alumni Forum in Beijing:

China was once obsessed with MBA education, but the fever has now somewhat abated. The results of hiring MBA graduates have been poorer than expected. The main reason for this, in my view, is that MBA case studies are mainly focused on Western companies. There are very few on Chinese companies. And in China, we don’t have our own management theories yet. The other issue–and I think it’s a big one–is whether MBA graduates can operate well within the Chinese cultural context.

His point of view is very representative of the dilemma and confusion of many Chinese managers: Western theories are good, but how can we apply them well in China?

In our field, almost the same has happened to human performance technology (HPT). HPT is theoretical and pragmatic. However, when we follow the models and apply specific tools for performance projects in China, we found it very different than we have expected. Therefore, there is a need for us to create a new way of helping organizations improve their performance in China’s fast-growing economic environment.

After a few years of exploration, we developed the GPS-IE Double Navigation Performance Improvement System. During the past 3-5 years, we have implemented it at more than 10 companies and it worked.

GPS-IE Model; Source: Limin Gu & Hui Ding, SinoLearning & ReachOne, 2013

The GPS-IE model is developed on the basis of the classic HPT model published in 2004. But it applies different analysis tools and rules in the problem identification and needs assessment period. During this period, we put the clients in the center and make them the owner of the analysis and ask them to break down problems into three levels with our guidance. It is really more effective because the heads of companies are mostly arbitrary and it is hard to convince them if we have done the work for them instead.

In our presentation, we will introduce the GPS-IE system, its components, and how it works. Then we will depict how the performance improvement map is utilized in the the GPS-IE model. We will also demonstrate how to conduct Level 1, 2, and 3 problem analysis and why it is key to performance improvement. In a case study, the authors will introduce the background, customer needs, and how the GPS-IE model was adopted to solve the client’s problem. Finally, we will also share the experiences and differences of adopting the GPS-IE model and the HPT model in serving Chinese clients.

The 75-minute presentation will be mainly based on a project we conducted with the 3G VIP Service Center, China Unicom Hefei Branch in 2012. It is called China Unicom Hefei Branch 3G VIP Consultants Performance Improvement Project, which won the ISPI China’s Best Practice Award in 2013.

About the Authors

GeorgeGuMr. George Gu has been recognized with broad experience and expertise in learning and development and performance improvement. A current director at, he is also a frequent speaker at national and international forums and conferences.




HuiDingMr. Hui Ding has over 15 years’ experience and is not only a long-time learning development and performance improvement expert in China, but also an entrepreneur and a philanthropist.