Welcome to the February issue of the Performance Improvement journal (PIJ). This issue of the journal, edited by James Pershing, CPT, PhD, is an introduction to the make-or-break month of New Year’s resolutions. He gives a nod to the Welsh, calling February the “little month.” With just 28 days in this month and a few days closer to THE Performance Improvement Conference, the journal opens with Dr. Pershing’s introduction to a two-part series, “On Writing.” He provides not only a good format for writing in the journal but also a good tutorial for writing a manuscript in general.

In this issue of PIJ, we also visit the performance improvement diagnostic models developed by David Wile, which are easy to use and give clarity when looking at performance issues in organizations. We then move onto a group of performance consultants who design and develop their own performance improvement infrastructure in “The Cobbler’s Children: Improving Performance Improvement at Amerigroup.” Next we welcome back, Roger Kaufman, a valued thinker and contributor to the performance improvement community. He advises begin the performance improvement process with a rigorous assessment to ensure our work adds value and contributes to organizational and societal success. This issue is then rounded up with James D. Klein and Sharon Jun of Florida State sharing the results of a research study to identify and empirically validate competencies of instructional design professionals; the findings of their study give value to those seeking to update their skill set.

On Writing: Part 1
James A. Pershing

I HAVE EDITED scores of articles for professional and academic journals as well as book chapters, technical reports, monographs, handbooks, theses, and dissertations. Most of these writings have dealt with topics in the social and behavioral sciences, including performance and instructional technologies. As an editor and mentor I have had many discussions about writing with new, experienced, and seasoned authors. For this treatise “On Writing,” I have two broad objectives. The first objective is addressed in this article, which is Part 1 of a 2-part series. It deals with a set of recurring questions that I am most often asked by authors about writing professionally and academically and provides general guidelines for writing clearly and concisely. The second objective is to provide explanations about the specific style requirements and rules for writing that are to be followed in preparing submissions for this International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) journal, Performance Improvement (PI). The second objective will be addressed in the next issue of PI and will be titled “On Writing: Part 2.”

Why Doers Do—Part 1: Internal Elements of Human Performance
David E. Wile

The externality-tangibility (E-T) model of human performance is a human performance technology (HPT) model that categorizes nine all-inclusive elements of HPT into families of elements that can be external or internal to a performer and tangible or intangible. This first installment of three looks at the internal factors: talents and skills or knowledge.

The Cobbler’s Children: Improving Performance Improvement at Amerigroup
LaToya M. Gilbert, Scott Weersing, Susan Patterson, Lisa Renee Fisher, and Carl Binder

A team of performance consultants at Amerigroup applied their chosen human performance technology (HPT) methodology, Six Boxes® Performance Thinking, to define their own performance, identify improvement opportunities, and build performance infrastructure in the form of clearer expectations and regular feedback, better processes and tools, and more relevant consequences, all while developing their own skills and knowledge and conducting client projects using the methodology. This article summarizes the context, process, and accomplishments to date, along with the lessons learned from this ongoing effort.

An Ounce of Good Assessment Is Worth a Pound of Analysis and a Ton of Cure
Roger Kaufman

While it is conventional, and comfortable to start professional performance improvement with analysis, doing so might make us wrong about 80% to 90% of the time. Analysis and cure, using Harless’s (1975) immortal insight, are vital, but starting there is problematic. First do an assessment to justify where the organization is headed (and why go there) and then analysis and cure will be powerful.

Skills for Instructional Design Professionals
James D. Klein and Sharon Jun

Competent instructional designers must have specific skills to successfully facilitate learning and to improve the performance of individuals and organizations. While some authors and professional organizations have identified the capabilities required for effective instructional designers, only a few have validated these skills by collecting data from actual practitioners. The purpose of this article is to discuss the results of a research study we conducted to identify and empirically validate competencies for instructional design professionals.

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