Welcome to the first “official” HPIS C. blog piece. I say “Official” because Theory vs. Practice got its start from the last page of the quarterly newsletter – Toolbox. It is now time to find its true home on the website.
Back in March of 2008, I was completing my second course in the ASTD Human Performance Improvement Certificate series in Alexandria, VA. ASTD had recently moved into their new HQ home and the building was filled with a lot of excitement, energy and promise. Having been a national member since 1990, I was kind of in awe with being at the center of such a publicly accredited resource center.
The course did not disappoint. Somewhere in the morning of the 1st day, I had an epiphany that changed the path of my career. Actually, it was when we were knee-deep into cause analysis of performance problems that I declared that I wanted to do this full time. It took some time but by August of 2008, I got a set of business cards printed and then my home computer was struck by lightning! I am not kidding. It even fried the brand new printer and the garage door opener. Not the grand opening I expected and with ZERO support and 100% sole commission, I was off to Best Buy to purchase the emergency laptop since the real one was on order.
The HPI approach is much more than a fancy training fix, or an excuse to buy more time. Yes, it’s true that often the solution has a training component to it, but often the focus has evolved into something much more appropriate. What appeals to me with Human Performance Improvement, is that a trainer’s toolbox of solutions is so much bigger. The old expression, “when the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see everything as a nail” couldn’t be truer for trainers who deliver only courses. The cause analysis step in the HPI Methodology gives credence to conducting a root cause analysis specifically for humans and their work environment. The results of the analysis then provide insight as to how to resolve the gap(s). Notice I didn’t say that it provides the learning objectives for the course that management wants delivered. It is solution-agnostic until the end of the analysis period.
The HPI toolbox has 6 categories from which learning solutions typically are derived from. Not to be confused with Carl Binder’s 6 boxes, the ASTD HPI methodology adapted these from the 1996 work of Dean, Dean, and Rebalsky; albeit, both have strong origins to the father of human performance improvement, Thomas Gilbert who first captured the concept as Engineering Worthy Behavior. I highly recommend reading his work.
The *1996 study focused on analyzing employee perceptions about which workplace factors would most improve their performance. They categorized these factors into 6 key areas:
1.) PHYSICAL RESOURCES (the tangible tools and resources)
2.) STRUCTURE & PROCESS (Workflow factors of who and how)
3.) INFORMATION (effectiveness of data exchange between people a/o machines)
4.) KNOWLEDGE (skill related)
5.) MOTIVES (intrinsic to the performer; may or may not affect performance)
6.) WELLNESS (physical or emotional factors affecting performance)
HPIS Consulting was created on the basis of the HPI methodology. Using a structured process to uncover what gets in the way of employees performing their jobs, a true “training” root cause analysis can be conducted. The solutions are then project managed to fruition and evaluated for impact results.
So how does Vivian’s Robust Training Systems and HPI mesh?
The following diagram illustrates just how expansive today’s Performance Consultants toolbox can be. It was this vision back in March 2008 that got me so excited about where the Learning and Performance field can go. I say bring it on! -VB
Dean, PJ,Dean,MR,Rebalsky,RM. (1996) Performance Improvement Quarterly, 9(2), 75-89.
Gilbert, T. Engineering Worthy Behavior,
Wilmoth, Prigmore, Bray “HPT Models”, Performance improvement 41(8), 16-23.