13, Number 3
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For more information on our best-selling, award-winning books,
Need help with HPT terminology? Click HERE
for The HSA Lexicon.
to read our published articles.
to read the latest Ask Harold question and Harold's response
or ask a question of your own!
July 28-29, 2014
ASTD Training Ain't Performance Event, San Francisco, CA
September 9-10, 2014
ASTD Telling Ain't Training Event, Seattle, WA
October 13-14, 2014
ASTD Training Ain't Performance Event, Chicago, IL
October 23-24, 2014
ASTD Telling Ain't Training Event, Denver, CO
November 4-5, 2014
ASTD Telling Ain't Training Event, Washington, DC
December 11-12, 2014
ASTD Telling Ain't Training Event, Atlanta, GA
For details about these events, click HERE
To learn more about engaging Harold Stolovitch to speak at
your organization, click HERE
Harold Stolovitch and Erica Keeps are Certified Performance
Technologists (CPT). The CPT designation is awarded by the
International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) to
experienced practitioners in the field of organizational performance
improvement, whose work meets both the performance-based Standards
of Performance Technology and application requirements. For
more information, visit www.ispi.org.
Rose By Any Other Name...
the other day we were discussing the necessity for precise language
to achieve desired communication and outcomes. How often do we search
our memory for a word in our vast vocabulary reservoir? "Senior
Moment" comes to mind as the usual excuse for not being able
to access the exact word we are searching. BTW, senior moments are
not reserved just for seniors! As if there are not already more
words than anyone at any age could reasonably handle, new words
and terms are created daily. Some even make it to standard dictionaries
-"twerking," "selfies" and "conscious uncoupling"
come to mind.
Every field of study and practice has its own terminology/jargon
and/or uses familiar terms in very specific ways. In this issue
our main article addresses four fundamental words related to our
work. Discriminating among these specialized terms helps us to do
our jobs better and communicate with one another more effectively.
We hope that you will take the time to read this article and do
the exercises contained within. Think of it as a vocabulary lesson!
A few years back, we created a lexicon of over 100 terms related
to workplace learning and performance. It was only a start. Click
to gain access to the lexicon. We encourage our readers to send
us terms they would like to see included. This is still a work in
And, just remember: A rose by any other name... can cause confusion!
Erica and Harold
Introduction to Some Familiar Terms
By Harold D. Stolovitch and Erica J. Keeps
Training...instruction...education...learning. These are
words we often used interchangeably. When we analyze the words,
however, we discover that each conveys a unique meaning. Individually
and combined, these four activities give us power to build
different types of skills and knowledge. Let's examine each
of these words and begin to build a very valuable vocabulary.
You are trying to get your dog to sit at your command. Check
expression below that best describes what you are doing:
You probably chose "training your dog" because it
seems to fit best. The other two sound somewhat strange when
applied to animals. If we dig deeper, we realize that, when
training a dog, what we want is for it to perform something
specific and precise. We also want the dog to do it on command
and without variation. You say, "sit," the dog sits.
The more effective the training, the more accurately and rapidly
the dog responds.
In "training," our purpose is to create a change
in learners (including dogs) that they consistently reproduce
without variation. Through intense training, the learner becomes
increasingly able to reproduce the learned behavior with fewer
errors, greater speed, and under more demanding conditions.
to continue reading.
Oldie but a Goodie
By Harold D. Stolovitch
Several years ago, I ran into a nasty situation. A high tech
company client had pulled together a team to develop competency
models for a number of key positions. In the introduction
to the final report, which took many months to produce, the
team defined the term "competency" as the members
understood it. She then passed the report to me for "editing,"
meaning give my blessing to this document that was to be submitted
to senior management in a few days. Much to my discomfort
(this is a kind word), I found that what the report had defined
as competency was a mish-mash of concepts including "knowledge,"
"skill," "value," "characteristic,"
"experience," and a number of other terms. Worse,
among the so-called "competencies" in the models
that the well-meaning team members had produced, I found a
large number of inferences and assumptions about what a person
in each job classification was required to possess in order
to perform well. By this, I mean that the competency model
for a technical sales person, for example, required excellent
speaking skills or a systems administrator, strong networking
experience. Where did these come from? They may have sounded
logical, but were they really necessary? Why? Is experience
a competency? How do we know that excellent oral skills are
Needless to say, my client was furious with me for raising
these questions and branded me with the dreadful "ivory
tower academic" label. I was banished from the scene
and only called back a year or so later, after she had departed
The following "Oldie but Goodie" article entitled,
"A Performance Alternative to Competency Modeling,"
was the result of that experience. It was published in the
July 2007 edition of Talent Management magazine. I
bring it back to your attention because of a recent, similar
experience. However, this time, we were able to intervene
early. We conducted performance-based job analyses and developed
performance maps that became the bases for a wide range of
activities aimed at obtaining high performance from both new
employees and incumbents. To discover more, read on.
A Performance Alternative to Competency
I've yet to run across an organization that doesn't want
"competent" people. When I ask what this means,
the response range is astonishing: knowledgeable; highly skilled
in what they do; experienced; the right values; a combination
of knowledge, skills and characteristics that leads to high
Try it yourself - ask your senior managers and see what you
The diversity of definitions for competent and the varied
understandings of this key term often lead to time-wasting,
costly activities and elaborate competency models that don't
result in desired performance.
To read the rest of "A Performance Alternative to Competency
Modeling," click HERE.
in the Spring
By Harold D. Stolovitch
What a wonderful experience and opportunity, spending two
weeks in China sharing our fields of Human Learning and Performance
Improvement with eager business learners of every kind! It
started with an invitation to be the closing keynote speaker
at the Tenth China Enterprise Training & Development Annual
Conference, but soon morphed into what turned out to be a
series of very fortunate, exciting events.
The Background: Dr. Xiaofang Deng of Beijing Bona China-America
Management Consulting Co., Ltd. is a former doctoral student
of mine from the University of Southern California. Her consulting
firm deals with a multitude of Chinese and foreign companies,
helping them in areas of human resource management, training
and coaching, and other "people" related activities
such as planning, decision-making and various program implementations.
She and her dedicated team have garnered a strong reputation
as effective professionals who help clients achieve high performance
through people. She became the official go-between for inviting
me to speak at this conference which hosts more than 2,000
participants over a three-day period. Our discussions soon
led to a proposed round of ambitious programs and meetings
with business leaders. By the time I arrived in Beijing, the
start of my China adventure, I was booked (next morning) to
speak to over 400 attendees at a special forum on Improving
Human Performance in the Workplace. Little did I realize that
I was the only speaker. From an event, the so-called "Forum"
transformed into a happening. Forty graduate students from
various universities welcomed and guided the attendees, then
came on stage to introduce themselves and describe what they
were learning.They next
broke into song and entertained the audience with joyful,
inspiring lyrics. I was the next act. For two hours, I had
the opportunity to get the participants involved in interactive
activities, focused on deriving fundamental principles of
human performance. The Q&A was intense and exciting, the
Xiaofang Deng celebrating our successful set of HPI
Following this introduction to the style of Chinese learning
events, I found myself leading an evening of discussion and
activity on human performance at work with over 60 corporate
senior managers. Sprinkled in were government officials and
mayors of nearby cities. What excited me most was the openness
of the people and the enthusiastic reception to the messages
A day later, feeling more prepared by my two previous experiences,
I launched into a three-day seminar on Human Performance Improvement
for Business Results. There were 60 participants.
All worked hard for the three days. Lots of interaction, questioning,
challenges and best of all, great group generated ideas and
plans. I was awesomely impressed with the discipline of the
participants. Although we concluded each day at 5:00 p.m.,
they remained behind in groups at each of the ten tables,
for one hour more, to discuss what they had learned and how
they could apply this to their own work settings. Each day
began with Tai-Chi exercises. For an educator - which is essentially
what I am - it was an amazingly rewarding experience!
warming up for the day with Tai-Chi
The keynote in Nanjing, two days later, also went well. Even
though I cannot speak Mandarin, Xiaofang and her partner-brother,
Deng Zhen (aka Bruce) once again, alternately assumed the
challenging role of "lively interpreter" as we had
practiced in our previous sessions. They stood and moved in
harmony with me, interpreting my body language as well as
my words. We were virtually "simultaneous." How
we worked together reminded me of a production of the Huckleberry
Finn play, Big River, done in both spoken word and
sign language as, for each role, two actors melded together
to become one. Despite the huge audience, we had great interaction
and Q&A. Several hundred individuals remained after the
keynote and closing remarks to meet, greet, mingle and interact.
to note is that three of our books, Telling Ain't Training,
Training Ain't Performance and Beyond Training Ain't
Performance Fieldbook have recently been published in
Chinese. I must have signed over 500 books during the visit
and posed in hundreds of photos with eager, interested individuals.
at one of a number of book signings
Then, on to Shanghai where I had the pleasure of addressing
a group of 34 CEOs at the Asia America Management Association.
I asked them if they wouldn't mind becoming doctoral students
and interacting with me as if we were at a doctoral seminar.
They jumped in with enthusiasm. I challenged
and challenged back. We engaged in a free-for-all that allowed
me to present research in a broad range of fields and to demonstrate
how this impacted them directly. They became so engaged in
the dialog that when our time was up, they insisted on continuing.
Once again, the theme of human Performance Improvement for
Business Results captured their imaginations. Individual discussions,
after the session, overflowed with ideas and action plans.
Was the journey to China worthwhile? For me, overwhelmingly
"Yes!" For the participants of the various events,
early comments have been wonderfully positive. I have been
invited back for more seminars this coming November. We are
already engaged in a follow-up mentoring program from the
seminar. More long-term plans are in the works to increase
the visibility and influence of Human Performance Improvement/Technology
in a land that is eager to advance and improve. The approach,
the tools and the research base appear to have found receptive
ears and hearts in China. It was a privilege to have lived
this initial experience.
Celebrates 30 Year Anniversary!
is incredibly hard to believe, but HSA is now 30 years old.
Originally founded in Canada, the consulting firm was registered
as Harold D. Stolovitch & Associates Ltd. (HSA). When
the principals of the firm, Harold and Erica, moved from Montreal
to Los Angeles, the American company was created. Adopting
the already familiar HSA from the Canadian name, the American
consulting organization became HSA LEARNING & PERFORMANCE
Still going strong, HSA has worked with over 1,000 client
organizations in over 10 countries. When asked what our exit
strategy is, we frequently reply "What exit strategy?"
While we are getting old, or is the politically correct term
"older," we will likely continue consulting, presenting
and writing for as long as our passion endures. A special
thanks to all of you with whom we have had the pleasure of
working since 1984!
Up for Telling Ain't Training for 2015
is already booking Telling Ain't Events for next year. There
will be one in Austin, TX on March 2 and 3 and another in
Louisville, KY on April 13 and 14. The goal is two-fold: 1)
bring the event closer to you and 2) offer an interesting
destination. It is never too early to plan to attend and to
budget for your training and development. Click HERE
to learn more about Telling Ain't Training, view a video with
facilitator, Harold Stolovitch, and hear first-hand from past
participants. To view our 2014 events, click HERE.