14, Number 4
To contact us, click HERE.
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!
November 2-3, 2015
ATD Telling Ain't Training Event, New Orleans, LA
March 7-8, 2016
ATD 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.
When was the last time you actually took a vacation...a real vacation?
We aren't talking about a weekend getaway or even a week off work
on a staycation.
An important contributor to performance on the job is how one spends
time off the job. Many individuals fail to use their allotted and
paid-for vacation time. When asked why, the answer often is "I
just can't get away" or "I am in the middle of a big project"
or simply "No time". Millions of vacation days go unused!
According to a study conducted by Oxford Economics in 2013, American
workers took 23 percent fewer paid-for vacation days than in 2000.
According to internal research by audit firm EY (formerly Ernst
& Young), "employees who use more vacation days end up
with better performance
reviews. Taking vacations can also help slow down employee turnover,
saving companies the cost and effort of recruiting and training
new hires. Other research
has linked vacation time to increased worker productivity (http://www.cnbc.com/2014/10/23/unused-vacation-days-at-40-year-high.html)."
According to the Wall Street Journal blog, Americans are throwing
away $52.4 billion every year because they won't take time off from
work. The article goes on to state that " Not only does our
collective reluctance to go on vacation result in burnout, it can
also affect firms' financial results, saddling U.S. businesses with
$224 billion in liabilities for accumulated employee vacation time."
While workers, on average, have almost 21 days paid vacation time
per year, they only use about 16. That is 5 days fewer than provided!
What if we took time off to rest, refresh and enjoy new experiences?
Is it possible that we may return to work with a clearer mind and
with innovative perspectives? Absolutely!
One of the exciting parts of travel is meeting new people, whether
they be locals, tourists or fellow travelers. These encounters can
be a source of networking as well as new ideas. Often, people we
meet on our journeys become friends and/or colleagues. They enrich
our lives in numerous ways. When we travel internationally, we experience
different cultures and customs. Contacts of this nature can frequently
lead us to better understanding the diverse groups of employees
within our organizations as well as the customers with whom we interact.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if companies provided sabbaticals as the
universities do? Highly unlikely this will happen in the near future.
However, we ourselves have the ability to take our own mini sabbaticals
- at least five more days than we currently do. Let's commit to
using our full vacation time next year. Your family will thank you
for it! So will your boss!
Erica and Harold
A Little Known Secret About Harold and Erica
probably already knew that besides being colleagues and business
partners, we are also husband and wife! What you may not know,
however, is that we are also IATA card carrying, home-based
travel specialists. We've been booking travel for over 12
How did this happen? Initially by accident, then by design.
We were sending our associates out on projects all over the
globe. One day, having just booked travel for over a dozen
trips, we decided that we should get compensated for our hours
of research and labor. A neighbor, whom we knew was a travel
agent, explained to us the notion of home-based travel agents.
In retrospect, we believe it was a precursor to the Uber or
Lyft concept of today. We signed on with our neighbor's host
agency and received their documentation and a list of training
dates. Let us say that we were less than impressed with their
documents, handbooks, training materials, tools and website.
After attending our first training session, we were convinced
the agency needed help.
What to do? Look elsewhere? We did some investigation, only
to discover that the agency with which we had signed up was
actually a lot better than most. The owner/director was a
true SME with over 40 years of travel expertise. His core
staff was made up of wonderful travel experts who knew their
content areas. They were always available to assist agents.
Unfortunately, they knew very little about how to help motivated
individuals (many of them professionals like us) learn and
perform. As we were excited about gaining more knowledge and
capability about travel and they obviously needed help, why
not offer to help improve their performance? CONTINUE
Oldie but Goodie
"Small changes in behavior, large changes in performance,"
a statement that has demonstrated its validity over and over
again throughout human history. It's amazing how use of simple
words such as "please" and "thank you"
powerfully affect the way we view and deal with individuals.
Miniscule variations in the amounts of spices we apply in
food preparation very strongly influence the taste of a dish.
In the workplace, small changes in the environment or our
work and social habits can generate tremendous impact on the
productivity of people.
A number of research studies and reports have catalogued
the seriously negative effect task interferences and distractions
create on worker behavior. (See, for example, Chad Brooks'
brief article, "10
Distractions That Kill Workplace Productivity" in
the June 15, 2015 issue of Business News Daily.) And
yet, it's not hard to make "small changes" that
can result in major productivity gains.
A few years, I wrote an article, "Task Interference:
The Silent Performance Killer" (Workplace Performance
Solutions , July 2007) that documented some of the egregious
examples of task interference and how much time is actually
lost due to the small, seemingly insignificant factors that
are endemic to our work environments. Interested in eliminating
these toxic elements from your organization? READ
this oldie but still goodie for insights on how you can make
those little changes that can lead to very large productivity
Handbook of Training and Development
Insightful. Definitive. The second edition ASTD
Handbook is the most valuable resource you can own
as a training and development professional. Written by 96
of the best and brightest thinkers in the field and edited
by Elaine Biech, its 55 chapters cover everything you need
to know about the profession today.
HSA's very own Harold Stolovitch and Erica Keeps' chapter,
"The Occasional Trainer: What You Must Know to Help Others
Learn," can be read HERE.
The second edition ASTD Handbook can be purchased
for $145 or $105 for ATD members. For more information, visit
Guest Author Series
time to time, we encounter interesting people in our work
whom we feel have something important to share with others.
Our Guest Author Series includes writings and outright articles
by these professional colleagues. The latest contribution
in our series is by Charlie Pellerin, PhD (physics). He is
an inventor, research astrophysicist, program director (NASA's
Astrophysics Division for a decade) and President of a human
development company, 4-D
Systems. He is the author of How
NASA Builds Teams (Wiley 2009). We asked him to share,
in an informal way, how he became the well-known figure he
is. Kindly, he has produced a reminiscence of his days at
NASA, his strange journey from seeming failure to great success
and the discoveries he made along the way. Charlie can be
reached at email@example.com.
By Charlie Pellerin
Note: In the spirit of "there are no accidents,"
about a month ago, my colleague, Sharon Gu, came from Beijing
to assist me with a workshop in Pasadena for a NASA/Jet Propulsion
Laboratory team. On Sunday, Sharon invited me to join her
and some "respected consultants" for lunch and an
afternoon at the Norton Simon, a wonderful art museum. Near
the end of the day, I realized that I knew Harold and Erica
as the authors of one of the most influential books in my
journey into the overwhelming power of (social) context. Indeed,
Training Ain't Performance was my first insight into the power
of "environment" with the impactful story of "Harry's
NOW, HOW THIS ALL BEGAN...