JULY 2014
Volume 13, Number 3

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For more information on our best-selling, award-winning books, click HERE.

Need help with HPT terminology? Click HERE for The HSA Lexicon.

Click HERE to read our published articles.


Click HERE 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.

A Rose By Any Other Name...

Just 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 HERE 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 progress.

And, just remember: A rose by any other name... can cause confusion!

Erica and Harold


An 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 off the
expression below that best describes what you are doing:

Training your dog
Instructing your dog
Educating your dog

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.

Click HERE to continue reading.

An 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 essential?

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 organization.

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 Modeling

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 achievement.

Try it yourself - ask your senior managers and see what you get.

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.

China 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 reaction, enthusiastic.

Dr. Xiaofang Deng celebrating our successful set of HPI sessions

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 I conveyed.

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!

Harold 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.

Important 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. Exciting…exhausting…totally inspiring.

Harold 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…they responded 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.

HSA Celebrates 30 Year Anniversary!

It 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 SOLUTIONS LLC.

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!

Ramping Up for Telling Ain't Training for 2015

ASTD 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.


At HSA Learning & Performance Solutions LLC, we've seen a lot over the years.  We know the business of learning.  We know the role human performance plays in business success.  We know how to uncover and address needs, then create appropriate solutions.  We pride ourselves on helping organizations achieve high levels of performance - and success.  HSA is a leader in workplace learning and performance improvement.  Our proven learning and performance solutions have helped maximize employee performance at hundreds of organizations throughout the world.  Our principals, Harold D. Stolovitch and Erica J. Keeps, share a common passion - developing people. Together they have devoted a combined total of over 80 years to make workplace learning and performance both enjoyable and effective. Their dedication to improving workplace learning and performance is reflected in the workshops they run internationally on training delivery, instructional design and performance consulting. Together, they are co-editors of the first two editions of the Handbook of Human Performance Technology and co-authors of the best-selling, award-winning series of books Telling Ain't Training - Updated, Expanded and Enhanced, Training Ain't Performance, Beyond Telling Ain't Training Fieldbook and Beyond Training Ain't Performance Fieldbook published by ASTD Press. They are also co-authors of the Wiley/Pfeiffer Learning & Performance Toolkit Series.  To learn more, click HERE.

www.hsa-lps.com      info@hsa-lps.com      310.286.2722

© 2014 Harold D. Stolovitch and Erica J. Keeps