Interview with Dr. Stolovitch

Posted by on May 25, 2013 in Articles & Reviews, Case Studies | No Comments

Dr. Stolovitch: Researcher, Professor, Expert HPT Advisor and Author
Featured Guest Speaker for EDCI 528

First, what a delightful presenter! Dr. Stolovitch discussed his personal history, the state of HPT today, his research work, getting a job in ID or HPT, “selling” HPT to others in your organization, and more. I really loved his pragmatic and honest approach to all things HPT. He started out telling us about his early years and the realization that learning and work were a means of survival. He shared his experiences into adulthood and the realization that we (as a collective) need to start focusing primarily on valued performance in the workplace. Dr. Stolovitch had many witty and insight statements such as “move beyond interventions” and make sure you understand the “seduction of technology because the most important thing is what you do with it”. His suggestions for novices included align with organizations, get involved, and volunteer as an intern.

Dr. Stolovitch stated that 70% of performance issues has much more to do with the “person” not the product or service they are selling. He impressed upon me to focus on fundamentals, to stop linear thinking and become more systemic. He pointed out that we should not focus on the instant success of quarterly reports because that is very short-term thinking. He warned about the confusion of expecting a good job just because you get an education. He pointed out that a newly hired person can be poorly positioned in the market place because the product is “crap” not the new hire.

In the banking case study, Dr. Stolovitch shared a good example of focusing on HPT and the incredible ROI. He said “Look at end result! Now work backwards.” He walked us through the thinking. For example: what is the discrepancy? Compare to end result. Don’t start with current state. What is the desired result? Where are we now? See Gaps.

I think the most important take-away is to focus on how to solve the issue. Set down a set of criteria and standards. His example with the call center was helpful in illustrating this. Hypothetically he stated that currently 20% of calls go round-round or are not routed properly. What if we could cut that to 5%? This is the criteria of success/acceptability. Review complaints and find a target number to reduce complaints and then set up success factors through dialogues. It does not mean training is not required. Start with your “most compliant client” to work together toward success. Let the client tell you what is helping. Create marketing materials for a “Show and tell”- show what you are offering and show successes.

In regards to grading, graduate school and success, I thought it was a very interesting dialogue. Graduate schools accept students based on the highest criteria of success and then the students don’t have a choice to not succeed. This is done by having clear objectives, clear assignments, methods of evaluation, grading system, and feedback on work is critical. Allow re-work and re-submit to get to 80% – no failures. I thought these were all very good points for understanding graduate performance expectations!

In closing, it was extremely refreshing to have a presenter point out and illustrate real-life applications of how to use our degree. It was also encouraging to hear Dr. Stolovitch’s views on how important it is to market yourself and prove your successes to the client without using the word “training”!

Stolovitch, H. D., & Keeps, E. J. (2004). Training Ain’t Performance. Alexandria, VA: ASTD Press.


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