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  • January 08, 2022 11:22 AM | Steven Monroe (Administrator)

    I created this video to help my managers learn the difference between System or Source related to employee issues. Check it out! Steve

  • July 31, 2021 10:58 AM | Steven Monroe (Administrator)

    I needed to send a small envelope containing a thumb drive with training material on it so I went to our local small Shipping Office rather than the Post Office. I rarely have any issues when mailing out of this business, but that was not the case with my thumb drive. All was well sending it until it returned with a stamp stating not enough postage. I thought I got off pretty cheap when sending it. I went back to the Shipping Office and showed the individual behind the counter what happened and they had no clue what to do. The manager was not around to ask so they suggested I go to the Post Office for help. In the end it turned out the lack of postage was due to the bulkiness of the envelope containing the thumb drive. Later, when walking away from the Post Office I wondered why my local small Shipping Office didn’t know what the Post Office knew – they should be the experts as well. In retrospect, I think I should have suggested the individual who messed up my mailing use their Three Lifelines to problem solve my situation.  

     Taken from the hit show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, lifelines are used by contestants when a question becomes difficult to answer.  While there are many variations of lifelines used by the show over these many years, as I teach in my customer service classes, my suggestion for those who wish to problem solve a customer’s request are (1) Ask a Friend, (2) Ask the Audience, or (3) Ask an Expert.  

    Ask a Friend.   

    Ask a Friend, or in our case, ask a coworker should be the first people we check in with when attempting to problem solve a customer’s difficult request. If you do not know the answer, do not guess or attempt to make stuff up. I have seen people on the counter do that and it is not pretty, and it never ends well for them or the customer. So ask a friend/co-worker. That one is easy unless you are the only one on the counter. Then you might want to Ask the Audience!  

    Ask the Audience.  

    To Ask the Audience relative to our customer service scenario on the counter means to ask the Customer.  During the early days of my sales experience, I did not have a lot of knowledge about our products. Whenever my co-worker or manager were not around, I would ask the next best person who should know - the customer. I learned more about the products I sold when talking to customers. Yes, I did play the “new guy” card in an attempt to save face and garner some sympathy from the customer, but more often than not, the customer would run with it and help me out. Customers are a great source of information. However, if your customer is clueless, and many of mine were, I would Ask the Expert.  

    Ask the Expert.  

    Asking the Expert for those of us selling products to our customers means to call the vendor. I cannot be the only one who has spent hours on the phone with the vendor problem solving product issues for customers! While there are good vendors and horrible vendors, they are still a good source of information. Additionally, using a vendors catalog would sometimes offer the customer positive results. I used them frequently and often!  

    I hope the next time you find yourself lost and confused when attempting to help your customer, do not fake it, remember your Three Lifelines, Ask a Friend, Ask the Audience or Ask the Expert; in time you will become the one your coworkers come to for a lifeline.  

  • March 02, 2021 2:31 PM | Deleted user

    Our Blog has been quiet from some time.  We are looking to bring it back to life.  

    We are looking for topics of interest to discuss.  What would YOU like to discuss or what information would you like to obtain?  

    Is there a Performance Improvement Tool you'd like to discuss or find out more information on the topic?   Comment here in this blog and we'll see what we can put together.

  • July 31, 2019 1:36 AM | Jie Chen (Administrator)

    Individuals are sought to participate in the Watson-Glaser II Critical Thinking Appraisal in an effort to profile critical thinking characteristics present in performance improvement practitioners.  The link to the survey will remain open until July 24th or once 150 responses have been received.  Individuals remain anonymous; data collected are presented in aggregate form.

    Study Title:  Critical Thinking in Performance Improvement Practitioners

    Seeking Performance Improvement Practitioners:  You are invited to be part of a research study. The researcher, Leanne Jensen, is a doctoral learner at Capella University in the School of Education enrolled in Training & Performance Improvement.  Dr. Kevin Freer is the study’s advisor can be reached by email with further questions.

    WHAT IS THIS STUDY ABOUT?  The researcher wants to find out what critical thinking attributes and strengths are present in performance improvement practitioners.  If you are interested in participating, the survey link can be accessed at   

    Please allow 30 minutes to take the survey.  The average participant takes 22 minutes to complete.

    For further information, please contact:

    Researcher:  Leanne Jensen

    Email Address and Telephone Number: (425-405-0758)

    Research Supervisor: Dr. Kevin Freer

    Email Address:

  • July 19, 2017 11:09 PM | Jie Chen (Administrator)

    July 19, 2017

    To All ISPI Bay Area/Boise State Members,

    Our chapter is growing and changing!  The purpose of this email is to let you know about some changes that are occurring.  First of all, Grayley McWatters will be taking on the role of President in September!  He has been making great contributions in his VP of Marketing Role and is ready to take on some more! 

    Also Lulu Esau has just recently joined us as the Finance Chair.  We welcome Lulu into this role and are looking very forward to working with her.

    I will continue being active in the chapter as the Membership Chair.  Please congratulate Grayley and Lulu on their new positions!

    As you know the strength of the chapter comes from all the active volunteers who put the programs together, help with membership, and take care of the finances as well as the routine business tasks of running the chapter.

    As students and working professionals we understand how difficult it is to take on an extra role as a part of the board.  So we have come up with a different idea to help you help us and make our chapter even better!

    Our current organization has basically been run by the following roles and people for the past two years and we are all grateful to each other for their service to the chapter.

    • President—Sue Czeropski
    • President Elect—Grayley McWatters
    • VP of Finance—Acting Sue Czeropski
    • VP of Membership—Acting Sue Czeropski
    • VP of Information Technology—Ieva Swanson
    • VP of Marketing/Programs—Jie Chen/Grayley McWatters

    We have put our heads together and have come up with a different volunteer model based on Tasks which basically eliminates the VP role and turns the role into a chair role. In this new model, the Chapter is run by the President, President Elect, Chairpersons and our Honorable Members who have played seminal roles in ISPI and act as advisors to our chapter.  Refer to Figure 1.

    Figure 1:  Model of the ISPI BABS Chapter:

    Chairs are responsible for:  

    • Recruiting members to do tasks
    • Manage tasks/people
    • Report into Board meeting
    • Find a replacement chair for the following year

    In exchange for the chair services, the chapter will pay for a silver membership to ISPI International for each year they take on the chair role.  The benefits of being a silver member of ISPI include:

    •      Bronze membership benefits
    •      Knowledge Center dashboard, messaging and communication
    •      Knowledge Center podcasts
    •      Opportunities to volunteer at the international level
    •      Limited number of articles from PIQ and PIJ
    •      Special pricing on professional liability, health, dental, life, long-term care and automobile insurance (For U.S. residents only)

    We have created a “Task Book” which defines the tasks that the chair needs to find volunteers for.  All tasks have been defined by what needs to be done and the amount of time it takes to do the task.  Some tasks take as little as 15 min. per month and some tasks take on more time. The Task Book is a working document.  More tasks may be added as we grow.  An example of a task is below:

    What we need each of our members to do is:

    • Review the task book
    • Based on the time you may have available choose a task that you could take ownership of
    • Contact the chair person in charge
    • Get started!

    There are plenty of opportunities for you to get involved and give back to the chapter!  We are looking to each and every one of our members to share the work load, collaborate and get more actively involved with the chapter!  

  • March 06, 2017 1:36 AM | Jie Chen (Administrator)

    YOU ARE INVITED TO JOIN US IN A FREE WEBINAR: Friday, March 03, 11:30 AM 12:30 CST

    Experience leading edge know-how in a webinar with our Key Note Speaker Gary Cokins.

    If you are interested to understand an Executive perspective on performance improvement and take an integrated view across different approaches, then you will not want to miss this webinar.

    Please register for ISPI Gary Cokins Webinar on Mar 3, 2017 11:30 AM CST at:

    After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
    Learn the following in this mind challenging event. 

    Announcement Webinar Gary Cokins.pdf

  • January 09, 2017 11:16 PM | Jie Chen (Administrator)

    Please congratulate our our very own member Margo Murray who recently learned she has been awarded the Geary Rummler Award for the Advancement of Performance Improvement, by the International Society for Performance Improvement!

    We are so proud of her!!!

  • December 22, 2016 11:59 AM | Jie Chen (Administrator)

    The annual Oyster Barrel event was back by popular demand! ISPI Bay Area/Boise State Chapter’s face-to-face event “Oyster Barrel” was successfully held on October 22, 2016 at the Petaluma Training Center in Northern California, which was generously supported by the US Coast Guard. We invited many performance improvement professionals in and beyond Northern California. As usual, we had a give-away, with books donated by local authors in the performance improvement field. People got to know others and share work and other interests while enjoying beverage, oysters, and other grilled food.

    We were so thrilled that 31 people in total joined us to connect, catch up, network, exchange ideas, build community, and - of course- eat, and have fun in this annual event. There were so many great moments we would like to share with you!

  • December 21, 2016 12:07 AM | Jie Chen (Administrator)

    ISPI needs 30 volunteers each year to help make THE Performance Improvement Conference a success. Volunteering is a great way to network while getting a behind-the-scenes look at the conference and earning a conference discount. Volunteering is open to all conference attendees.
    Volunteers are eligible for the special discount of $450. In exchange, volunteers are expected to work 8-10 hours for one day of Conference. Volunteers must sign the volunteer agreement and must also be a Silver or Gold Level member of ISPI. Hurry & register now. We only need 30 volunteers and spots fill fast! Click here to log in & register.

    Save $400 by Becoming a Conference Volunteer.

    Volunteers assist and support the below key areas of the conference:

    Registration volunteers are responsible for welcoming attendees and distributing registration materials. Attendees will expect you to have the answer to everything, so familiarize yourself with the conference schedules, the Conference Onsite Guide, the conference mobile app, room locations, etc.

    Registration: 4 hours

    Room Monitors: 3 hours

    As a session monitor, you will liaise with the speakers to ensure they have all necessary equipment, welcome attendees as they enter the session room, provide a session headcount, and provide evaluation information to attendees. Room monitors are assigned to one room for one day, and may request a certain theme or track to liaise; while ISPI will try to honor all requests, requests are not guaranteed.

    Hospitality: 4 hours

    Hospitality volunteers need to be very familiar with the conference schedule; special events, restaurants, and other items that you believe will contribute to an overall positive conference experience including information about the conference for first-time attendees. Hospitality volunteers will assist with special events and setup throughout the Conference.

    Tabling Volunteer: 4 hours

    Exhibit Hall volunteers are responsible for checking in and assisting exhibitors and encouraging participants to visit the Hall.

    Traffic Direction Volunteer

    Traffic Direction volunteers are responsible for giving directions to conference attendees at posts throughout the conference facility. Attendees will expect you to have the answer to everything, so familiarize yourself with the conference schedules, the Conference venue, the conference mobile app, room locations, etc.

    Ready to Volunteer for Conference?

    Click here to log in and select "Volunteer @ Conference" when you register.

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