ISPI Performance Digest
Aug. 24, 2010



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Making the call for themselves
Workforce Management
Serving customers at American Express Co., has grown more challenging for call center employees like Teresa Tate. And that's just the way she likes it. The financial services giant has scrapped scripts and entrusted call center agents with more independence as part of a customer service overhaul during the past several years. Rather than focus on holding down costs when card holders call in, American Express now aims to wow them with highly personalized service. That means "customer care professionals" like Tate have to think more on their feet as they try to offer relevant information and assistance. Such responsibility motivates employees and makes their work more meaningful to them.More

How to implement a continuing education program
Inc. Magazine
One of the keys to employee satisfaction is a commitment from their employer not only today but in the future. Investing in your employees via a continuing education program shows that you value their contributions and want to see them succeed. Here are the ways to implement additional learning.More

Presentation proposals for THE Performance Improvement Conference 2011 deadline in one week
ISPI
ISPI is inviting all members to submit a proposal to present at THE Performance Improvement Conference 2011, April 10-13 in Orlando, Fla. The goal is to shape the future of performance improvement through learning, teaching, collaborating, and networking. Educational sessions are designed to focus on current and emerging issues, best practices, and opportunities facing the performance improvement field.More

Do techies make good leaders?
The Wall Street Journal
It's hard to develop leaders in any industry. But people in the technology sector seem to believe it's especially hard in their business. So is it? We put that theory to the test and concluded that tech people have a point: The speed of the industry's growth, along with the type of workers it attracts — young and with backgrounds in engineering and science — does, indeed, lead to some unique challenges. What follows are key insights and lessons that emerged from our research, which involved surveys of technology companies and interviews with industry leaders. Although the focus of this study was the tech sector, our previous work suggests that these lessons could be useful to any company seeking to improve its leadership-development process.More

Why succession planning is so hard
CFO.com
Earlier this month, Goodyear Tire and Rubber announced that the final stage of its CEO transition was under way. Richard Kramer, a 10-year company veteran and onetime CFO, will add chairman of the board to his duties in October, six months after assuming the CEO position for which he had been groomed. "This is the next step and a natural evolution of the well-thought-out and orderly succession plan," said Goodyear's lead director James C. Boland in the press release announcing the transition. Added former CEO and outgoing chairman Robert Keegan: "I can retire with confidence, knowing that Goodyear is in good hands." The company's ailing stock price even bumped up in the days following the announcement, just as it had when Kramer initially became CEO. If only it were always that easy.More

More students need a laptop computer for the classroom
USA TODAY
Back-to-school supplies for middle school students used to mean pens, notebooks, maybe a new backpack. But for a growing number of families, the list now includes a laptop computer. "We would never send our own kids to pediatricians that were practicing medicine from the '70s or '80s," says Mark Hess, principal of Sarah Banks Middle School in Wixom, Mich. "Why would we send our kids to schools that are practicing instructional techniques that are decades old? If we did that, it'd be educational malpractice." More

Back to School with ISPI and Rossett, Gayeski, & Rosenberg
ISPI
As the month of August begins, we are starting to see signs of the new school year approaching. Store shelves are lined with supplies, lunch boxes, and backpacks. Everywhere you turn, the focus is Back to School. ISPI believes September is a perfect time for you to head Back to School with us, and jumpstart your professional development. You can still buy that new fall outfit or the latest writing gadget but since our program is online, there’s no need to worry about packing bags, making a flight, or changing rooms for each presentation. The only requirements are a computer, a telephone, and an interest to learn the latest tools and tips for better workplace performance. Join featured speakers Allison Rossett, Diane Gayeski, and Marc Rosenberg online on Sept. 13, 2010, from 12:00-4:00 p.m. Eastern Time in ISPI's virtual classroom and experience learning at its best.More

Bennett: Link teacher performance to that of their students
Louisville Courier-Journal
Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett has called for annual, aggressive reviews that tie teachers' performance to that of their students. In delivering the state's first-ever State of Education address, Bennett vowed to seek such a policy in the 2011 legislative session that will 'make student learning the primary consideration for teacher promotion and recognition.' He lamented that currently educators are rewarded based on only two factors: the number of years they have taught and the degrees they hold. As a result, Bennett said, some of the state's most energetic and effective teachers are left wondering if they’ll have a job instead of being rewarded for the impact they have on students.More

Six Sigma helps Crown Equipment save nearly $1.5 million
Reliable Plant Magazine
With a corporate commitment to helping customers lower costs and maximize productivity, it's no surprise that Crown Equipment Corporation is itself dedicated to lean manufacturing and Total Quality Management. Continuous improvement has been intrinsic to the company's philosophy since its founding in 1945, as management has periodically adjusted product offerings and services to meet changing customer needs. Yet even with decades of success that has made the Ohio based manufacturer the world's top-selling producer of electric lift trucks, the company still recently found ways to use Six Sigma strategies to improve processes, reduce scrap and gas usage, and fine-tune operations. More

MT expert's top ten tips: Be more emotionally intelligent
Management Today
Don't expect staff to buy into your strategy because of your brilliant figures and flip-charts. These are uncertain times; staff in both the private and public sector are nervous about their prospects, and are looking to their managers to steer them through the difficult months ahead. So it probably won’t be enough to bombard them with PowerPoint slides explaining the financial argument behind your brilliant new strategy — you also need to find a way of enthusing them about the journey. This is where 'emotional intelligence' kicks in — the ability to relate to people in a way that appeals to their hearts, as well as their heads. It’s something that few great managers can live without. So Management Today asked Richard Brown of Cognosis for his top ten tips on how to bring your strategy to life.More