Performance is the outcome of a system, so multiple variables should be examined when considering it. Even though I have attempted to apply Gilbert’s Behavior Engineering Model in my own work, I have come to realize that it has its limitations. A more system-based approach will take all variables into account and is more aligned with ISPI’s standards (Tosti, 2007).

Performance thinking is about getting useful, valuable work accomplished. It really does not matter how well someone has been trained, or how much someone knows, or what a person’s motives or environment may be if he or she does not or cannot get work done. Outcomes should ideally be aligned with an organization’s stated mission, vision, and values.

Performance thinking involves deliberate analysis of all parts of a system in order to develop and implement the right intervention. An appropriate analogy may be to think of performance technology as osteopathic medicine. While illnesses or injuries may affect a single part of the body, all physiological systems must be considered before prescribing specific medicines or procedures.

Performance thinking must add value to an organization. It must consider the context than an organization and its systems and processes operate in, and must align with the mission, vision, values, goals, and strategies of that organization. It is vital to incorporate these elements into an analysis and any intervention that follows.

Performance thinking should not take place in isolation. It should build bridges with all stakeholders in a performance improvement scenario. The most special instance is the client. Care should be taken to listen and work closely with the client, as well as with specialists from other disciplines who can apply certain expertise where it is needed.



Tosti, D.T. (2007).  It is time to dump the behavioral engineering model and most other taxonomies. Retrieved December 8, 2013 from


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