Human Performance Technology: the study and ethical practice of improving productivity in organizations by designing and developing effective interventions that are result-oriented, comprehensive and systemic. (Handbook of Human Performance Technology, James A. Pershing)
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How to inspire your people in tough times…

Posted: July 14th, 2009 | Author: Patrick Smits | Filed under: Leadership Performance | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Tough Times, CCL, Jenah Crump Photography

How do you deal with downsized workforces populated with employees who suffer from any or all of the following negative emotions: insecurity, dread, apathy, passivity, carelessness, and resentment?

How do you lead people through change in times of extreme turbulence?

Making tough decisions, implementing change, and telling people that this is the way it is – really isn’t the same as getting them giving them the inspirational motivation to accept how things are and to work well.

As Michael Hammer – former Business Process Re-engineering guru of the last recession – now says: “The human side [of change] is much harder than the technology side and the process side. It’s the overwhelming issue.”

Daniel Goleman ["Primal Leadership"] has eloquently articulated the principle of a style of leadership that resonates with people – that speaks from the heart and offers a measure of re-assurance and certainty of conviction about the direction in which they are being led.

But how you do you translate that into action? How do you actually provide inspirational motivation for people? What are the keys?

In his article, Stephen Warrilow summerizes nicely what can be done. I fully agree with the fact that the Human Side is the most difficult one for change. It needs a lot of attention, energy and focus. But it cannot be overseen.

(read the full article)

We are all connected…

Posted: July 10th, 2009 | Author: Patrick Smits | Filed under: Team Performance | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »


We are all defined by what happens around us. On a large “quantum physics” scale we could say that we are all connected with each other. We are all energy. In normal situations, where a lot of strangers are together we tend to not feel this connection. We focus on our own internal self. We do not make contact with what happens around us. And when this last too long we start feeling depressed. But…

Only when something happens around us that synchronizes the energy into a nice frequency we get music. Music gives us the energy to dance. And when we dance together we feel even more energy. And the more this energy synchronizes the happier we start to feel. This energy of being connected with each other widens out to all person in the neighbourhood of this event. It works like a magnet.

In Antwerp Central Station there was a nice experiment of a dance group that set up a public performance. More than 200 dancers were performing their version of “Do Re Mi”, in the Central Station of Antwerp. with just 2 rehearsals they created this amazing stunt! Those 4 fantastic minutes started the 23 of march 2009, 08:00 AM. It is a promotion stunt for a Belgian television program, where they are looking for someone to play the leading role, in the musical of “The Sound of Music”.

Watch for yourself and see what this does with the people coincidently in the neighbourhood of this synchronized event.


Fun, passion and togetherness is what connect us. It is amazing to see how quickly this can be realized with a crowd of people that does not know each other. Just having fun together… And it works.  If you do not believe this works… here is a more recent proof of how passion connects us. The passion for music. 

These are two performances made at Segels Torg and the Central Station (Stockholm). The dance collective Bounce came up with the idea and invited the public to a short choreographed session before hitting the streets.

(Copyright Pierre Wikberg)

Wondering why in this so called financial and economic crisis, companies have a hard time to connect again with the fun, passion and togetherness. The paradox, however is that we all need this. Where are fun, passion and connection gone in some boardrooms?

There is no magic. Neither the money nor the performance appraisals will have the same effect. But only those simple things will make a world of a difference.