October 27, 2020 3 min read

A Brief History of Human Performance Improvement (HPI): Talking with Guy Wallace


Multiple Industries


Performance Optimization

HPI Basics Image

Human Performance Improvement, or HPI, is a method of improving performance and outcomes at organizations that can include workplace training but considers  reasons for problems beyond just knowledge and skill gaps and interventions other than just training.

It’s also sometimes called Human Performance Technology, or HPT.

In this interview, HPI practitioner Guy Wallace gives us an overview of HPI/HPT, tells us about a few of the key ideas and originators (some of whom Guy worked with or new), gives us a few best practices, and talks about two HPI-related projects of his: a series of recorded video discussions with other HPI practitioners and a website collecting HPI resources for people to check out and learn from.

Check out the recorded discussion below and then check below the video for some links to things Guy and I talked about.

We’ve got resources for you below, plus a free downloadable Mager/Pipe Problem-Solving Flowchart, so check that all out.

We discussed a few common HPI methods. Here’s a little more information about some of them:

We mentioned some organizations, including:

Guy mentioned the names of some key early HPI practitioners who helped develop the field:

  • Thomas Gilbert
  • Geary Rummler
  • Bob Mager
  • Joe Harless

Here are three good books to start with:

Guy mentioned the following:

Here’s how to find Guy on social media:

We also mentioned two really great resources that Guy’s pulled together for those wanting to learn more about HPI:

In particular, we’ll call out some of these HPT Practitioner interviews with some of the “classic” names:

Finally, here’s a different discussion about what HPI is and how to implement it from a bit more of an occupational safety and health angle with HPI practitioner Joe Estey.

Before you check out, feel free to download the free Mager/Pipe Problem-Solving Infographic below, too. 

Analyzing & Solving Workplace Performance Problems Flowchart

Download this free infographic, based on the famous Mager/Pipe flowchart from their book Analyzing Performance Problems, to determine the cause of workplace performance problems and then select the appropriate solution/intervention.


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