Magazine article Talent Development

Geri Lopker

Magazine article Talent Development

Geri Lopker

Article excerpt

President, Geri Lopker & Associates

Villa Park, California

Geri Lopker is a trainer and performance consultant with a focus on organizational performance improvement as well as leadership and employee development. She is president of her own independent performance consulting, training, and instructional design firm, which was started in 1995. Her strengths include facilitating focus groups; conducting needs analyses; designing learning solutions, courses, and materials; and speaking to diverse groups. She holds both CPT (Certified Performance Technologist) and CPLP (Certified Professional in Learning and Performance) designations and is an adjunct professor for both Chapman University and ASTD, where she teaches Human Performance in the Workplace certificate courses.

Q| WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB, AND WHAT LESSON DID YOU TAKE AWAY FROM IT?

My very first job out of college was as an occupational therapist at a rehabilitation hospital. I learned that I liked uncovering what is really causing the issue that the patient is experiencing, so that I can help solve the problem and make sure that it stays solved.

It was many years after I was an occupational therapist, and after I had gotten my master's degree in human resources and organization development, that somebody asked me to describe what organization development is, and I ended up describing organization development just like occupational therapy. When there is a challenge in a company, the organization development specialist is trying to figure out what's causing the problem, what is getting in the way of the solution, and what solutions can be applied. The specialist then applies them, evaluates them to see if they work, and then figures out what's going to help the solutions sustain themselves, which is exactly what I did as an occupational therapist.

Q| WHAT IS ONE CHANGE YOU HOPE TO SEE IN THE TRAINING INDUSTRY WITHIN THE NEXT DECADE?

My belief is that the training industry needs to stop seeing itself as the training industry. I think that the training industry is really the performance industry, and we need to start seeing ourselves that way. I do not dismiss training. I think training is an inordinately valuable solution, but it's one that is only prescribed for a problem that's called "lack of knowledge or skills." It can't be prescribed for a lack of incentives or consequences, poor processes, or a lack of good feedback. …

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