Post #3: Speaker Reflection #2

The hand of a white person points at a cluster of floating concepts: data, diagrams, connections, buttons, all representing the field of Human Performance Technology.

Written by Brian Milburn

August 1, 2022

Speaker Reflection: Bud Benscoter

As part of EDCI 528, I watched a pre-recorded presentation delivered by Dr. Bud Benscoter to students of my program. Bud is the owner of GMB Performance Group, which specializes in human performance improvement and training. He obtained his instructional design master’s and doctoral degrees at Penn State University.

Bud opened by delving into what HPT is basically about: digging into the performance gaps of organizations by asking the right questions.

He then covered something I found insightful: the typical consulting arrangements which, as Bud defined them, consisted of three roles: the Pair-of-hands role, where clients know at least something about the performance issue but are too busy to deal with it; the Expert role, where the client doesn’t know how to deal with it and wants you in a “true” consultant position; and the Collaborative role, where you’d partner with the client to arrive at solutions.

Bud then went into a list of common solutions identified through his consulting work — which, surprisingly, had “training” as the final bullet point. He also covered the Problem Identification and Analysis Model (PRIAM), which comprises the basic process he follows in doing his work. He mentioned an article he wrote on the model, which is cited here (Benscoter, 2012).

He wrapped up his presentation with a review of the challenges involved with transitioning from training to performance improvement. During his Q&A, he recommended a few books: Serious Performance Consulting by Geary Rummler, The Trusted Advisor by Maister, Green, and Galford, and Human Confidence by Thomas Gilbert, whom he called a good friend of his. 

Personal reflection/impact

With Bud’s presentation, I understood three particular actions for breaking into the HPT industry: (1) developing the ability to mesh yourself with an organization, by learning about the org’s needs, (2) capitalizing on one’s ability to persuade/influence, and (3) honing one’s ability to ask the right questions.

During this Q&A, Bud brought up a pertinent quote by Voltaire, a man whom I have much love for — his Candide profoundly shaped my outlook on life when I first read it during my undergraduate years. 

“Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.”

Bud spoke about how people – like well-known HPT professionals – ended up “falling” into their field, basically through these three actions. I can definitely see how HPT and I could become a potentially fine pairing since my more pivotal moments with my former employees involved these three actions. More to come! 



Benscoter, B. (2012). How to identify and analyze problems in your organization. In W. Rothswell, J. Lindholm, K. Yarrish, & A. Yaballero (Eds.), The Encyclopedia of Human Resource Management, Volume 3: Thematic Essays. John Wiley & Sons.

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