1st Friday Favorite Guru: Joe H. Harless

This month we start on the First Friday of November 2012 with another of my favorite gurus…

Joe H. Harless

“Inside every fat course there’s a thin Job Aid crying to get out,” Joe Harless in “Performance Technology and Other Popular Myths” July 1985.

Wow. 1985. So what’s changed in the Learning Landscape?

Not much IMO. It’s just gone techno.

Sad News 

Note: Brother Joe passed away this past October 4th.

Here is a post from last month dedicated to his memory.

I had already scheduled this Posting, months ago, before Joe passed on.

Please go here – to ISPI’s PerformanceXpress for November – and add any comments, memories of Joe to the online tribute.

In the November/December Performance Improvement Journal there will be a 6-page In Memoriam that I was asked to scramble to pull together to hit an extended deadline due to Joe’s passing. ISPI members will get that in their paper copy of that journal, as well as have access to the online PDF copy via Wiley.

My relationship with Joe just got started before he retired in the mid-1990s. He un-retired for a few days when he came out of that retirement to attend the ISPI Conference this past April in 2012. We had been exchanging phone calls and emails for the 18-24 months before last April’s 2012 ISPI Conference. He sent me a half-ton of his archives (just kidding) to scan and post – but no whole documents.

Joe and I arrived in Toronto on the same plane. In fact, as I made my way to my coach seat I was about to pass him sitting in First Class when he saw me first and said “Hello Brother Guy!”

We met up after getting our bags at the Taxi Waiting area and he asked me to ride with him. We had a nice chat about the state of the Society (ISPI) and this conference, his health, his family, his buddy Bob (Mager) and then it was over too soon. We chatted a bit in the hallways – but I generally left him alone as I had had plenty of face and voice and email time with him these past couple of years – and I knew others were eager to catch up with him. I did get to attend a tribute dinner Paul Elliott had for him at the Conference after his last presentation with Paul, Al Folsom and Carl Binder – which Joe had agreed to let me video record as soon as I had gotten wind of his session. And then we had a few exchanges post-Conference.

Here is Joe at the ISPI’s 50th Anniversary Past President’s Parade, which I also participated in.

I was shocked to get the Google Alert I had going for him about his passing.

I couldn’t find an Obituary at first – but later I did – here.

That Google Alert – one of dozens that I would get about other things/people other than THE Joe Harless – brought me to a local newspaper article about his passing and his contributions to his local community.

Talk about MEGA. He lived it.

And I could not convince him even though I tried on numerous occasions – to form a group to update his “Ounce of Analysis” book.

Or any of his other materials.

I know many would like to see them re-published. I could never get from him a straight answer to “why not?”

He was very private about his personal life – and his health, although he did let me know he was worried about it. Maybe not worried, but aware. “I might not be here,” he said to me often. He made me promise that ISPI would not do a Memorial Service for him at the Conference after his passing – as he didn’t like it at his frat bother’s – Claude (Butch) Lineberry’s – that was done at ISPI after Butch’s passing. Too many people pretended to know Claude. And Joe knew that they did not.

Here is a video of Joe at Friends at that Conference. Joe had given me permission in advance to record and share this session – as he did with all of the other videos he let me record of him, sitting in his home back in 2008 and again in 2009 as I attempted to prime the marketing pump for ISPI with a video series dedicated to advancing HPT and ISPI.

More follow below.

One of the Many Things I Learned From Ol’ Joey

Was to never say no. To say YES, and clarify that.

Here is a post by me about that lesson from Joe.

Here is a post from Dave Ferguson about his relationship with Joe.

Here is a post from my friend and colleague (since 1983), Robert Damelio about his lessons learned from Joe.

Here is an “In Memoriam” for Joe at Learning Solutions Magazine of the ELearning Guild.

Again – there will be an In Memoriam for Joe in ISPI’s November PIJ – something that I was asked to take the lead on a few days after Joe’s passing. A sad labor of love.

And here again is a place for you to make your comments – in the November PX.

What I Also Learned From Brother Joe

To share. Pay it forward, or whatever you’d like to call it – he lived it – as did so many others at NSPI/ ISPI.

Some Great Resources for You

Search for books – using Joe H. Harless – for his many other publications. He published 22 non-fiction books.

If you are a member of ISPI or otherwise have access to the electronic versions of it’s publication – The Performance Improvement Journal – PIJ – you can access the many articles written by Joe and published by the professional society he had a great deal to do with building.

My Favorite Memories of Joe

Sitting at the airport bar in 2004 after my ISPI Conference (as President) and drinking several Bloody Marys with him. We, he, was lamenting the passing of his frat brother Claude Lineberry. We had too many – and he bought them all. He was generous in so many ways. Say Amen.

Share Your Stories

If Joe has been a valuable influence and/or resource for you – please share your stories and/or the link to them about that in the comments section below. Or rather – go to the ISPI PX site and add them there – here.

And thank you for sharing!

More Videos of Joe…

Videos of Joe Harless

From 2009

Also from 2009

From 2008

From 1993 – His NSPI Banquet Speech

Sorry about the poor audio and camera-work. I was not involved until Joe sent me the VHS Cassette for this and asked me to convert this and share it – after I asked him about THIS video.

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16 comments on “1st Friday Favorite Guru: Joe H. Harless

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