My 1st Friday Favorite Guru Series: Ken Silber

We begin the First Friday of this month, June 2015, with another of my Favorite Gurus, Ken Silber, Ph.D.


About Ken

From the Clarity Performance Alliance web site

Kenneth H. Silber, PhD, CPT, is President of Silber Performance Consulting, an Associate Professor Emeritus at Northern Illinois University, and an Adjunct Faculty Member at the online Capella University.

He has been in the Instructional Design(ID) and Human Performance Technology (HPT) fields since 1968.

As a professor he has taught over 1000 students.

As a corporate manager he developed ID and HPT standards and assured quality in four major corporations.

As a consultant, he has worked with more than 100 clients in all industry sectors, saving them millions of dollars.  He specializes in understanding organizational culture, performance and needs analysis, performance solutions selection and design, the cognitive approach to ID, and evaluation of Return on Investment.

He co-edited Volume I: Instructional Design and Training Delivery in the Handbook of Improving Performance in the Workplace series (Wiley/Pfeiffer 2010) and sponsored by the International Society for Performance Improvement.

He co-authored a survival manual for ID, HPT, and HR professionals to help them understand the organizations in which they work called Organizational Intelligence(Pfeiffer 2010).

He also co-authored the award-winning textbook, Writing Training That Works: How to Teach Anyone to do Anything (Pfeiffer 2003).

He is the recipient of the…


This award, previously called Outstanding Member and Distinguished Professional Achievement, was renamed in 1996 in honor of Thomas F. Gilbert. It recognizes outstanding and significant contributions to the knowledge base of HPT – Human Performance Technology

Chapters & Articles by Ken

Here are just 2 of Ken’s many articles…

  • Business Perspective for Performance Technologists – here.
  • Using the Cognitive Approach to Improve Problem-solving Training – here.

Other Contributions by Ken

Handbook of IPW

Handbook of Improving Performance in the Workplace Three Volume Series

 Handbook IPW v1

 Handbook IPW v2

 Handbook IPW v3

The International Society for Performance Improvement and John Wiley & Sons, Inc. partnered with ISPI members and co-editors Joan Dessinger, Rob Foshay, Doug Leigh, Jim Moseley, Ken Silber, and Ryan Watkins to bring you a three-volume reference library covering core topics in the growing fields of individual and organizational performance improvement, training and development, and workplace learning.

Each Handbook stands alone as a rigorous body of knowledge under the banner of ISPI’s “performance landscape” and for the first time provides a unified and authoritative compendium of standard principles and best practices for improving productivity and performance in the workplace.

Featuring best-in-field researchers, thinkers, and practitioners across several disciplines and geographic boundaries, each volume provides a current review of all information presently available for the three core areas of improving performance in the workplace:

The books in this series embrace performance improvement as a pragmatic science that seeks to accomplish valuable results for individuals, teams, organizations, and all of society through evidence-based practice and provide a user-friendly guide that practitioners, students, researchers, and others can use, regardless of their experience or academic training.

Click here to login and get the details.

Books by Ken

Organizational Intelligence: A Guide to Understanding the Business of Your Organization for HR, Training, and Performance Consulting

Kenneth H. SilberLynn Kearny

ISBN: 978-0-470-47231-6      320 pages     December 2009, Pfeiffer


Writing Training Materials That Work: How to Train Anyone to Do Anything

Wellesley R. FoshayKenneth H. SilberMichael Stelnicki

ISBN: 978-1-118-35168-0

272 pages

February 2003, Pfeiffer


My Lessons Learned From Ken

I had the pleasure of working with Ken on an NSPI Committee – way back in 1983 – to prepare marketing plans and materials for the NSPI Conference to be held in Chicago 2 years later in 1985. Ken and I worked with Rob Foshay on that effort.

Ken helped us all apply HPT principles to our marketing plans, tactics and deliverables – with a focus on the attendee – and their performance requirements. One favorite output of his was his “Cheap Eats” – a listing of his favorite Chicago restaurants. A Job Aid.

Ken reinforced the idea that ID folks – Instructional Designers – and PI – Performance Improvement – specialists should know the language of business. He’s made many presentations on this – and has a book on that topic: Organizational Intelligence.


Ken Online

At LinkedIn – here.

Contact Info for Ken

  • 773-294-0303 (Home)
  • 773-248-0303 (Work)
  • 773-326-0673 (Fax)
  • 1025 W. Dakin Street, #1E
    Chicago, IL (work)

Share Your Stories

If the work of Ken Silber has been a valuable influence and/or resource for you – please share your stories about that in the comments section below.

Or simply share a URL there that is relevant.

And – thank you – for sharing!

The My First Friday Favorite Guru Series

We each have many influencers, mentors, both active and passive, knowingly and unknowingly in their respective roles in our development.

This series is my attempt to acknowledge all of them… one by one… in no particular order… as I attempt to consciously reflect on what I have learned and whom I have learned it from, regarding all things “Performance Improvement” – my first focus.

I have a long list.

Lucky me.

Next month – Ryan Watkins.

Links to All of the Past Posts in the MFFF Guru Series

Here is a page with links to all of the Past Posts from this My First Friday Favorite Guru Series, as listed below – find that – here.

  • Ryan Watkins – July 2015
  • Ken Silber – June 2015
  • Roger Chevalier – May 2015
  • Darryl Sink – April 2015
  • Jeanne Farrington – March 2015
  • Don Clark – February 2015
  • Frank T. Wydra – January 2015
  • Philip B. Crosby – December 2014
  • Donald L. Dewar – November 2014
  • Joseph M. Juran – October 2014
  • W. Edwards Deming – September 2014
  • Bonnie B. Small – August 2014
  • Walter A. Shewhart – July 2014
  • Carl Binder – June 2014
  • Ruth Clark – May 2014
  • Rob Foshay – April 2014
  • John Carlisle – March 2014
  • Miki Lane – February 2014
  • Harold Stolovitch – January 2014
  • Bill Wiggenhorn – December 2013
  • Will Thalheimer – November 2013
  • Roger Kaufman – October 2013
  • Roger Addison – September 2013
  • Ray Svenson – August 2013
  • Dick (Richard E.) Clark – July 2013
  • Allison Rossett – June 2013
  • Carol Panza – May 2013
  • Jane Bozarth – April 2013
  • Judy Hale – March 2013
  • Margo Murray – February 2013
  • Neil Rackham – January 2013
  • Robert (Bob) F. Mager – December 2012
  • Joe H. Harless – November 2012
  • Thomas F. Gilbert – October 2012
  • Sivasailam Thiagarajan (Thiagi) – September 2012
  • Geary A. Rummler – August 2012
  • Dale Brethower – July 2012

Here is a page with links to all of the above Past Posts in My First Friday Favorite Guru Series – here.

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3 comments on “My 1st Friday Favorite Guru Series: Ken Silber

  1. Pingback: T&D: Reflections on 40 Years in the Biz | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

  2. Pingback: L&D/PI: Thankful for My Many Mentors | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

  3. Pingback: Review: The My First Friday Favorite Guru Series | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

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