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Fred Nickols' Resume

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Managing Partner, Distance Consulting LLC (2002 -     )

Consulting practice centers on assisting my clients achieve the results they're after.

Recently assisted the President/CTO of a high-tech, woman-owned, minority company articulate and clarify his 2016 goals as well as clarify his company's value proposition.  Acted as a sounding board for the CEO of a 50-year old family marble and stone business.  Also assisting the head of an Australian healthcare consulting firm with various aspects of his business.

Current professional focus is on The GAP-ACT (Target) Model of Human Behavior and Performance.

Write a monthly "Knowledge Workers" column for ISPI's PerformanceXpress.

Wrote regular blog posts on a paid basis for the SmartDraw.com "Working Smarter" Blog in 2009 and 2010.

Most of the last half of 2002 was spent as the acting General Manager of a Canadian subsidiary of a German conglomerate.


Executive Director, Educational Testing Service (1990 - 2001)

Final assignments at ETS included a few months as a member of governance team charged with negotiating and managing a 10-year, $300 million IT outsourcing arrangement and, prior to that, heading up ETS' Office of Project Management. Planned interventions include launching a project manager certification program, building a community of practice among project managers, assessing and responding to training and development needs, formalizing the project management process and improving upon project control and reporting mechanisms.

Prior assignment was as a member of a new business development unit.  Accomplishments included obtaining Board of Trustee approval to establish a new, for-profit subsidiary focused on taking ETS technologies to market.  Subsequently prepared a business plan, commissioned market research and obtained senior officer approval to establish a new line of business focusing on literacy services.

From 1995 to 1999 headed up ETS's Strategic Planning and Management Services unit, leading teams focused on the following:

  • developing and implementing an accountability scorecard,

  • devising an improved business volume forecasting methodology,

  • improving the performance and productivity of targeted business processes,

  • applying system dynamics modeling to acute business problems, and

  • installing an integrated strategic, business and operational planning process.

Earlier, led teams that redesigned the corporation's business planning and management processes; devised a process for establishing the company's strategic research agenda and its portfolio of research projects; installed activity-based costing (ABC); analyzed all major contractual arrangements; developed a resource allocation process for use at the corporate level; and managed a multi-million operating division for 18 months.

Generated $800,000 in ongoing annual savings from the development of a method for optimizing test center staffing ($5M accumulated to date).

Realized $360,000 in cost-avoidance savings from the creation and initial application of a PC-based method for cleaning up large databases.

Reduced the rework rate in a document processing operation from 65-70% to less than 10%, saving $275,000 per year in unnecessary resolution costs.

Reengineered the front-end processes in a $40,000,000 division, enabling it to accommodate without mishap a sudden tripling of processing volumes within the cost envelope specified by the contract.

Strengthened and sharpened managerial control by developing a PC-based system that accurately models the financial behavior of operating divisions.

Effected a 10% downsizing in a large regional office, and a 20% downsizing in an operating division.

Provided internal management consulting services.


Senior Vice President, Systems & Operations, Monarch Financial Services, Inc (1987 - 1989)

Reduced the costs and time to develop new product support systems by an estimated $1.5 million and 12 months.

Led the development of two PC-based variable life insurance policy issuance and administration systems (one of which was rolled out in 89 days).

Reengineered the new product development and roll out processes, removing systems development from the critical path.

Redirected the corporation's systems strategy from mainframes to PCs/LANs.

Acted as chief troubleshooter for the CEO.


Employment History

2002 -            Managing Partner, Distance Consulting, LLC

1990 - 2001   Executive Director, Educational Testing Service

1987 - 1989   Senior Vice President, Monarch Financial Services, Inc.

1984 - 1987   Independent Management Consultant

1979 - 1984   President, Organization Performance Systems, Inc. (Consulting)

1976 - 1979   President, Systems Corporation of America (Consulting)

1975 - 1976   Vice President, Consulting Operations, The Athena Corporation

1974 - 1975   Director of Training & Development, Manpower Development Services

1955 - 1974   United States Navy (Retired as Chief Petty Officer)


Education, Training & Professional Development

High School Diploma, Fort Madison, Iowa (1955)

USAFI College Equivalence Exams (1 year)

Extensive Training United States Navy (1955 - 1974)

  • Electricity & Electronics

  • Weapons Control Systems

  • Advanced Mathematics

  • Classroom Instruction

  • School Administration

  • Leadership

  • Programmed Instruction Writer

  • Instructional Systems Designer

  • Organization Development & Management Consultant

Undergraduate Studies (Psychology & Statistics), USIU, San Diego (1970)


Professional Affiliations & Honors

Association for Talent Development (Formerly ASTD)

Capital City Organization Development Network (CCODN)

Control Systems Group (CSG)

International Society for Performance & Instruction (ISPI) - Certified Performance Technologist (CPT)

Armed Forces Chapter of ISPI

Columnist ("Knowledge Workers") for ISPI's PerformanceXpress

OD Network (Awarded the OD Network's 2016 "Sharing the Wealth Award")

Special Editor and Columnist, C2M: Consulting to Management (formerly the Journal of Management Consulting)



Sea Stories: Tales about Leadership, Morale and More (2016).  Paperback available at https://www.createspace.com/6074166 

"Six Factors Affecting Performance Alignment." Performance Improvement, Vol 55, No 3 (Mar 2016). ISPI: Silver Spring, MD.

"Tips for Managing Change in Hard Times."  Chapter 12 (pp.204-225) in Organization Development in Practice, W.J. Rothwell, J.M. Stavros, R.L. Sullivan, J.D. Vogelsang, Eds., (2016) ODNetwork, Washington, D.C.

"A Consultant's Lament." Perceptual Control Theory: A Book of Readings, Dag Forsell, Ed. (November 2015), pp. 87-89. Hayward, CA: Living Control Systems Publishing

"An Essay: Reflecting on Your Laurels." Performance Improvement, Vol 54, No 3 (Mar 2015). ISPI: Silver Spring, MD.

"Does Your Company Have A Performance GPS?"  Performance Improvement, Vol 53, No 6 (Jul 2014).  ISPI: Silver Spring, MD.

Tools for Knowledge Workers, Vol 1 (2013).  Kindle: ASIN B00C28PQ34.  Retrieved from Amazon.com.  Available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00C28PQ34

"The Consultant's Competency Circle."  Performance Improvement, Vol 52, No 2 (Feb 2013).  ISPI: Silver Spring, MD.

"Generalist versus Specialist: Unraveling the Mystery."  Chapter 3 in Advisors Seeking Knowledge, Peter J. Merrick, Ed. (January 2013), pp. 49-54).  LexisNexis

"The Action-Motivation Matrix: Positions People Take Regarding Problems."  Performance Improvement, Vol 51, Vol 9 (Oct 2012).  ISPI: Silver Spring, MD.

The Words of Jesus (2012).  Kindle: ASIN B009HCL020. Retrieved from Amazon.com

"Human Performance Technology: The Dawn of a New Era."  Performance Improvement, Vol 51, No 3 (Mar 2012).  ISPI: Silver Spring, MD.

"The Manager as a Living Control System."  Proven, Vol 5, No 1 (Dec 2011).  Virginia Beach: VA.

"A Single Universal Model? No Thanks!"  Performance Improvement, Vol 50, No 9 (Oct 2011), pp.15-19.  ISPI: Silver Spring, MD.

"Think Inside the Box."  PerformanceXpress (June 2011). ISPI

"Making Players Out of Cynics, Skeptics and Deadwood."  Training Journal (Feb 2011). Fenman Ltd: London. Co-authored with Don Tosti

"Manage Your Own Performance: No One Else Can."  Performance Improvement, Vol 50, No 2 (Feb 2011), pp. 31-35. ISPI: Silver Spring, MD.

"A Model for Helping People Hit their Performance Targets."  Performance Improvement, Vol 49, No 8 (Sep 2010), pp. 21-26. ISPI: Silver Spring, MD.

"The Whatchamacallit Process: Part 2." Training Journal (Jul 2010).  Fenman Ltd: London.

"The Whatchamacallit Process: Part 1." Training Journal (Jun 2010).  Fenman Ltd: London.

"Generalists and Specialists: Unraveling the Mystery," Chapter 3 in The T.A.S.K. - The Trusted Advisor's Survival Kit (September 2009), pp.51-56.  LexisNexus

"The Autonomous Performer." Performance Improvement, Vol 48, No 2 (Feb 2009), pp. 44-48 ISPI: Silver Spring, MD.

"A Perceptual Control Theory Primer."  Unpublished (2008).

"Managerial Performance." Unpublished (2008).

"Inside the Process Box."  Business Process Trends, (Nov 2008).

"Getting It Right: Strategy Is Execution." Capital Magazine, Vol 3, No 34 (Sep 2008), pp. 52-54.

"The GAP-ACT Model of Human Behavior and Performance."  PerformanceXpress (September 2007). ISPI

"Understanding Work and Work Control Systems."  Business Process Trends, (May 2007).

"Roadmaps to Results."  Performance Improvement, Vol 46, No 6 (Jul 2007), pp 36-41.  ISPI: Silver Spring, MD.

"Change Management 101: A Primer (reprint)."  Chapter 10 in People Management: Perspectives and Practices (2007), pp. 152-168.  The ICFAI University Press. "Understanding Work and Work Control Systems."  Business Process Trends (May 2007).  http://www.bptrends.com

 "McGregor meets Gilbert."  PerformanceXpress (May 2007).  ISPI: Silver Spring, MD.

"Performance Appraisal: Weighed and Found Wanting in the Balance."  Journal for Quality and Participation, Vol 30 No 1, pp. 13-16 (Spring 2007).  American Society for Quality.

"The Goals Grid."  Capital Magazine, Vol 2 No 15, pp. 26-29 (Dec 2006).

"Transition Management: Tips for Managers in Times of Change."  Capital Magazine, pp. 26-30 (Mar 2006).

"The Goals Grid: A New Tool for Strategic Planning."  C2M: Consulting to Management, Vol 17, No 1 (Mar 2006).  Co-author Ray Ledgerwood.

"Serendipitous Performance Consulting." Performance Improvement, Vol 45, No 1 (Jan 2006)  pp 5-9.  ISPI: Silver Spring, MD.

"Change Management as Problem Finding and Problem Solving." Seasonings, Vol 1, No 3 (Fall 2005).  OD Network.

"Problem Solving El Paso Style."  Unpublished (2005).  Available at elpaso.pdf

"Myths and Realities of Performance Appraisals" (2005).  Performance Appraisals: A Critical View, pp 13-25.  The ICFAI University Press.  Hyderabad, India.

"Understanding Your Company's Performance Architecture." BPM Institute Bulletin (Sep 2005). Business Process Management Institute.

"Training Needs Assessment 101." Performance Insights Newsletter (Jun 2005). Western Ohio ASTD Chapter, Dayton, OH.

"A Stakeholder Approach to Evaluating Training."  Advances in Developing Human Resources, 7(1), (Feb 2005) pp 121-134.  Sage Publications.

"Performance as Intervention: Performer as Interventionist."  Performance Improvement, Vol 44, No 1 (Jan 2005) pp 9-12. ISPI: Silver Spring, MD.

"Change Management: A Primer."  Chapter 3 in Change Management: Perspectives and Cases (2005), pp 23-38.  The ICFAI University Press, Hyderabad, India.

"The Goals Grid." C2M: Consulting to ManagementVol 15, No 4 (Dec 2004) pp 35-37.  Co-author Harvey Bergholz.

"Phil Carney and The Three Problem-Solving Elves."  C2M: Consulting to Management, Vol 15, No 2 (Jun 2004) pp 26-28. Co-author Harvey Bergholz.

"Protect Your Practice: Proactively."  C2M: Consulting to Management, Vol 14, No 2 (Jun 2003) pp 12-13. Co-author Harvey Bergholz.

"Who Needs What Training." Unpublished (2003).

"The Accountability Scorecard."  The Accounting World, Vol II, No 12 (Dec 2002) pp 46-50. ICFAI Press, Hyderabad, India.

"Building Your Consulting Practice through Referrals (Part 3)," C2M: Consulting to Management, Vol 13, No 3 (Sep 2002) pp 24-25. Co-author Harvey Bergholz.

"Revisiting A Still Valid Case for Collaboration between Instructional Technologists and OD Specialists - Part 2: The Results of Collaboration."  Organization Development Journal, Vol 20, No 1, pp. 17-27 (Spring 2002).  OD Institute: Chesterland.

"Smaller Practices."  C2M: Consulting to Management, Vol 13, No 2 (Jun 2002) p 37-38.  Co-author Harvey Bergholz.

"Building Your Consulting Practice through Referrals (Part 2)," C2M: Consulting to Management, Vol 13, No 1 (Mar 2002) pp 21-22. Co-authored with Harvey Bergholz.

"Revisiting A Still Valid Case for Collaboration between Instructional Technologists and OD Specialists - Part 1: The Basis for Collaboration."  Organization Development Journal, Vol 19, No 4, pp. 20-37 (Winter 2001).  OD Institute: Chesterland.

"Building Your Consulting Practice through Referrals (Part 1)," C2M: Consulting to Management, Vol 12, No 3 (Sep 2001) pp 25-26. Co-authored with Harvey Bergholz.

"Change Management 101: A Primer." BMA Review, Vol 12, No 4 (Jul-Aug 2001) pp 38-51. Bombay Management Association, Mumbai, India.

"The Independent Consultant as Equilateralist (Part 3)."  C2M: Consulting to Management, Vol 12, No 1 (Mar 2001) pp 37-38.  Co-authored with Harvey Bergholz.

"Evaluating Training: There is No Cookbook Approach" (2000).  The 2001 ASTD Training & Performance Yearbook, pp. 322-333. McGraw-Hill: New York.

"The Independent Consultant as Equilateralist (Part 2)."  C2M: Consulting to Management, Vol 11, No 3 (Dec 2000) pp 23-24.  Co-authored with Harvey Bergholz.

"Now What?  What to Do After You Scrap Your Company's Performance Appraisal System."  People Today (Nov 2000) pp 37-40. Hong Kong: Butterworths.

"Don't Redesign Your Company's Performance Appraisal System, Scrap It!" People Today (Oct 2000) pp 30-35. Hong Kong: Butterworths.

"The Independent Consultant as Equilateralist (Part 1)."  C2M: Consulting to Management, Vol 11, No 2 (Sep 2000) pp 26-27.  Co-authored with Harvey Bergholz.

"The Knowledge in Knowledge Management" (2000). The Knowledge Management Yearbook, pp 12-21.  Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann.

"What Is in the World of Work and Working: Some Implications of the Shift to Knowledge Work" (2000). The Knowledge Management Yearbook, pp 3-11.   Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann.

"Let the Games Begin." Technology Source: Commentary. (January-February 2000). University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill.

"Technology and the Future of Higher Education." On the Horizon, 7-6 (November 1999) pp 1-8.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Book Review: Robert Kanigel's The One Best Way: Frederick Winslow Taylor and the Enigma of Efficiency (Viking: 1997). Journal of Management Consulting, Vol. 10, No 2. (Nov 1998) pp.78-79.

"The Accountability Scorecard" (Invited Presentation: IQPC Conference).

"The Difficult Process of Identifying Processes." Journal of Knowledge and Process Management, Vol. 5 No 1 (March 1998) pp 14-19. University of Toronto: Toronto.

"Managing the Autonomous Performer: How Simon Legree lost his whip." (November 1997). Invited Presentation. Ithaca College School of Communication: Ithaca.

"Don't Redesign Your Company's Performance Appraisal System, Scrap It!" Corporate University Review, Vol 5, No 3 (May-Jun 1997) pp 54-59. Enterprise Communications: McLean. (Reprinted in the October 2000 issue of  People Today.)

"Should Organizations Appraise Performance: A Cost-Benefit Analysis."  Proceedings of the Third Biennial International Conference on Advances in Management (Jun 1996) p 87. Center for Advanced Studies in Management: Bowling Green, KY.

"Between A Rock and A Hard Place: Some Unintended Consequences of The Loss of Job Security." Training Magazine, Vol 33, No 1 (Jan 1996) p 146. Lakewood: Minneapolis.

"Yes, It Makes A Difference: Choosing The Right Tool for Problem Solving Tasks." Quality Progress, Vol 29, No 1 (Jan 1996) pp 83-87. ASQC: Milwaukee.

"Feedback about Feedback." Human Resources Development Quarterly, Vol 6, No 3 (Fall 1995) pp 289-296. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco.

"General Rules for Better Thinking: A Reprise of Chapter 6 from Richard Weil's The Art of Practical Thinking." Performance & Instruction, Vol 34, No 8 (Sep 1995) pp 22-23. ISPI: Silver Spring, MD.

"Reengineering the Problem Solving Process: Finding Better Solutions Faster." Performance Improvement Quarterly, Vol 7, No 4 (1994) pp 3-15. Learning Systems Institute, Florida State University: Tallahassee.

"Ten Tips for Beefing Up Your Problem Solving Tool Box." Performance & Instruction, Vol 33, No 6 (Jul 1994) pp 19-24. NSPI: Washington, D.C. **

"In Search of Quality." Performance & Instruction, Vol 33, No 2 (Feb 1994), pp 28-30. NSPI: Washington, D.C.

"One More Time: How Do You Identify Your Organization's Processes?" (1994). Occasional Paper. Educational Testing Service: Princeton, NJ.

"Reengineering, TQM, and The Process Perspective." (1993). Occasional Paper. Educational Testing Service: Princeton, NJ.

"Change Management 101: A Primer." (1993). Occasional Paper. Educational Testing Service: Princeton, NJ.

"Changing Behavior."  Performance & Instruction, Vol 32, No 9 (Oct 1993) pp 1-5.  NSPI: Washington, D.C. **

"Prototyping: Systems Development in Record Time."  The Journal of Systems Management, Vol 44, No 9 (Sep 1993) pp 26-30. Association for Systems Management: Cleveland.

"The Evaluation of Training." (1992). Evaluating the Results of Training, Karen L. Medsker and Donald G. Roberts (Eds.). ASTD: Alexandria.

"The Evaluation of Training: A Brief Historical Perspective." (1992). Evaluating the Results of Training, Karen L. Medsker and Donald G. Roberts (Eds.). ASTD: Alexandria.

"The Nature of Evaluation." (1992). Evaluating the Results of Training, Karen L. Medsker and Donald G. Roberts (Eds.). ASTD: Alexandria.

"Objectives, Systems, Patterns, Politics, and Conflict."  Performance & Instruction, Vol 31, No 5 (May-Jun 1992) pp 1-3.  NSPI: Washington, D.C.

"How to Figure Out What to Do." Training Magazine, Vol 28, No 8 (Aug 1991) pp 31-35. Lakewood: Minneapolis.

"Why Those Darned 'Training' Problems Won't Go Away." Performance & Instruction, Vol 29, No 1 (Jan 1990) pp 13-15. NSPI: Washington, D.C.

"Human Performance Technology: The End of An Era." Human Resources Development Quarterly, Vol 1, No 2 (Summer 1990) pp 187-197. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco.

"Making Work Productive: Work and Work Control Systems." Chapter 7 in Systems Theory Applied to Human Resources Development: Theory to Practice Monograph (1989), pp 91-116.  ASTD: Alexandria.

"The Conditions of Performance." Performance & Instruction, Vol 25, No 10 (Dec 1986-Jan 1987) pp 7-10. NSPI: Washington, D.C.

"Think About It." Performance & Instruction, Vol 24, No 7 (Sep 1985), p 9.  NSPI: Washington, D.C.

"Half a Needs Assessment: What Is in the World of Work and Working." Performance & Instruction, Vol 22, No 8 (Oct 1983) pp 24-27. NSPI: Washington, D.C.  (Reprinted as a classic in knowledge management in the 2000 edition of the Butterworth-Heinemann Knowledge Management Yearbook.)

"Performance and Instruction in the Year 2000: A Rejoinder!" Performance & Instruction, Vol 22, No 7 (Sep 1983) pp 8-9. NSPI: Washington, D.C.

"Performance and Instruction in the 1980s: Micro trends." (1983). Performance & Instruction. NSPI: Washington, D.C.

New Assignment - New Challenge: A Getting Up to Speed Manual for Newly-Assigned or Newly-Promoted Managers (1982). AT&T HRD: Basking Ridge.

"What's A Consultant?" (1982). Performance & Instruction, Vol 21, No 8, (Oct 1982) p 32. NSPI: Washington, D.C.

"Training: A Strategic View." Performance & Instruction, Vol 21, No 3 (Apr 1982) pp 28-29. NSPI: Washington, D.C.

"Generalist or Specialist: Whom Do I Consult?" Performance & Instruction, Vol 20, No 8 (Oct 1981) pp 23-24. NSPI: Washington, D.C.

"Beyond Performance & Instruction: Whoa there!" NSPI Journal, Vol 18, No 10 (Dec 1979), pp 27-30.  NSPI: Washington, D.C.

"Finding the Bottom Line Payoff of Training." Training & Development Journal, Vol 33, No 12 (Dec 1979) pp 54-63. ASTD: Alexandria.

"A Response to David Ainsworth's Critique of Instructional Technology." NSPI Journal, Vol 18, No 4 (May 1979) pp 16-18. NSPI: Washington, D.C.

"Organizational Planning and Conventional Wisdom."  Training & Development Journal, Vol 33, No 9 (Sep 1979) pp 70-76.  ASTD: Alexandria.  Co-authored with Roger Kaufman.

"Measurement-Based Analysis: Hooking What You're Doing to the Bottom Line." (1979). Organization Development Conference Papers (May 1979) pp 237-240. NTL: Rosslyn.

"Defining the Benefit in Cost Benefit Analysis." (1978). Proceedings. U.S. Naval Postgraduate School: Monterey.

"Concerning Performance and Performance Standards: An Opinion." NSPI Journal. Vol 16, No 1 (Feb 1977) pp 14-17. NSPI: Washington, D.C.

"Systems" (1976). NSPI Journal, NSPI: Washington, D.C., and OD Practitioner. NTL: Rosslyn.

"Extending the Reach of Instructional Technologists." NSPI Journal, Vol 15, No 8 (Oct 1976) pp 12-13. NSPI: Washington, D.C. Co-authored with William Buxton.

"Another Myth OD Consultants Believe In: Power." OD Practitioner, Vol. 8, No. 2 (Jun 1976) pp 1-3.  NTL: Rosslyn.

"Educational Technology and Organization Development: A Collaborative Approach to Organizational Change" (1975). Catalog of Selected Documents in Psychology, (5), 247. American Psychological Association: Washington, D.C. Co-authored with R. L. Forbes, Jr.

"The NSPI: Diagnosis by an ODer."  NSPI Newsletter, Vol XIV, No 1 (Feb 1975) pp 3-4. NSPI: Washington, D.C.

Command Action Planning System (1973). U.S. Navy Human Resources Management Center: San Diego. *

Instructional System Developer's Course (1971). U.S. Navy Instructor Training School: San Diego.

Programmed Instruction Writer's Course (1970). U.S. Navy Instructor Training School: San Diego.

           ** Published under the pen name of Peter W. Taylor


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This page was last updated on July 29, 2017