Selecting a Pinpoint
A behavior or result – a behavior consists of someone’s actions while a result is what is left when the behavior is completed
Measurable – the behavior or result can be counted as occurring or existing
Observable – the behavior or result can be seen by an observer
Reliable – two independent observers agree
Active – passes the Dead Man’s Test
Under the performer’s control – performer must have major influence on changing the result
Poor communication. This is not a good pinpoint because it would be difficult to measure and for two independent observers to agree. A better pinpoint would be: Servers write orders on tickets accurately and give them to the kitchen within 2 minutes of the table ordering.
Employees are in a bad mood. This is difficult to measure and is not reliable. It also not a behavior or a result and therefore is not observable. A better pinpoint might be: Employees smile and say, “Welcome to our store, would you like a cart?” as customers enter the store.
There should be food available on site. This is not a pinpoint but rather a solution to something such as employees taking long breaks to go get food. The pinpoint should be: Employees return from breaks on time and the cause and solution are determined after analysis.
Employees steal money from the cash registers and give improper change. This is also not a pinpoint but rather what the employer assumes is the cause of the problem. The real pinpoint is: Amount of money in employees’ cash registers matches register slip at the end of the night.
Suggesting appetizers to guests. The important thing to the employer is increasing appetizer sales, not suggesting the appetizers. In order to increase the sales, one intervention could be to get the servers to suggest appetizers. However, if servers suggested appetizers and sales did not increase, there would be no benefit from the behavior. In this situation, it is the result that is most important so the pinpoint should be: Increasing appetizer sales. A project would significantly strengthened, however, by measuring BOTH suggestions (behavior) and actual sales (results).
Instructions for the Business Interview Assignment
Schedule the interview and attend.
Find a good pinpoint
Develop rapport with a manager you do not already know
Take the student form with you to the interview and have the manager sign the bottom. Bring it home and turn it in with your 1-2 page write-up of the interview experience. (No guidelines for write-up.)
Take the manager rating form with you (2 pages, or front-back) and leave it with the manager, along with a pre-stamped enveloped addressed to me (address is on the rating form from page). Ask the manager to please fill it out and put it in the mail after the meeting.
Instructions for the Measures and Planning Assignment
Complete the measures and planning worksheet. You do NOT have to collect any data at the business interview site. If you want to, it’d be good experience, but you do not HAVE TO as part of the class.
Along with your measures and planning worksheet, remember to turn in a SAMPLE data sheet for measuring behavior. If your pinpoint was a result, then follow the instructions in the reading objective #5 for the Bailey Chapter 5 reading. Create your data sheet on a computer, NOT with paper and pencil. You do not have to fill in same data – you can leave it blank.
Instructions for the Diagnostic Sheet Assignment
Complete the Performance Diagnostic Checklist worksheet. You do NOT have to collect any data at the business interview site. If you want to, it’d be good experience, but you do not HAVE TO as part of the class.
Along with your diagnostic worksheet, remember to turn in a SAMPLE graph displaying the design you think you could use, and include made-up (hypothetical) data on the graph. Create the graph on the computer, (I suggest using Microsoft Excel).
Attention Student: Fill this sheet out and turn it in with your completed assignment!
Business Interview (Student Form)
(Psy 444) - Dr. John Austin - WMU
Student Code Number: ______
# of employees?_________
Manager’s span of control (how many people do they manage?) ____
Type of business: Service Manufacturing Sales Other:_________
Manager’s statement and signature:
The student ________________ conducted a business interview when
(write student name here)
he/she visited me on __________.
(manager’s signature here)
***Attention Student: Please attach this page to your 1 to 2 page summary of the business interview when you turn it in during class.
Attention Student: Fill out the top and give this and the rating sheet with an Austin-addressed stamped envelope to the manager at the end of the interview!
(Manager Rating Form)
(Psy 444) - Dr. John Austin - WMU
Thank you for your participation in this student interview. In participating, you are supporting the local university community and assisting us in giving students valuable experience in performance management!
To assist us in evaluating and improving student performance on these encounters, please fill out the brief questionnaire below and mail it in the enclosed envelope.
If you have questions or comments about this interview or about the performance management consulting services and seminars we offer through the Western Michigan University Industrial and Organizational Psychology Program, please feel free to contact me:
Dr. John Austin
Department of Psychology
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
Office Phone: (269)387-4495
Thanks again for your support and participation.
John Austin, Ph.D.
Please rate the student’s performance during the interview on the following dimensions:
Strongly Strongly Agree Disagree
1) The student’s dress was business-like 1 2 3 4 5
2) The student’s behavior was professional 1 2 3 4 5
3) While talking to me, the student
maintained normal eye contact 1 2 3 4 5
4) The student asked me about management
issues in my business 1 2 3 4 5
5) About how long did the interview take? About __________minutes.
6) My overall evaluation of the student’s performance:
Exemplary Very Poor
1 2 3 4 5
7) I would like to be contacted in the future about opportunities to have a free performance management or training project conducted by a student:
Please include any additional comments you may have in the space below:
Student Task Analysis
(Psy 444) - Dr. John Austin - WMU
Locate a business in which you can visit (if you don't have a car, make it somewhere you can walk to). It really can be any business, but SHOULD NOT be a business where you work or where your friend is a manager. The point of this exercise is to practice your social skills in developing rapport with a manager you DO NOT know. Finding a large business would be most interesting for you, but any size will do.
Call that business and ask to speak with the manager. If there is likely to be more than manager, decide BEFORE you call which manager to speak with (sales, kitchen, project, marketing, safety, etc.).
When the manager answers, introduce yourself and explain the interview, asking if s/he may 30 minutes in the next week or two that s/he can spare.
Example: “Hi, my name is John Austin and I am a student at Western Michigan University. I am calling because I am taking a course on performance management and a requirement is to interview a manager about their business. Would you have a little time to meet with me in the next week or so? The interview will take no longer than 30 minutes, and you don't have to prepare anything.”
If the manager says “No” (and some will), thank them for their time and ask them to have a nice day. If they say “Yes”, then you ask what time is usually best for them, and schedule the meeting. WORK AROUND THE MANAGER’S SCHEDULE. Do not make them work around yours. Remember the manager is doing you a BIG favor! End the phone call by repeating the time and day and thanking the manager.
Example: “GREAT. Then I will see you on Tuesday, the 11th at 9am. Thanks so much for your help! Have a great day.”
Do not miss the interview. Even if you must crawl on your hands and knees, make the interview. If they must wheel you there on a stretcher, so be it. Honestly, in the case of dire emergency be sure and call as soon as you know you must cancel. ***Dire means you will not live through the interview if you go.
Step 4 - Getting ready
It is recommended that you get and read over some information about the business before the meeting so that you can have some idea what they do and where their performance problems may lie.
Make sure you dress in a business-like fashion.
Men: no jeans, no sneakers. A button down or polo type shirt is usually fine. A sport coat is optional, and you may feel it to be too dressy in many cases – it really depends on the place you are going. As a rule, you don’t want them to be better dressed than you. It is not recommended to wear cologne.
Women: no denim or jeans, no sneakers. Same option as men with the coat or jacket. It is not recommended to wear perfume.
Be sure to take:
-a clipboard or notebook
-your student sheet to have the manager sign AND the rating form along with a stamped envelope addressed to me (my address is above on the rating form).
-put this stuff in a briefcase or nice bag if you have one - if not carry it in your hands.
Step 5 - During the Interview
Be professional at all times! The point of such a meeting is to establish rapport, which is an interactive relationship where both you and the manager are comfortable around each other feel that your interactions are pleasant and even enjoyable.
When you arrive, introduce yourself and look the person in the eye, shaking their hand. Sometimes a hand shake is not appropriate -- you have to make the judgment call.
When the meeting starts, you can begin with small talk if you feel comfortable doing that or if you feel uncomfortable getting right down to business. However, keep the small talk to about 2 minutes or less. Examples of small talk might be noticing a plaque on the wall or photos to which you can relate (i.e., you have kids too; you were also a sigma chi; etc.). Don’t fake this...if there’s nothing there, just move on.
When you do get down to business, you need to have a good idea of what sorts of questions you plan to ask. You could have them written down beforehand (preparation always helps!). Some sample questions that you may use include:
-How long have you been a manager at....
-Do you have a degree? In what?
-How many employees do you manage?
-What sorts of things do they do?
After getting the background info, you should go on to ask performance-related questions such as:
-What sorts of challenges do you face in managing the employees here?
(this is the key question - if you can say this so they understand what you are looking for you may get a gold mine.)
-Do some employees do better than others? Why do you think this is? What are some of the reasons?
-What are some of the things you do to motivate your employees?
With each question, try and follow up the answer. Depending on what they say, you may be able to have a 20 minute conversation based on just one question.
By the end of the meeting, the goal is (aside from getting to know the manager) to have at least one behavior or accomplishment in need of improvement pinpointed. The pinpoint should meet the criteria described in the “Checklist for Evaluating Pinpoints”.
IF YOU WANT TO DO A PROJECT (NOT REQUIRED - optional):
You should end the meeting by asking if you might be able to measure the behavior that you just pinpointed. Assure the manager that it will not take time from their schedule - that you will do all of the work, and they will get a better idea of how big of a problem it is. Managers always want to collect data, but usually don’t have the time: emphasize that this is free data collection. IT IS NOT REQUIRED FOR PSY 444 THAT YOU DO A PROJECT. Projects are optional in this case, but it’s a great idea to do one during this class, because you’ll get information and support throughout the semester regarding your project - we go through the steps of how to do a PM project as the semester progresses.
If the manager agrees, you should set a time for you to start - in essence schedule your next meeting. If you can get the data through some other means than taking the manager’s time, then do so. For instance, if you need to come in and observe a behavior just ask the manager when it would be least disruptive. However, if you need to go through some records, you need to figure out who would have to help you and make sure they will be there when you come for your next visit.
You don’t have to figure this stuff out on the spot—you can tell the manager you will come up with a proposal and call him/her with it on next (name a day and a time).
You should tell the manager about the Society for Performance Management at Western. This is a student group that has as its mission to create and maintain strategic alliances with the local business community. The group is advised by Dr. Austin, and employs the PM faculty at Western to conduct training and consultation for management issues such as improving productivity, quality, and safety in a variety of industries. The group works to train students to make similar improvements in actual businesses.
At this point, if you want to do a project and the manager agreed to let you collect some data, you must go home and complete the measurement worksheet and develop a measurement system. If the manager did not agree, you can complete the measurement and planning sheet when it is due, using the pinpoint you just discussed, to develop a hypothetical measurement system.
Measures & Planning Worksheet
(Psy 444) - Dr. John Austin - WMU
I. Referred problem (the first thing they said was the problem:________________
II. Pinpoint: _____________________
This is how you “behavioralized” the problem listed above.
III. Is it a: Behavior or Result?
IV. If behavior, are there any permanent products which will tell you when the behavior occurs? YES NO
This is to help you decide to observe behavior or count products.
It is usually preferable (easier and more reliable) to count products. If you observe, use Bailey’s guidelines for developing interval data recording sheets (in readings, Bailey Ch 5)
V. If results, is there a currently established method of measurement? That is, how will you know if the results are achieved?
Describe how the data will be collected:_______________________
How often will it be collected? ___x per day or ___x per week
It should not be collected less frequent than 1x per week!
Who will collect the data? Specify exactly (day and time) when each person collects if more than one person.
What time will data be collected? __________am/pm
This should probably not be the same time each day, and should be randomized as best you can given your schedule.
Will there be reliability checks? Yes No
If yes, then who will do them? (Primary)_________ (Reliability)_________how often?________ Specify the dates in advance and remind the reliability observer beforehand. JABA suggests at least 25% of observations be checked for reliability.
Create a data sheet that could be used in conducting behavioral observations (see reading objective #5 from Bailey, Ch5 for more information on this. More specifically, if your pinpoint is a result, then create this data sheet to reflect the behaviors of a server in a restaurant. If your pinpoint is a behavior, then you can just create the data sheet for use with your pinpoint. TURN THIS IN ALONG WITH THE MEASURES AND PLANNING SHEET ABOVE.
Performance Diagnostic Checklist (PDC)
Dr. John Austin - WMU
Answer each of the following questions, providing data in support of your answer if possible.
Antecedents and Information
O O Is there a written job description telling exactly what is expected of the employee?
O O Has the employee received adequate instruction about what to do? (not training - explicit instructions like “I want you to do this, this, and this before we leave today…”)
O O Are employees aware of the mission of the department/organization? Can they tell you what it is?
O O Are there job or task aids in the employees’ immediate environment? Visible while completing the task in question? Reminders to prompt the task at the correct time?
O O Is the supervisor present during task completion?
O O Are there frequently updated, challenging, and attainable goals set that employees are comfortable with/feel are fair?
Equipment and Processes
O O Is task completion dependent upon unreliable equipment?
O O Is the equipment & environment optimally arranged in a physical sense?
O O Are larger processes suffering from certain incomplete tasks along the way (process disconnects)?
O O Are these processes arranged in a logical manner, without unnecessary repetition?
O O Are there any other obstacles that are keeping the employee from completing the task?
Knowledge and Skills
O O Can the employee tell you he/she is supposed to be doing and how to do it?
O O Can the employee physically demonstrate completion of the task?
O O Does the employee have the capacity to complete the job?
O O Are there consequences delivered contingent on the task?
-positive or negative?
-Are there premack reinforcers? (see worksheet on How to Find Premack Reinforcers)
O O Do employees see the effects of performance? (How? Natural / arranged)
O O Do supervisors deliver feedback? (How? Written / verbal; direct / indirect)
O O Is there performance monitoring?
(Self / supervisor direct / supervisor indirect)
O O Is there a response effort associated with performing?
O O Are there other behaviors competing with the desired performance?
II. List all problems Describe a solution for each part:
Describe in detail how each of the intervention components will be implemented. Use a separate sheet if necessary.
-Who will deliver the intervention or announce the change?
What design will you use to evaluate the design?
AB ABA Multiple BL Changing Criterion
-Keep in mind - reversal designs can not be used when knowledge or dangerous behaviors are involved.
-If there are more than one department or individual, and their treatments can be kept separate, you can use a multiple baseline design.
-Otherwise, you are probably going to use AB, Multi-element, changing criterion (multi-element & changing criterion are most powerful)
V. Using Microsoft Excel, graph an example of what your data SHOULD look like given the design you just chose, if the project were a great success. If you have them, use your baseline data and make up intervention data. If not, make up both baseline and intervention data. DO NOT SUBMIT A HAND-DRAWN GRAPH.