Behavior Modification


The law of effect states that if behavior is reinforced it will tend to to be repeated. The kind of reinforcement and its timing are important aspects of behavior modification. Reinforcement can be positive or negative. Positive reinforcement strengthens the association between a response and its reward. A negative reinforcement can take the form of either withholding a positive reward or administering a “painful” punishment.

The closer positive reinforcement follows the desired behavior, the more likely it will be repeated. This can cause some problems in an organizational setting. For example, money has the potential for being an extrinsic reinforcer, but money is usually paid at regular intervals, which may occur too long after the behavior being reinforced. For this reason reinforcers such as praise and recognition are easier to administer.

Although it is useful to know about behavior modification and to apply it when appropriate, it clearly is only a part of the total process of motivation. As such all management techniques, it is not a panaea.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Conducting an Interview


You may not have the time or inclination to create structured situational interviews. However, there are several things you can do to increase the standardization of the interview or otherwise assist the interviewer to ask more consistent and job relevant questions. They include:

  1. Base questions on actual job duties. This will minimize irrelevant questions based on beliefs about the job’s requirements. It may also reduce the likelihood of bias, because there’s less opportunity to ‘read’ things into the answer.
  2. Use job knowledge, situational, or behaviorally oriented questions and objective criteria to evaluate the interviewee’s responses. Questions that simply ask for opinions and attitudes, goals and aspirations, and self-descriptions and self-evaluations allow candidates to present themselves in an overly favorable manner or avoid revealing weaknesses. Structured interview questions can reduce subjectivity and therefore the chance for inacurate conclusions, and bias. Examples of structured questions include: (a) situational questions like, “Suppose you were giving a sales presentation and a difficult technical question arose that you could not answer. What would you do?”; (b) past behavior questions like, “Can you provide an example of a specific instance where you developed a sales presentation that was highly effective?”; (c) background questions like, “What work experiences, training, or other qualifications do you have for working in a teamwork environment?”; (d) job knowledge questions like, “What factors should you consider when developing a TV advertising campaign?”
  3. Train interviewers. For example, review laws with prospective interviewers and train them to avoid irrelevant or potentially discriminatory questions and to avoid stereotyping minority candidates. Also train them to base their questions on job-related information.
  4. Use the same questions with all candidates. When it comes to asking questions, the prescription seems to be “the more standardized, the better.” Using the same questions with all candidates can also reduce bias “because of the obvious fairness of giving all the candidates the exact same opportunity.”
  5. Use rating scales to rate answers. For each question, provide a range of possible ideal answers and quantative score for each. Then you can rate each candidate’s answers against this scale. This ensures that all interviewers are using the same standards.
  6. Use multiple interviewers or panel interviews. Doing so can reduce bias, by diminishing the importance of one interviewer’s idiosyncratic opinions, and by bringing in more points of view.
  7. If possible, use structured interview form. Interviews based on structured guides usually result in the best interviews. At the very least, list your questions before the interview.
  8. Control the interview. Limiting the interviewers’ follow-up questions (to ensure all interviewees get the same questions), using a larger number of querstions, and prohibiting questions from candidates until after the interview are other “structuring” techniques.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Impact of Time-based Competition on Employees


The level of financial performance improvements achieved by companies as they become time-based competitors is difficult to match with conventional cost-cutting techniques. For example, the improvements are completely out of the range of what is achievable by the following methods:

  • Cutting direct labor wages through renegotiation or going offshore.
  • Reducing overheads by de-layering management structures and/or narrowing the line of products and services offered
  • Automation short of the
  • ‘people-less’ factory
  • Obtaining superior economies of scale.

The only way to achieve this degree of performance improvement is by transforming the company into a time-based competitor. Furthermore, the transformation must be made before a competitor makes it.

 

Probably as important, and maybe even more important than the profit improvements, though, are the intangible rewards to the organization of being a time-based competitor. People like to believe they are winners. Growth and improvements in financial indicators clearly tell an organization and the world that that they are winners.

 

Competitors of time-based competitors are often frustrated by their inability to match the growth and returns of their rivals. But they may misjudge the competitive factors contributing to their difficulties. Many complain that their industry is one where no one can make money because of cut-throat competition by companies that do not know how to make money. On two points they are correct: the competition is cut-throat and it is their throats that are being cut. This is the classic case of the retreating competition not understanding the strategy and capability of the advancing competitor.

 

Management should look to time-based competition not only as a source of above-average returns but also as opportunity to make their people feel like winners.

 

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

How good managers find talent?


Even if you know how to select for talent, it is not always easy to identify those who have it. At the first place, many people don’t know what their true talents are. They may be experts in their chosen field, but when it comes to listing their unique set of talents, they are stumped.

 

Your own skills and knowledge are already easy to identify. You had to inquire them, and therefore they are apart, distinct. They are “not You.” But your talents? Your talents are simply your recurring patterns of behavior. They are your very essence. It takes a rare objectivity to be able to stand back from yourself and pick out the unique patterns that make you You.

 

Then, when someone applies for a job, he naturally wants to impress. Therefore, those few recurring behaviors of which he is aware will be painted in as rosy a hue as possible. In the job interview he labels himself assertive, not aggressive. He describes himself as ambitious rather than pushy. More often than not these are not deliberate misrepresentations. They are genuine attempts to describe himself to you positively. But whatever his true motivations, his instinct to try to impress you makes your job—the talent scout—that much more difficult.

 

These barriers to talent scouting are a fact of life. Human nature being what it is, people will always struggle to know themselves, and they will always sell themselves in job interviews. Despite these barriers, good managers still do much better than their colleagues at selecting people with the right talents for the role. They have discovered some simple techniques to cut through the barriers and so find the match between the person and the role.

 

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please contact www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Human Resource Management


Human resource management is the process of acquiring, training, appraising, and compensating employees, and attending to their labor relations, health and safety, and fairness concerns. The topics provide you with the concepts and techniques you need to carry out the people or personnel aspects of your management job. They include:

  • Conducting job analysis (determining the nature of each employee’s job):
  • Planning labor needs and recruiting job candidates;
  • Selecting job candidates;
  • Orienting and training new employees;
  • Managing wages and salaries (compensating employees);
  • Providing incentives and benefits;
  • Appraising performance;
  • Communicating (interviewing, counseling, disciplining);
  • Training and developing managers;
  • Building employee commitment.

A manager should know about:

  • Equal opportunity and affirmative action;
  • Employee health and safety;
  • Handling grievances and labor relations.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please contact www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Handling Failure Factors


Herebelow are some useful techniques for handling failure factors while building your business:

1) Square peg, round hole: the most important thing to remember is, don’t try to make something fit if it doesn’t. You may have a high level of expertise in the traditional paradigm, and many of those skills will serve you well in marketing. But be aware that others won’t. When you find a skill or technique just isn’t working in the new paradigm, don’t blame marketing—discard the technique. Also, be open to learning new ideas and skills that were designed with marketing in mind.

2) Don’t re-invent the wheel: After decades, the patterns for successful behavior in marketing are fairly established. It’s human nature to want to add our own flair to everything, but make sure you learn the basics first. Some people in past decades tried some ideas but they didn’t turn to be effective as they hoped. Don’t re-invent the wheel.

3) Work the plan, not the angles: Perhaps the most important general rule for avoiding unexpected failure factors is to focus on the simple business building system and stay away from sidelines and ‘new’ angles. You came to marketing to build a business, not to get bogged down in side ventures and alternative schemes. Indeed, it’s tempting to look for alternative ‘revenue streams,’ but the time you spend chasing these things would be much better spent invested in your core business. Once you’ve made a commitment to building a marketing business, that commitment should be total. Any side activity has the potential to draw away your focus—and your growing business can suffer.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please contact www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Having a nodding acquaintance with the Concept of Zero Defect


In the late 20th century, the zero defect concept has gained momentum in many developed countries. This has made people to go in for prevention techniques rather than the corrective techniques which were in conventional use. Attaining zero defect is not a one time affair. This is a slow process requiring continuous improvement. Sustained efforts may result in zero defect in the long run.  It should be understood that six sigma concept is also related to this.

 

The methodology is a continuous improvement process, at every stage attaining an improvement over the previous one. Initially the current status of the process and the desired future status of the process are to be clearly defined. The difference between these two indicates the quality improvement that has to be brought to the process under consideration. Once this exercise is over the next step of quality improvement has to be planned. Now the final quality status attained in the first exercise becomes the current status. A new desired future status is fixed. As before the difference between these two will become the new quality improvement which has to be introduced in the process. Steps have to be taken to effectuate this incremental quality. This exercise is again continued. Every time the exercise is carried out, it can be noticed that the incremental quality improvement to be introduced is reducing. After a prolonged exercise, this gap will become minute and one can hope to achieve the zero defect at the end.

 

How much is the incremental quality improvement that can be achieved and how soon the zero defect status will be reached, are dependent on how creative the ideas are. Highly creative ideas can help in reaching the zero defect status fast.

 

Different techniques, such as “mistake proofing” can also be used for zero defect concept. In this method, prevention is considered to be the prime factor and at every stage it is essential that the preventive measures are incorporated to avoid defects at any stage.

 

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please contact www.asifjmir.com

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