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Analyzing Performance Problems: Or, You Really Oughta Wanna--How to Figure out Why People Aren't Doing What They Should Be, and What to do About It Paperback – May, 1997

4.5 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

If you don't have this book, get it. If it's on your shelf, get it down and use it. -- Performance Improvement Journal

From the Publisher

Performance problems are something we all face. Whether at work or in schools, at home or with friends, people often don't perform the way we want them to. Analyzing Performance Problems gives you the power to identify why people aren't performing as expected and to come up with realistic solutions that work.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 183 pages
  • Publisher: Center for Effective Performance; 3 edition (May 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1879618176
  • ISBN-13: 978-1879618176
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,244 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Before you begin your discussion of performance problems by talking about training, you need to read this common sense book by Robert F. Mager and Peter Pipe. Following a systematic algorithm, you will learn to identify your performance problem, decide how critical the problem is, and identify the underlying reasons for the existence of your problem. Problems can be a result of invisible expectations (you didn't tell me how) or what the book calls "upside-down consequences" (doing it right is not as rewarding as doing it wrong).
Using many common sense examples, this book demonstrates that solutions other than training can solve your performance problems. In fact, you will discover that training may be a useless solution that will not solve your problem. Until you take apart the expected performance, look at the component parts, and identify why the performer chooses the wrong action, you cannot correct the performance deficiency.
Training as a possible solution does not appear until the middle of the book. Training is needed because a person has never performed as required and does not know how to perform as required. Training can also help when skills have decayed over time and training is needed to refresh them.
When you look at human performance, you need to remember that people will usually follow the path of least resistance. They do not choose wrong performance because they want to be wrong. They choose the wrong performance because it is the best solution for them. Mager and Pipe uncover why people make these choices and offer you a way to achieve the correct performance you seek.
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There are two books written by Robert Mager that I highly recommend for people in the field of training. This is one of them.

Having been a training specialist for more than 20 years, I have, on occasion, tried to convince managers and chiefs why training was not a panacea, a be-all, end-all to their performance problems. If they had read a book like this, many of our discussions would never have taken place.

Mager and Pike have created an advanced performance flowchart from previous editions which enable the trainer or manager to first identify if a problem exists, its importance, and then what to do if one or both exist. The result will be selecting the appropriate strategy to solve the problem. You end up with a detective story filled with clues to help you find out the true culprit hindering expected performance.

I offer this book to any new training manager who lacks a background in training.

This book is easy to read, and takes an afternoon to get it done. The Performance Flowchart is one you want to hang in your office.

Like "Preparing Instructional Objectives," also by Mager, this is a keeper.
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Format: Paperback
I have heard supervisors and managers say over and over how much this book helped them resolve work performance problems without creating hostility. I know it has helped me work through some difficult supervisory challenges. But I also want to note that employees--not just supervisors--have reason to be thankful for it as well.

Mager's approach speaks directly to the issue of not making the assumption that a performance discrepancy is the fault of the employee. Neither is it always the fault of a supervisor or the result of lack of training. Mager and Pipe's book reminds you that there are many reasons for work performance issues, and it is crucial to know the reasons before we order "Improvement, or else!"

Let me also comment on the reviews that refer one instead to Covey and others. Those are fine books and certainly have their value. But they do not tell you how to actually deal with an employee's performance issue when the problem has gone on forever and no one seems to have handled it successfully. Those books inspire you to want to do something and to want to use good methods while doing it. Mager's book, however, tells you, step by step, how to analyze a performance issue and how to work with others to correct it. While you are doing that, you could certainly use Covey's thoughts, One Minute Manager concepts, Who Moved My Cheese principles and anything else that you think will add to your effectiveness.

Robert Mager has a droll style that I find appealing and Peter Pipe adds his well-organized thought processes too. This isn't a feel good book, although it is certainly not a stick and carrot book, as implied by others.
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Format: Paperback
Bob Mager's lucid and practical book is a joy to read and use. I've required it for some time in my university courses on human performance in the workplace. My students even like the pricetag. No better value on the market!
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This material has answered many questions that have concerned me. Working with volunteers has its own constraints, and this book will help me to aid my volunteers in accomplishing the goals necessary to achieve our purpose.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was first introduced to me during my Master's degree studies and has stayed with me ever since. It's an entertaining and easy read that helps you identify and tackle just about any performance problem that may come your way.

Mager and Pipe provide a number of performance problems in brief case studies as they guide you through the Performance Analysis Flow. Is training the solution to a problem in the workplace? Not always. Mager and Pipe will show you how simple solutions can make a world of difference.

This is one book I feel every training or performance improvement professional should have in their professional library.
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