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An Overview

Of a book labelled
“ Analyzing Performance Problems
Or “ You Realy Oughta Wanna”
Written by
Robert F.Mager & Peter Pipe

Overview prepared by
Mohsen Saleh
March, 2008
This paper covers the Analysis of Performance Problems as
seen by Mager aand Piper

I did attach a complete soft and hard copy of the whole

book and I think what is great in it are three things :
- The Diagram –guided style it takes as we see a
at the beginning of the book followed by detailing
each step in a very coherent & rigid approach.
This diagram or flowchart approach facilitates
looking at the problems and setting aside the non
required solutions and work on that is really have
an impact.

- The examples that are scattered here and there

which are very clarifying & illuminating to the
being addressed or the points being introduced.

- The final Checklist at the end of the book which

summarizes every thing and reflects the whole
material in a snapshot way and wraps up

In the end, I hope through that brief introduction of the

ideas included in this book , I could do something in
shedding some light on how to approach the performance
problems being encountered at the workplace.
Wishing you a good day
Mohsen Saleh – April ,2008
The Book is addressing the following questions:
A- Is there is a performance Discrepancy

If there , then the second question ? is it important

or not?

If it is not important ……Ignore it

If it is important go to the following question?

Is it a skill deficiency or not ?
If yes, It is Skill Deficiency
Follow this list Questions

Used to do it ?
If no arrange for
Formal training
If yes go to
Ask the following Question
Used Often?
If no , Arrange for
A practice
If Yes
Arrange for Feedback
Simpler Change Job
Way , Yes Arrange On-Job Training
Has Potential if Not Transfer or

Is it a skill deficiency or not ?

If No, Go and ask the following questions ?

Is Performance Punishing ?
If Yes Remove Punishment

Is non-Performance Rewarding ?
If Yes, Arrange Positive Consequences

Is Performance Matters ?
If No, Arrange consequences

If there are obstacles ?

Remove Obstacles

Select Best Solutions


Implement Best Solutions

In discrepancy , you have to identify the nature of the
discrepancy and once its nature identified , its importance
can be considered

How to do it :
Ask the following questions :

- why do I think that there is a training problem?

- What is the difference between what is being
and what is supposed to be done?
- What is the event that causes me to say that
things are not right?
- Why I am dissatisfied?

In determining the importance of discrepancy, if it is not

important , ignore it if it is important ,proceed to the next
series of steps at determining the cause of discrepancy

How to do that is to ask

- Why is the discrepancy important

- What will happen if I left the discrepancy alone?
- Could doing something in solving the discrepancy
have any worthwhile results?
Once the sentence completed such as discrepancy is
important because .. in this way the discrepancy is being
evaluated more realistically.
The elimination of discrepancy could be approached in two
ways :
- you can change what you are doing ( Actual
- or You can change your expectations for the
Performance ( the Desired Performance)

Is it a Skill Deficiency ?

We have to ask where we are ?

If there is a genuine skill deficiency , then the primary

remedy must be either change the employee skill level
( teach him how to do it) or change what is required from
him .

In summary, it is not automatically “ training Problem”

while detecting an important performance discrepancy, and
the solution does not necessarily involve teaching/training .
Before you can arrive a true solution , you must discover
what kind of a problem you have. And key step in this is to
determine whether the performance discrepancy is due to a
genuine skill deficiency .

How to do that is through asking the following

- Could he do it if he really had to ?
- Could he do it if his life depended on it?
- Are his present skills adequate for the desired

If it is a Skill Deficiency ?
The following points will be covered :

Could he do it in the past ?

In this case determine if the skill once existed before?

May be the employees being trained and forgot

Or there is a lack of training ?

Also, if you want to sustain once-known skills at an

acceptable level, then the need is probably for a “ Skill
Maintenance Program” .

Is the skill used often ?

Here, we have the statement , the more critical the skill, the
more important that that practice is provided.

There is a case where:

- A skill deficiency exists
- The person used to be able to perform the Skill
- The skill is in constant use

Here we have two points :

- Providing feedback about the quality of work
- Whether he receives regular information about
the quality of his performance to find out how
well he is doing.

In brief :
- If the skill is used frequently ,but has
deteriorated despite regular use ,maintain the
level of performance by providing periodic

- If the skill is used infrequently ,maintain the level

of performance by regular schedule of practice.

If he once knew how to do it ,but is

Doing it incorrectly

And does it regularly and does not do it

Look for look for

Lack of Feedback Lack of Practice

As the probable cause

With the skills deficiency , we could ask is there is simpler

Such using clear instructions and precautions

Manuals such as the car and apparatus manuals
using a checklist
using a color code
using labels
Using meters

All these techniques assist in performance excellence and

reduction of the mistakes in the performance and
consequently solving the skills deficiency that may exist.

In this part , we talk about If there is a solution simpler than

performance maintenance or formal training.

Does he have what it takes?

You can make all the changes you like, but if your man does
not have what it takes to do the job, either mentally or
physically , the changes are a waste of time.

During the previous part we talked about the change of the

job while at this part we talk about the change of the job
In this case we go to define whether the person has the
potential as desired

And in this case we have the following questions:

- Could he learn the job ?.
- Does he have physical and mental potential to
perform as desired?
- Is he overqualified for the job?

All the previous part was concentrating on the issue of the

deficiency in the skill

In this second part we talk about the non-skill

deficiency reason :
We have here the talk about the atmosphere of the work
and the following points :
A- Is desired performance punishing ?
B- Is non-performance rewarding?
C- Does performance really mater ?
D-Are there any obstacles to performance ?

A- Is desired performance punishing ?

Define whether the desired performance leads to

unfavorable consequences.

How :
What is the consequence of performing as desired?
Is it punishing to perform as expecting ?
Does he perceive desired performance as being
geared to
Would his world will be a little dimmer if he
as desired?

Such as the case with HSE department in reporting the

safety hazards at the area and faces a lot of unfavorable
feedback from the reported about Department.

B-Is non performance rewarding ?

To determine whether the non-performance or other

performance leads to more favorable consequences than
the desired performance.

How :
- What is the result of doing it his way not that
- What is the reward, prestige , status & jollies he
got from his performance?
- Does he get more attention fro misbehaving than
for behaving?
- Is he mentally inadequate so that the less he
does the less he has to worry about?
- Is he is physically in adequate so that he gets
lees tired if he does less?

B- Does performance really matter ?

- Does performing as desired matter to the performer?
- Is there is a favorable outcome for performing?
- Is there is an undesirable outcome for not
- Is there is a source of satisfaction for
- Is he able to take pride in his performance as an
individual or as a member of the group of the
- Does he get satisfaction from his needs form the

C- Are there obstacles to performing ?

To determine whether there are obstacles preventing the

desired performance .

How :
- What prevents him from performing?
- Does he know what is expected from him?
- Does he know when to do what is expected from
- Are there conflicting demands on his time?
- Does he lack the Authority? The time , The tools?
- Is he restricted by policies of by right way of
doing it? Or way we have always done it that
ought to be changed?
- Can I improve the performance by improving
Changing colors ? Increasing comfort? Modifying
the work position? Reducing visual or auditory
- Can I reduce “competition from the job-phone
Demands of less important but more immediate
In the end of the book , there is the question which solution
is the best :
Here we are talking about two points :
- What would it cost to go ahead with the solution?
- What would be the added values if I did it?

And here we have the following questions:

- Are any solutions inappropriate or impossible to
- Are any solutions plainly beyond our resources?
- What would it cost to go ahead with the solution?

- What would it be the added value if I did?

- Which remedy is likely to give us the most result
for the least effort?
- Which are we best equipped to try?
- Which remedy interests us most?

In the end , I hope that through this quick reference to this

great book could do something .

I think there should be a scenario creation for this analysis

techniques or what is labeled at the end of the book with
the name of checklist to assist in determining the reasons
behind the performance decline is it skill deficiency or other
point ?

In Looking at the performance problems as an issue , we

have to look at it from the factors that are related to any
other critical activity such as the following criteria:
- Time span and the opportunity cost
- The feasibility of the alternatives /solutions
- The magnitude of efforts and resources
- Also, the managers time spent
As in defining the performance problems and locating the
reasons and the best solution , we have to be aware that we
are practicing some sort of problem solving . So, we may
need to consider some techniques such as 20/80 rule ,
fishbone Analysis , Gantt Chart , Six Step Problem Solving
Model, Benchmarking , Brainstorming ..etc. in order to
reach the optimum in defining the performance problems
and the best way of solution .

In defining performance problems and based on the review

of the book included in this file , I discerned the importance
of asking , the technique you kindly use in the class
occasionally, as through the questioning at some cases
reality , the end result after answering some well
established questions , was something else not the first
mentioned reason . So, the dialogue is the tool that has
been used to monitor the real essence of the case we have
and there numerous examples in the book proving this

I think the mentioned cases ,if were refined and collected

with the checklist at the end of the book , could be of useful
us in understanding the message of the book and could be
used as a template for locating the performance problems.