By Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez, M.S., BCBA, Bueno Ventures, OBM Alliance, 305 Publishing
Goal Setting, not a novel concept by any stretch. In fact, there even exists a management theorem called “Goal Setting Theory” (Locke and Latham, 2006) describing goal setting as the relationship between goals and its effects. The theorem continues with specific points of emphasis such as clarity of the goals, challenging yet attainable goals, feedback must be provided on goal attainment, and group goal setting is as important as individual goal setting.
So why is goal setting so difficult for many organizations? In a word – confusion.
Many managers who are looking to set a goal for their team starts with some basics – past performance, expectations of upper management, and the old “add 10%.” Now, the challenge with goal setting is twofold: the goal itself, and setting the goal.
THE GOAL ITSELF
A goal is a preset or specified level of performance to be attained. Good goals are SMART Goals (Geller, 2003) - Specific - Motivational - Achievable - Relevant – and Trackable. After defining the goal, managers take great care to ensure they meet the SMART criteria. Testing the criteria requires feedback from those who are affected by the goals and those who influence the goals.
Goal setting is the process in which the goal is set. It is advisable for the manager to gather input from stakeholders who are affected by the goal – the very employees doing the work. Although upper management definitely plays a role in setting the goal, the manager should take great care in how goals set affect the employees who are then held accountable to the goal.
Goal setting also requires an understanding of ensuring the goal is challenging yet attainable, and higher than (or toward the higher end of) typical performance, but at a point where it’ll be reached at least occasionally. It is also always better to start too low, and then increase it as you go, versus too high and never accomplish it.
There is much written on the subject of goal setting, and for people who work in organizations, it’s a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual topic. Yet, goals and goals settings are only part of the equation of a system to managing and positively influencing human performance. Without goals and goal setting however, the workplace may seem rather dull.
Geller, E.S. (2003). Should organizational behavior management expand its content? Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, 22(2), 13-30, DOI: 10.1300/J075v22n02_03
Locke, E.A., & Latham, G.P. (2006). New directions in goal-setting theory. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 15(5), 265-268.
The field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) while it has been around for many years is still in many ways in the growth phases as a profession. Once such area is that of diversity and multicultural issues. It has only been within the past few years that meaningful conversations have really started to occur around the topic of multiculturalism and diversity issues in the field. I will give you a brief summary of the current status of the field in this area and opinions of where I think we still need to go.
CURRENT STATUS ON DIVERSITY
statistics are lacking
Unfortunately it is hard to know exactly the current status of minorities in the field of ABA because the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) does not report the demographics of Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs), Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts (BCaBAs), or Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs). The only data available are in regards to the number of certificants and the practice areas of those certificants. According to a study by Nosik & Grow (2015), the majority of behavior analysts are women (82.2%). This does not necessarily match the gender of individuals being served by behavior analysts. Data show that most behavior analysts tend to work in practice areas with individuals with autism and the majority of clients with autism are males with 1 in 37 boys being diagnosed with autism each year (Autism Speaks, 2018). Other than gender data, there is no publicly available demographic data pertaining to certified professionals in ABA through the BACB, Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI), or the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts (APBA) as it relates to race, ethnicity, religious/spiritual affiliation, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status. Therefore, there is no accessible information on the percentage of behavior analytic professionals identifying as minorities or belonging to other diverse groups. This is concerning because there is no understanding then if the population of behavior analytic professionals are matching the demographics of the populations being serviced with behavior analysis.