Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


35th Annual Convention; Phoenix, AZ; 2009

Event Details

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Symposium #465
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
Managing your Organization: Taking a Systemic Approach for Optimal Success
Monday, May 25, 2009
3:00 PM–4:20 PM
North 221 AB
Area: OBM/AUT; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: H. Keith Massel (Vista Center for Behavior Analysis)
Discussant: Manuel A. Rodriguez (CLG)
CE Instructor: Allen Karsina, M.S.
Abstract: Managing an organization requires the understanding and appreciation of many internal and external variables, which interact in complex ways. For an organization to reach its full potential, these variables must be accounted for and managed. External variables, such as third party payment systems, industry best practices, and governmental regulations, to name a few, regularly effect the ways that agencies take on new clients and provide services. Internal variables such as goals and strategies, staff training, hiring & recruiting, consequences & feedback, and management practices can affect the quality, timeliness and cost of services. In order to effectively manage an agency that meets the demands of its cliental while achieving it’s mission, the interactions and influences of these external and internal variables must be measured and managed. This symposium will begin with a brief overview of a systems perspective of an organization and an introduction to the tools required to establish an Optimal Performance System. This paper will be followed by an example of the application of these tools within an ABA service provider agency, and finally the presentation will conclude with first hand accounts and testimonials from employees working within the agency. After seeing Optimal’s approach to system management and seeing the results of its application, audience members should leave with a rudimentary understanding of a systems perspective to organizational management and an understanding of the potential for such an approach, in a clinical ABA program.
Optimal’s Approach to System Management
SHANE D. ISLEY (Optimal), Donnie M. Staff (Optimal)
Abstract: Optimal encourages the application of evidence-based approaches, which enlists tools from human performance technology (HPT). These tools drive the analysis and design of systems that can be maintained by employees within the organization. The goal of a system design should be to provide agencies with a strong infrastructure that will support highly proficient, sustainable services, prevent inefficient processes, and as a result, minimize costs. Optimal emphasizes a value-adding, results-driven, systemic, partnership approach to system design, and specializes in establishing a comprehensive performance improvement culture for organizations, which encourages ongoing performance enhancing efforts long after Optimal has completed its intervention efforts. Organizations who adopt comprehensive performance-centered systems effectively generate services and link adaptively to their environment. Organizational and performance deficiencies occur when essential workplace variables (mission-goals, process quality, feedback systems, and alignment among organizational levels) interfere with performance. Understanding and appreciating an organization’s systemic nature is the key to a successful design of a successful organization. Brethower, D. M. (1995.) Specifying a Human Performance Technology Knowledgebase. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 8(2), 17-39.
Vista Center for Behavior Analysis: Implementing an Optimal Performance System to Individuals with Autism and their Families
H. KEITH MASSEL (Vista Center for Behavior Analysis), Shane D. Isley (Optimal)
Abstract: Providing highly effective, consistent, and sustainable services to individuals with autism and their families requires more than skilled clinicians and willing clients. While it is an often-overlooked feature of effective services delivery, providing such services requires comprehensive performance analysis and improvement efforts at all levels of an agency. Recognizing this, Vista initiated an agency-wide reorganization, based on a comprehensive performance analysis of their organization. In a desire to expand, Vista began to deconstruct and rebuild their organization’s foundation, in accordance with the methods and practices of human performance technology (HPT) and systems theory. These efforts began with a functional mission statement collaboratively created between Vista employees and Optimal. Disseminated throughout the agency, the mission statement was the beginning of an entire agency re-alignment that allowed the managerial staff of Vista to direct their performance improvement efforts towards a resolute outcome. Employees’ performance goals and decisions can be steered and evaluated by this organization-wide objective. This was followed by objective and quantifiable work outputs developed for all job levels, designed to align with and support the elements of Vista’s new mission statement. Phase I of the reorganization also involved the development of a restructured client scheduling process that is efficient, streamlined, tested and was systematically rolled out in order to insure its sustainability. Continuing efforts include the streamlining and systemizing of other key internal processes, as well as an advanced measurement and employee reimbursement process.
The Effects of a Reorganized System on Vista Center for Behavior Analysis’ Clinical Staff and Services
MARIA G. JIMENEZ (Vista Center for Behavior Analysis), Mario Vega (Vista Center for Behavior Analysis), H. Keith Massel (Vista Center for Behavior Analysis)
Abstract: True systemic interventions create noticeable changes throughout an organization. When internal and external variables are being measured and manipulated throughout the organization, employees and clients at all levels should be able detect these changes. The emphasis on organizational alignment during performance improvement efforts exists for several reasons, one of them being so that employees and clients are directly tied into the inner workings of the agency at all times. When this occurs, it provides employees and clients with a direct and immediate feedback loop concerning the effectiveness of services. During this section of the symposium, Vista’s Program Managers will report on the effectiveness of Vista’s performance improvement efforts, allowing audience members the opportunity to see the systemic effects of such efforts, as well as an example of an efficient and well-managed human service organization.



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