Thursday, November 23, 2017

The Pizza Came Late For The Focus Group and I Was Nailed on My Performance Appraisal

I am writing this entry at the suggestion of Laura Nygard, sports fan extraordinaire.  A focus group is a management tool which elicits feedback from the consumers of a product or service.  A small group is recruited and is asked questions from a moderator. The session is recorded for future reference.  I feel that this method has minimal effectiveness since a small number is not a representative sample of the population of users

Let’s turn the clock back to 1996 when the library manager wanted to run focus groups to determine what issues are bothering our users.  He wanted groups of undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty.  I volunteered to coordinate this effort.

To get students to participate, we offered a free lunch.  I could not anticipate how difficult it would be to recruit students for this effort.  I sent out mass emails and tried to recruit people face to face, but they just did not want to be bothered.  It was minutes before the session was to begin and I was still trying to recruit students.  Meanwhile, the person from the dining services delivered the pizza to the wrong side of the building.  The focus group had started without the food.  The boss came in and went into a rage over this.  We finally located the food in another part of the building and brought it over.

The boss trashed me in front of other people which was completely unfair to me in any event.  The person who delivered the pizza to the wrong room should have been reprimanded.  My boss had a very good memory and nailed me on my performance appraisal several months later.  His performance review sessions were traumatic experiences.  At least he didn’t fire me.

The boss took the tape from the focus group and played it on his car radio on the way home.  Some people listen to rock, others jazz, but the micromanager listened to focus group recordings.


Laura Jean (LJ) said...

Thanks for taking the time to share the pizza story. Can't believe you got knocked on a performance review for it! That's crazy!

Bruce S said...

I guess this is my legacy at the NJIT Library

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