PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT: Behaviors

This is a transcript of REPSradio.com Episode 010. To listen to the Podcast or download resources, Click Here.

Welcome! Welcome! Welcome!

In this episode I’m wrapping up my coverage of the discreet elements of your formula for next-generation Human Performance.

As I trust you recall, the formula is: HU = W(R+B), where HU (of course) stands for Human Performance, the W represents the most important element- our reason WHY; R denotes Results, and the B…well, “the B word” as I like to call it, represents Behaviors…which is today’s topic.

Put into words, the definition is:

“WHY we do WHAT we do the WAY we do it.”

If you haven’t yet listened to the REPSradio.com episodes on the “WHY” and the “WHAT”, you may want to do so BEFORE you listen to this one. I detail the importance of WHY in Episode 08, and dive into the WHAT (Results) in Episode 09, including classic derailments and dead ends many organizations continue to make (in spite of their best intentions).

Yes…the “B Word”…

“Behaviors”

What do you think of when the term rears its head?

According to Webster’s, a “Behavior” is (1) the manner of conducting oneself, (2) anything an organism does involving action and response to stimulation, and (3) the response of an individual, group, or species, to its environment.

Wikipedia says pretty much the same thing.

I know back in the day, when my parents saw fit to talk to me about my behavior, it was generally NOT a very pleasant conversation! In fact, these were some of the most traumatic “talking to’s” of my growing up years!

I remember one evening’s ‘roundtable’ discussion when I was eight years old. I called them ‘roundtable discussions’ because for some reason, the most popular time to have chats about my Behavior seemed to be after dinner, and our dinner table happened to be round…

In this instance, I’d been ‘ratted on’ by Mrs. Hill (our next-door neighbor), for writing on the Hunt’s freshly-stained redwood fence across the street. But the writing wasn’t the bad part. She also overheard me telling my buddy, Ross, “It’s no big deal. They’re rich- they can afford it…” which, of course, she HAD to include in her report to my Mom.

My Mom was NOT pleased. Well, actually, she was downright pissed!

But it wasn’t the actual fence-writing that upset my parents so much- that was a stupid kid thing. What really bothered them was the “They can afford it…they’re rich” attitude lying underneath my actions. I clearly needed an attitude adjustment.

During my parents’ inquisition, tears streamed down my cheeks. I was mortified and ashamed. And of course, after it was over, I had to go apologize to Mr. Hunt…as well as re-stain his fence.

It was a horrible experience for me at the time; however, looking back, my parents were brilliant in how they handled the whole thing. They moved beyond the act itself (the writing on the fence) to the Behavior, including my underlying mindset.

I say they were brilliant because they achieved what they wanted- I never engaged in fence-writing (or anything like it) ever again, AND I learned a valuable lesson- NOT because they yelled and screamed…they didn’t. I wasn’t spanked, grounded, or otherwise punished.

I WAS, however, 100% accountable. Through my parents’ focus upon my Behavior and the attitude underneath my Behavior, there was no place to hide- I had to be accountable. Looking back, I cannot believe I could have ever had such a lack of respect for someone else’s property!

So- what does eight-year-old fence-writing have to do with the Behaviors of your team members?

Everything.

For a moment, I’d like you to think across the broad spectrum of team member Behaviors– not specific actions, but the WAY workers conduct themselves…their general Behaviors.

To keep things simple, let’s bin these Behaviors into three categories and give them labels- “A” Behaviors at the top, “B” in the middle, and “C”-level Behaviors at the bottom.

Now- consider which of your employees’ Behaviors tend to fall into each category.

How many “A Players”, “B Players” and “C Players” are on your team?

Because we’ve been trained to focus on negatives, and because they generally get the most attention, your mind likely first dropped to the dregs- to those workers considered ‘problems’. Those having ‘bad attitudes’…your “C Players”. You know…those team members who, no matter WHAT is being proposed, or whatever you are wanting to accomplish…they set themselves AGAINST it.

Furthermore, for some reason…like crabs in a bucket, they seem to want to drag others down with them!

As you continue mentally surveying your team’s behavioral landscape, your top performers, your “A Players”, likely next pop into your head. Thank God for the “A Players”! Wouldn’t it be great if you just had more of them?!

And finally, there’s the mass of workers ‘in the middle’- your “B Players”. These are the folks who do most of the work. Interestingly, they likely receive the least of your notice or ongoing attention.

I asked you to do this mental exercise because it was likely very easy for you to categorize your team members. This is because Behaviors are pervasive AND they are observable.

This is a reason why focusing on Behaviors has begun to receive a fair amount of attention in the workplace over the past several years. Consider Behavior-Based Safety for example, or the rise of “observation & coaching” programs.

Unfortunately, observing and documenting behaviors is where progress has tended to end for many (if not most) in the Performance Improvement space.

This is because dealing with those Behaviors, let alone figuring out how to change them, is where many consider things to be very complex.

In reality, it isn’t rocket science (or brain surgery), and this is where the story of my eight-year-old aberration gets important.

Had my parents simply punished the act of writing on the fence, or had they chosen to simply ignore the whole thing- I might very well have taken a different tack in further fence-writing, let alone in my appreciation- or distinct lack of appreciation- for someone else’s property (and whether their financial status justified my childish pranks).

By getting to the actual Behavior, the WAY I did what I did, including the mindset underlying the Behavior, I was able, even at the age of eight, to make healthy connections- connections not only immediately shifting my actions, but my thoughts and emotions as well.

Healthy connections precede healthy choices.

You’ve heard me ask the question several times before- How do you get a team member to do the right thing at 3:00 AM when no one is watching?

The answer, of course, is: He or she is only going to do so if they WANT to.

Thoughts and emotions are where the WANT comes from!

So, here’s the first thing for you to do the next time you observe a Behavior that is less than you’d prefer, whether your it’s your own or another’s: Stop simply looking at and judging the act. Consider what lies underneath, and focus on that. This is where transformational power resides.

Next, if you truly want to be an influencer, adopt the following as your personal mantra for transforming Behaviors: “What can I do today that I can see working today?”

Stop relying upon data collection, storage, and analysis somewhere down the road!

Role model. Look for the positives. Engage. Mentor.

What [specifically] should you look for?

I have GREAT news for you- there are only a handful of truly important Behaviors in the workplace.

We call them Vital Behaviors.

As a leader of Performance Improvement, focusing upon Vital Behaviors (and then properly engaging) catapults your effectiveness into hyper-drive!

What are these “Vital Behaviors”?

I’m gonna tell you (and show you) in the next episode of REPSradio.com.

**

This episode of REPSradio.com has been brought to you by 6-Hour Safety Culture, the book that peels back the layers of next-generation Performance Improvement. Chapter 9 of 6-Hour Safety Culture includes a complete list of observable Behaviors VITAL for achieving and sustaining next-generation Performance Improvement. You can watch the book trailer video and access the video at 6hoursafetyculture.com. That’s 6hoursafetyculture.com. Or, if you’d prefer, you can purchase a hardcopy or Kindle version at amazon.com.

**

I told you I would be covering Vital Behaviors in the next episode of REPSradio.com…and I will.

For now though, I have an assignment for you…

Riddle me this, Batman: What Behaviors do you believe are VITAL to the success of your team or organization?

To get you started, here’s a Vital Behavior from the PPI Principle-Based Mentoring™ Course. This one is associated with Proactive Accountability®: Work safely with ownership and purpose (recognize/correct personal drift)

Let me and your fellow REPSradio listeners know your thoughts by entering them in the Comments section for this podcast.

I’ll repeat the question: What Behaviors do you believe are VITAL to the success of your team or organization?

I’m anxious to see what you come up with.

Until our next episode, be mindful of your own Behaviors, and…keep it VITAL man!

Ciao!

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