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At The Brew, when we nudge the organizations to be on high performance trajectories, an important element of that is to understand:
- to what extent the current processes & practices behavior inducing ?
- to what extent are they effective ?
- which of the behaviors are critical to organizational outcomes ?
One of the key deductions from findings in the applied behavioral sciences over the last decade, has been the following: a) In comparison to motivations (rewards, penalties etc), it is the behaviors which tend to have high possibility of realization of results. The Goals v/s. System theory corroborates to this. b) Behaviors are difficult to change / manipulated, but can be altered consciously with deliberate repetitive actions.
All this while, the focus has been talent, skills, potential, capability, and while each of them is a significant driver of performance, there certain set of activities that come naturally to us – that we deeply associate ourselves to – these behaviors (can be termed as habits or psychological anchors) provide deepest reservoir to performance, in tandem with flow, mastery & overall purpose.
One of the key insights emerging from behavioral science is an understanding that the way in which your people conduct their everyday actions at work is just as vital to achieving a company’s targeted results as its processes. Successful ones that do so begin by identifying the critical few behaviors needed to reach their strategic and operating objectives. They then thoroughly prepare and equip leaders at all levels to deliver those essential behaviors, the ones that make things happen.
Thoughtful application of Applied Behavioral Strategies (ABS) principles provides an effective road map for reliably creating the kind of “good behavior” that is self-reinforcing. This pathway focuses on the following actions:
The most successful organizations carefully identify the small number of behaviors that have the most direct impact on the specific business results they aim to achieve. For example, if a desired change involves revamping the organization’s decision style from consensus to participative management, anticipated behavioral shifts can be pivoted to desired state as follows:
To focus on only the critical few behaviors for any situation. Attempting to change too many at once, even if they are desirable, is not effective. When Jim Kilts was at the helm of Gillette, he initially focused on changing just one behavior: he made sure that his team behaved in a way that was always supportive of decisions. Previously, the corporate habit had been to indulge in subversive hallway chatter. That was characterized by minimal discussion in a meeting, but passive resistance outside. To change this harmful behavior, Kilts and his team agreed to have open and honest debate during the discussion but then would stick by and support a decision once it was made.
When the right behaviors become habitual, when they are consistently modeled by leaders, and when they are reinforced by policies and adopted by all, they create the kind of human willingness to perform great things.