I was having a conversation with my step-son a few months back – getting an update on how his business was doing. He’s part of a family owned business and was next in line to take over when his in-laws retired. He’s very motivated and has grand plans for growth.
He realized that in order to execute his vision, he needed to develop a solid next tier management team, so he could be free to focus on strategic growth activities.
So, here’s some of the key phrases from our conversation he used that I want to address in this post: “If I could just get them to do…”, “How do I motivate them to….?”, “If they could just say it this way.”
As a manager at any level, have you said that to yourself or someone else? In the 1000s of management workshops I’ve done through-out North America over the years, one of the most popular phrases, requests or needs is “getting people motivated”.. that is getting someone to do something.
Now there certainly is a whole science behind this, which I won’t go into today. And the good news is, you don’t need to know all that! As experts in human behavior science, our goal is to take that knowledge and reduce it to simple concepts that can be easily applied for the highest impact. I call it “simple people science”.
Now I know this sounds crazy, but in my observation of leading and managing over the years, it’s the obvious, super simple human stuff that gets overlooked and can manifest into serious, complicated issues.
Back to my step-son. So I said to him, “Here’s a management development tip that will make your life a lot easier and help you achieve what you want.”
Don’t “try to get him, them” to do anything! He looked confused. “The key is to condition them into a way of behaving – with specific actions that can be measured – through repeated teaching and accountability in tight time cycles. Simply put, whatever behavior you want, help them turn it into a habit.”
You see his frustration came from an expectation that just because he said it – it would happen, or he/she understands it or it would automatically be done. But there is a lot that happens between what you say, how that person interprets what you say and their willingness and ability to respond or act on what you say.
Thus the concept of “micro-coaching or micro-development”. You focus on one action and create or look for situations where it can be done repeatedly. Repetition is the key to creating new behaviors and consistent desired results.
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “Practice makes perfect”. My version goes like this, “Practice creates patterns of behavior.”…and that’s what you’re wanting.
This is where simple people science kicks in – utilizing the concept of daily and/or weekly leverages cycles, which creates a rhythm of change – engaging both the conscious and subconscious mind.
Also, time cycles – particularly tight ones – naturally include accountability and it should be the type of accountability that is done in a positive and encouraging way to foster sustained motivation.
Then…let human behavior science do the rest (mapping neural pathways, chemical releases..etc.).
This of course is the coolest part and the most reliable part of this approach. There are basic universals principles when it comes to behavior science that you can absolutely count on...and each of us, in our own way is living proof of that.
Each of us are a compilation of conditioned behaviors (and even thoughts) aka habits that dictate how we automatically live life. For me it looks like making the bed each morning or paying bills on the the 15th of each month.
The key in leadership and management is to utilize this to get the outcomes we want. It would be so much easier for everyone!
Of Note: We’ve worked to help managing your business, operations and people become much easier with our Smart Management Blueprint – it’s a 9 building block roadmap, tested in some of the most challenging environments to substantially improve operational results while developing competent managers. It’s highly successful because it’s strategically infused with human behavior science. When you may not be able to trust the skills of novice managers, you will be able to trust the science they’ll implement with the blueprint!