Welcome to Episode 8 of REPS radio.com!
In the last episode, Episode 007, we talked about “What the [heck] is Human Performance” [anyway?!].
You heard me quote a recent article written by a PhD.
With all the best intentions, she wrote the following in her article about how to implement and promote Human Performance:
“Diagnostic activities such as clarifying the problem or opportunity, and defining desired outcomes or what success looks like are crucial. Steps include assessing performance, conducting gap analysis, identifying factors causing the gap, along with developing intervention options, completing feasibility studies, and/or, depending upon the performance gap, other types of analyses.”
While her intent was good and honorable, those of you who have lots of initials after your names may take offense at what I’m about to say: As far as I’m concerned… THIS is COMPLICATED and RIDICULOUS!
THIS is a HUGE piece of the reason why Human Performance, your entryway to powerful influence in any effort to improve performance, remains mired in lack of understanding, resisted, and cast into the bins of “too complicated,” “too expensive,” or “too overwhelming.”
COMPLICATED and RIDICULOUS!
In Episode 007, I also gave you a VERY SIMPLE definition of Human Performance, which is- WHY we do WHAT we do the WAY we do it.
And, as I trust you recall, there is a VERY SIMPLE formula (or “recipe” if you prefer), identifying its key components- things you can easily GO TO WORK ON to tap into this INCREDIBLE resource:
HU = W (R + B)
where “HU” represents Human Performance, the “W” stands for WHY, “R” quantifies Results (or…WHAT we do), and “B” represents Behaviors (the WAY we do it).
NOW…we’re beginning our dive into the most important of these elements- WHY.
WHY lies at the CORE of EVERYTHING.
Think about it:
WHY does a person make a choice at a given moment to turn a wrong switch?
WHY does a software engineer, under a given set of conditions and real or perceived constraints, choose to make a specific assumption?
WHY does a team member choose to leave your company to go work somewhere else?
WHY does a highly intelligent team member turn “A Player” levels of passion and engagement into negative “C Player” acting-out behaviors?
I trust some of this sounds familiar.
I could continue; however, I’d rather go ahead and dive into HOW you can simply and easily start tapping into this almost ‘magical’ ability to positively influence…Behavior and Culture-Transforming influence.
To begin- your intent of tapping into WHY must be to inspire others to do what inspires them.
Oh, boy…now I can imagine you’re thinking, “Here we go with the ‘airy-fairy’ crap!”
In fact, this is one of the most personally accountable doable insights there is- fully backed by field experience, behavioral psychology, and the latest neuro-science.
Over the next several Episodes of REPSradio.com, we’re going to dissect the entire equation of each element of the recipe for Human Performance.
And we’re going to do so in simple, bite-sized, understandable chunks, each with a “go do” piece attached- strategic and tactical actions you can put to immediate use.
After all- thinking different is worthless unless you DO something with it!
For now, beginning with WHY, let’s talk about influence.
If you want to get from where you are to somewhere else, and the journey involves people, you must influence Behaviors, right? First your own, THEN the Behaviors of others involved- whether they be team members, family members, your ‘significant other’…whatever your circumstances or intent might involve at the time.
When it comes to influence, there are three possible ways to get another person to do something:
First, you can force them. We all know what this means. This type of “motivation” is often used in moments of frustration. Unfortunately for some, it seems to be the “go to” approach. After all- you’re the boss right?
This is also a method used by LOTS of parents when it comes to dealing with their kids.
While growing up, my best friend lived right down the street. Whenever Ross and I wanted to go do something, you know, something really ‘out there’ like ride our bikes over to Manchester Center, which was five blocks away, he’d have to go ask his parents for permission.
There were many times, when his father was the only one available to ask.
In my humble opinion, his father was a ‘control freak’.
He almost always said NO.
So…I always ‘volunteered’ to stay outside in the driveway while Ross went in to ask.
And sooo many times, the answer Ross received was, “No!”
When there was no obvious reason why he couldn’t go do whatever it was we were thinking of doing, Ross would often ask, “Why?”
I can still hear his father’s bellows through the open windows, “Because I TOLD you so…THAT’s why!”
That’s use of force.
Ross didn’t like his father much. They were never what you’d all… ‘close’.
Here’s the thing to remember- whenever you choose to use force in an attempt to get another person to do something, you destroy relationship.
A second approach of influence is manipulation.
Unfortunately, manipulation continues to be a very common method of attempting to “motivate” team members in the work environment. It’s also often used by parents in vain attempts to modify children’s behaviors.
Examples at work include prizes, gift cards, tee shirts, bonuses, promised leniencies, and one of my favorites- paying people NOT to get hurt. How STUPID is that?
With kids, it looks like…
“If you eat your vegetables, you’ll get dessert.” (Ever wonder why this has to CONSTANTLY be repeated?) Like- at EVERY meal? In other words, it produces no sustainable behavior change.
Or one I really like… “If you’ll clean up your room, I’ll pay you five dollars.” It’s THEIR room, for cryin’ out loud! Why should you be paying them to clean it?!
The problem with methods of manipulation, or what Herzberg referred to as “Hygiene Factors” is that (1) they provide very little incentive to actually do anything different, (2) any resulting behavior changes are typically very short-lived, and (3) [worst of all] once you start such manipulation, just try taking it away- the consequences tend to be very DE-MOTIVATING.
As far as number 3 is concerned- if you’ve started down the unfortunate path of paying people to “be safe” at work, just try taking that incentive away!
If you’ve been paying your child to clean their room, see how it works for you to stop doing so….
Again- some (if not all) of what I’ve said so far regarding attempts to influence the behaviors of others SHOULD sound very familiar.
So, imagining that you have some sort of desired outcome in mind, an outcome or Result that you’d love to have sustainably generated through ongoing changes in Behaviors,
AND recognizing that neither force nor manipulation is going to get you what you’re truly looking for, what’s left?
The third, and only sustainable form of influence…
Now- remember the recipe for Human Performance?
THIS is where the WHY comes in!
So let’s take our first slice of how to tap into it!
I’m going to begin with a story- one very near to my heart…
On January 6, 2013, I gave the toughest ‘speech’ of my life. From behind the walnut podium at the Whitehurst Funeral Home in Fresno, California, working through my tears and choked-up throat to offer my remembrances, thoughts, and perspectives about my hero- my Dad, Ray Autrey.
He had passed five days earlier, on January 1st. He was 89. If we’d been able to figure out the cause of his illness a bit sooner, he’d likely still be here- laughing and smiling like he always did. He was healthy and active until just before the end.
Ray Autrey always was…and remains to this day…my hero. He was one of the finest human beings I’ve ever had the privilege to know. And I was blessed to have him as my Dad!
More than 200 people showed up for the service. And for someone of 89, who wasn’t ‘famous’…in Fresno, California…so many people at a funeral is virtually unheard of. It was almost ‘standing room only’.
Yes- he was loved, liked, and respected…by most everyone who knew him.
My Dad was a simple man- a police officer, a carpenter, a locksmith. He adored my mom. He loved his kids. He enjoyed country music and square dancing. One of his favorite songs was this one by Hank Williams:
I miss him. A lot.
Since his passing, I’ve put a ton of thought into why he was so loved, so respected, and why, with the exception of my wife, there’s not been another human on this planet I’ve held in such high esteem.
Last August, while doing required reading for Seth Godin’s altMBA Program, I found a huge piece of my answer.
It’s simple really- like most everything we talk about on this show: Simple yet profoundly powerful.
And it’s something that you can begin putting to IMMEDIATE use.
Here it is:
My Dad always gave me an A.
And I wasn’t the only one. He gave virtually everyone an A.
What does this mean?
He was encouraging rather than critical.
His comments, his gestures, and his natural responses…to questions, behaviors, and outcomes (such as my report card from school) were always filled with possibility rather than constriction and confinement- even when some sort of ‘correction’ was ultimately needed.
He was always open to ‘figuring it out’ rather than looking for reasons why something couldn’t be done.
It made you feel good just to be in his presence.
You were inspired.
My Dad had an almost magical ability to reach in and touch your heart- your WHY.
He likely wasn’t even aware of it. It’s simply who he was.
And me, like most everyone else, found ourselves wanting to do things…for him. Not because they were expected, or because you’d be judged otherwise, but because you were inspired to do so.
Brilliant simple human nature.
Here’s the lesson for YOU:
In life you’re gonna find WHATEVER it is you’re looking for. This is true in your personal life…as well as in your professional life.
And I’m not just talking about your most important, profound, or intimate relationships- I’m talking about EVERYONE and EVERYTHING.
Think about your work environment for a moment, and be honest about your immediate internal response to this question:
When you think of your team members, do you consider there to be a ‘people problem’ to be fixed, or… a vessel of opportunity and possibility yet to be tapped?
Michelangelo was credited with saying, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”
As soon as you have the grace to give people A’s, your eyes are opened to all sorts of things previously unseen, as though hidden behind a veil, or…a block of stone.
You begin to recognize that the frustration exhibited by the “C Player” often represents a passion and level of engagement, which when understood and addressed, turns to “A Player” Behaviors and contribution.
You’ll likely discover that, your son or daughter, failing to pass tests through rote memorization in school, blossoms when their creative genius is recognized.
You’ll enjoy an entirely new level of relationship with your husband or wife when you see how “giving them an ‘A’” makes them feel so much better about themselves.
You will literally open yourself up to possibilities…with people AND things…that you never before recognized.
And YOUR behaviors will inspire others to do what inspires them.
Combine this with a bit of vision and structure, and you’re on your way to substantial and sustainable Performance Improvement-
No diagnostics. No feasibility studies. No intervention options required.
Simply an awakened ability to tap into a HUGE aspect of what makes each of us human.
And consequently- a POWERFUL ability to influence.
Today’s Episode is brought to you by The Practicing Perfection Institute, (more affectionately known as PPI).
PPI is home of the Next Generation Approach to sustainable Performance Improvement known as Practicing Perfection®– a simple systematic approach for tapping into the power of Human Performance.
PPI has provided training and consulting in Practicing Perfection® implementation and growth to tens of thousands of workers and their leaders around the globe since 2005, heralding an unrivaled string of Performance Improvement successes.
The professionals at PPI also love to teach organization leaders and practicioners “how to fish”- in other words, how to implement, facilitate, and sustain next-level Human Performance. They do so through Practicing Perfection® Certification Courses conducted by the Human Performance Academy. For more information, go to ppiweb.com. That’s ppiweb.com.
As we wrap up today’s episode…SURPRISE! I have a couple of additional resources for you:
First, Rosamund and Ben Zander wrote a great book, The Art of Possibility. It expounds upon what we’ve discussed in this Episode…and a whole lot more!
In Chapter 3, titled, “Giving an A.” Ben tells the story of his experiences giving A’s…at the beginning of the semester…to students at the New England Conservatory of Music.
This chapter revealed the ‘secret’ underlying my Dad’s profound ability to have such positive influence on others.
Since I am anticipating you’re going to want to take action and start “Giving A’s”, you really ought to read this book!
Second, we’ve just completed a new revision to the poster…or ‘infographic’, whichever you prefer, detailing the PATHWAY to synergistic and sustainable Performance Improvement.
Now called “The Performancizer”, it clearly identifies the Core, the Systematic Approach, the Goal, and the Results of this Next Generation approach to making things better…to sustainably getting to your “Point B”.
Finally, to conclude this Episode, here’s a cap note to the story about my Dad’s funeral…
As is typically the case, following the burial at the cemetery, we had…food.
During the meal, I spent most of the time catching up with my buddy, Ross, who I literally hadn’t spoken with for more than 20 years.
During our conversation, he told me a story about how my Dad had built and attached wooden guards to the rack on his paper bike, so that the canvas bags holding the rolled newspapers wouldn’t get into the spokes.
With tears in his eyes, Ross told me, “Your Dad taught me how to be a Dad. My father certainly didn’t. I’ve done my best to be the Dad to my children that your Dad was to you.”
That’s how you change the world my friends!
Until next time,
Be CLEAR about what you want. Be safe. And start “Giving A’s” to everyone and everything!
Das vi dania!