Bringing out the best in people

10 years ago, Posted in Culture, Point of View

You know those moments when you hear something so compelling, it just sticks with you. Well, about two months ago at a Growth conference, I had one of those moments, and I have been thinking about it since.

The moment I am talking about is while listening to a speaker named Aubrey Daniels who is a foremost authority on change management and bringing out the best in people.

Aubrey talked about how punishment or penalty was only effective in stopping a behaviour, and how positive reinforcement was the only way to effectively change behaviour.

For you parents out there: Have you seen this in your kids?  What things do they do well?

Are you positively reinforcing those things?   I’ll bet the answer is yes.

What about the things that you want to change?

My personal example comes in my daughters piano lessons. We were about to give up on them. She would not practice. She hated them.

We applied Aubrey’s lesson and reinforced the positives when she practiced and very quickly, she started loving playing the piano.

The change in her was fast and incredible  but really….the change was in us.  It was how we reacted in both cases.

The other thing that Aubrey stressed the importance of is that small immediate certain consequences are more important than large future ones in changing behaviour.

Research shows that it takes many positive reinforcements to make a habit. He used the following as an example.

Your top sales person sells $40,000 per month and your bottom sells $20,000 per month. The following month what do you set as a goal for your bottom salesperson?

A) 40,000

B) 32,000

C) 26,000

D) 22,000

I answered (A) thinking that the best way was to break down everything that the top performer was doing and replicate it quickly.

The research shows that the correct answer is (D) because people need to see the positive reinforcement of the wins to want to do more.

I started this post by sharing how compelling a talk this was and how I have thought about it often since then. I will share this:

As I have looked my own life, I realize that the reflection that I see is mostly influenced by me. If I like that reflection, all is good, but if there are things I don’t like, maybe the behaviour that needs changing is in me.

How about you?

I would encourage you to read the Aubrey Daniels books “Oops” and “Bringing out the best in People”


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