Just about the time that I was thinking about behaviors that impact quality of our outcomes, I read the following quote:
“You get more of the behavior you reward. You don’t get what you hope for, ask for, wish for or beg for. You get what you reward.” – Michael le Boeuf
As a manager or business leader, rewarding the behaviors you seek is a matter of constant choice. You can reward meeting the deadlines, or you can reward meeting the quality standards. You can reward by results, or you can reward by how those results were achieved. You can reward a person who talks a lot about work, or you can reward a person who lets his work speak. A lot of what you build as a part of your organization’s culture is a result of what you have rewarded over a period of time.
Whether you are a project manager or a business leader, here are a few actions you can take to set the right expectations on behaviors you value.
Identify your core values and behaviors that are important to your organization. (e.g customer orientation, respect for others, integrity etc.)
Constantly communicate the values and behaviors you expect from people. You can also set their KRA’s accordingly to cover specific results and generic behavior.
Instantly validate and reinforce when you see the right behavior. Thank them, acknowledge that you took a note, praise whatever. But do validate, because no action when someone behaves right often means that you don’t appreciate/value it.
Show them the way by counseling and constant feedbacks. You can use forums like kickoff meetings, retrospectives, one-on-ones and even informal sessions to guide your team members. People always love to know what is exactly expected out of them.
Strategically reward through appreciation, interim rewards and performance appraisals. In performance appraisals, specifically mention the behaviors you have appreciated when reviewing overall performance. Share feedback.
- Utilize software for human resource management to pick out which employees are profitable and be transparent about it.
Bottom line: You form a strategic reward system when you integrate performance (results) and behavior (how those results were achieved). The payoffs are huge because people are more aware and aligned to deliver better results. So the critical question is: “Is your performance management system driving the right behaviors for the organization?”
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P.S.: Three quarters of 2010 have been a super fast for this blog with a frequency of 3 posts per week and a total of 100+ posts. Check out the round-ups of all posts written in 2010 (in case you have missed any of those or would like to revisit.)