Trying to change a behaviour can be exasperating, can’t it?
Many, many attempted behavioural changes get derailed. Unless something special happens, it’s way too easy to, wittingly or unwittingly, resurrect the old habit. We’re very reluctant to change our behaviours.
But I have a treat for you, courtesy of best-selling author, Marshall Goldsmith. (The tool is described in detail in Marshall’s soon-to-be-released book, “Triggers”. The Kindle version is available on Amazon now, and the hard-copy release date is 19 May.)
I’ve tested Marshall’s tool thoroughly, both personally and with many of the leaders I’m currently coaching. “Oh man, this is really going to make it happen”, said one of the leaders I coach.
It’s Exceptionally Impactful In Many Different Contexts
You can use this tool to change:
- Your own behaviour, or behaviours.
- A team member’s behaviour.
- Actually, it’s a great way to tackle a behavioural change for anyone who honestly cares about changing their behaviour (provided they’re over say 4 years old ).
- You can even use this little gizmo in organisation-wide communications, such as an Engagement Survey, to positively shift your organisation’s culture.
And it’s a cinch to implement!
What Is This Gizmo That’s A Cinch To Implement?
I won’t keep you in anxious anticipation any longer. It’s…
In fact, it’s a bit of shrewd tweaking to a question that you are already asking yourself, your team member, anyone over 4, and your organisation. For example:
- Instead of asking yourself “Did I work on xyz project at least 30-minutes today?”, ask “Did I do my best to work on xyz project for at least 30-minutes today?”
- Instead of asking your team member “Did you complete the xyz report according to our agreed criteria and on time?”, ask “Did you do your best to complete the xyz report according to our agreed criteria and on time?”
- Instead of asking your 7-year-old, “Did you do all of your homework?”, ask “Did you do your best to do all of your homework?”
- And, in your organisation-wide Engagement Survey, instead of asking “How engaged are you?” ask “Are you doing your best to be fully engaged?” (Heck, notice how that question shifts responsibility to the employee. Think about the potential impact of that.)
Importantly, the tweak:
- Moves the attention away from how effectively you/they performed, to how hard you/they tried.
- Puts focus on changing behaviour that you/they care most about changing.
- Has you/them accepting that you’re/they’re in control of the behaviour. Even if something out-of-the blue shows up and prevents you from doing something on your list, you can still score 10 for “doing your best”.
- Has you/them measuring progress. What gets measured gets done!
- Removes any judgment. As long as you did “your best” you’re good.
You Can Take A Casual Approach—Or Implement A Structured Plan
A one-off “Did you do your best to do xyz today/this week/since we last met?” question is potent in itself.
And you’ll get a king-sized bang-for-your-buck if you do what I did…
Put together a template where you, each day, record a 1—10 score for how well you “did your best”.
For example, two items on my daily “Did I do my best to…” template are to:
- Spend at least 1-hour on my “Deal-With-Your-Roadblocks” project
As long as I go to that document and insert my 1—10 score every day, I know I’ll “Do my VERY best to get a “10” score. In fact, in the two weeks that I’ve been completing my daily checklist, I’ve scored 10 for both of those items, except for one item on one day.
It’s taking me less than two-minutes each day to complete my chart which turbo-charged my behavioural changes. That’s what I call an ROI!
Your Action Plan
First up, decide what you want to change.
Consider using these “Did you do your best to…” questions, on yourself, your team, anyone else over 4 years old, or in an Engagement Survey.
And watch how engaged you/they become with creating the ideal outcome—changing the behaviour!
I hope you love this approach as much as I do. As always, let me know how you go.
P.S. I’m hopeful that my daily checklist will have me announcing the release of my new “Deal With Your Roadblocks” mentor/coaching program within a couple of months. Keep an eye out for it.
“Carolyn is an exceptional coach who has exceeded my expectations. From day one (she) has listened and accurately assessed my needs as a leader and provided me with guidance to identify my blind spots and develop skills to be a more successful leader.”
– Senior leader, online marketing company
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Carolyn Stevens has worked with leaders for more than 25-years—hundreds of them.
She’s supported leader after leader (including those who previously struggled to confront the difficult, let alone persuasively deal with the it) flourish—and become confident, courageous and impressively influential.
Carolyn is authentic and results-oriented. She draws on an eclectic array of approaches, tools and techniques to suit the situation.