Behavior reinforced is behavior repeated. Behavior reward is repeated. This simple yet profound concept is at the root of more poor productivity, broken relationships, negative personnel issues and high costs of doing business than any other management principle.

What does getting the behavior you reward mean?

Let me give you an example. You want an employee who is always late to be on time. But you don't bring up their tardiness because it is only 10 minutes. So there you sit with frustration wishing and hoping the person would just get it. The rules here are, be on time. But, unfortunately they don't get it, your unspoken message, and so they continue to be late. By not addressing their lateness with them you are sending the message that being late is acceptable. It also sends a message to other employees, who are on time, but might want to be late once in a while, that being late is OK.

There are hundreds, no thousands, of ways managers reward behavior they don't want and seem surprised they get more of it.

What behavior are you rewarding in your organization that you need to change? One easy way to determine these behaviors is to look at the behavior and determine why that person is acting that way. If you don't like the behavior, you need to change the reward system. I am not just talking here about financial rewards but, social, physical and so on. If you are in a relationship and all you ever do is criticize the other person according to your standards, don't be surprised if they stop communicating with you. If you nit-pick a person's dress, attitudes, feelings, goals, and thoughts to death don't be surprised if they don't want to be around you.

The first step in changing behavior is to recognize the behavior people have that you would like changed. Next is to evaluate the reward system, why are they acting that way. Next, look at your behavior and how you are contributing to their actions. This is not an easy task but one that will pay handsome dividends in productivity, improved morale, improved communication, and a better bottom line.

Management quote for the week: Accept the challenges so that you feel the thrill of victory. George Patton

Have a great week. Tim