First off I am a newbee to the Manager tools and want to extend thanks to all those responsible for them. I have found them to be terrific. I have focused mostly on the one on one's, coaching and feedback.

The common theme with them is to discuss behaviors however I am having a difficult time separating behavior from results. When someone is not performing or doing what I ask, I find it difficult to put this into the form of behavior. Any suggestions on how to get better at identifying behaviors and articulting them to the individual

thanks in adavance

tlhausmann's picture
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The key is to separate your *interpretation* from the behavior.

You may *think* a person is rude or lazy when all they did is show up two minutes late for a staff meeting.

You might think a person is uncaring when all they did is sit with a straight face and listen intently.

Your *interpretation* or judgement of a person must be separated from the observed behavior.

I recommend listening to the DISC series of podcasts. In these casts you learn that our body language reflects our natural tendencies. Body language is interpreted differently by different personalities. It was listening to the DISC series of podcasts when I had my "Aha!" moment and that *I* needed to change to improve my management skills.

jhack's picture

Think about capturing a videotape of the moment.

Could you play it back for them and point it out? "See, here's where you pointed your index finger at Bob's chest." Raised your voice. Crossed your arms. Rolled your eyes. Left the door open. Punched in late.

And there is the work product itself: Spelling errors. # of bugs. Using the word "Idiot" in an email.

Focusing on behavior has three key benefits:
1. You make no judgement about the character of the person, so you defuse defensiveness.
2. It is very hard to argue with: the behavior did or did happen, and a witness would see what you saw.
3. It can be measured objectively and therefore IT CAN BE MANAGED!

Think about whether an outside observer could measure it if it were played back on videotape.


umgrizfan2's picture

Thanks for your responses. I will most definitely listen to the Disc podcasts.

Let me throw an example of a situation I am struggling to find the behavior in.

We request our employees to meet directly with at a minimum 70% of their customers to develop a stronger rapport. We have one that fails to meet this month after month and in fact is only at about 50% of expectation. In the past we have used the fear approach ie you must get to 70% or you will be on performance management. It works for a couple months and then back down to 35% I want to try the coaching and feedback but I cant indentify the behavior leading to this. As you pointed out in your response, my first thought is that he is just lazy and my instinct is to just tell him you must do it. I am really struggling to find the behavior leading to his reluctance. Should I be looking for things like, fear of conflict, lack of confidence, shyness etc. Are those the behaviors I need to be looking for?


jhack's picture

Fear is not a behavior; it is an emotion. Great performers often overcome fear on a constant basis. Likewise, reluctance is not a behavior. Visiting 30% of the customers is a behavior.

Affirming feedback is more powerful than adjusting (WAY more, proven so in many studies). Inflicting fear is ineffective in the long run. So give him feedback after he hits 70%

The feedback looks like "Hey, Fred, can I give you some feedback? ... When you meet with 70% of your customers like you did this month, it helps ensure our company will continue to be successful. Keep up the good work."

You could introduce an intermediate metric (# of customers per week) so that you can follow up more frequently, and give him more positive feedback.

The behavior leading up to this is simple: calling and making an appointment.


umgrizfan2's picture

Thanks hack. So what do I say to him when he doesnt hit the 70% mark? That is where I struggle. My instinct again is to say get off your lazy butt and get out there(no I would never say this) but trying to identify the behavior leading to his failure to meet expectation is what I am finding most difficult.

thanks again

tlhausmann's picture
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Scroll back and take a look at JHack's suggestion: "You could introduce an intermediate metric (# of customers per week) so that you can follow up more frequently, and give him more positive feedback. "

That is a good first step and gives you the opportunity to affirm your direct's actions.

For how long have you been doing O3s?

One goal of focusing on behavior is that you do not know *why* the behavior is occurring. I know of one case where an employee's performance was unsatisfactory...the underlying cause turned out to be undiagnosed depression. When the medical problem was addressed the employee performed at a high level.

If I can recall key behaviors from the podcasts:
- Words they say
- How they say them
- Facial Expressions
- Body Language
- Work product

WillDuke's picture
Training Badge

I agree with the intermediate metric idea John put out. Specifically, does this direct know HOW to achieve 70% contact?

In other words, do you have, or can you create a procedure to follow?

Step 1 - count clients. (100)
Step 2 - calculate visits (100 * 70% = 70)
Step 3 - Divide available time by contacts (4 weeks /70 contacts = 17.5/week or 3.5/day)
Step 4 Round up to nearest number, that's how many meetings you should shoot for every day.
Step 5 - Call clients and schedule meetings.

and so on..

With this procedure in place, you can work with this direct to find out where it breaks down for him. Maybe he tries emailing rather than calling.

Done with good intentions, this will put you on the same team striving for the same goal - his success. I have found that people respond positively to that.