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Get Out in Front . . . A Different Way To Look at Leadership


Many of us performance consultants use a performance improvement model like Gilbert’s Behavior Engineering Model or Carl Binder’s Six Boxes to determine the root causes of performance problems. In other words, before we select a remedy, we want to ask: what’s the underlying reason for the problem? We know that a good diagnosis helps us to select the best solution.
But why not use these same models up front, before there is a problem? Why not continually analyze the situation as a leader to set up your employees for success? Or why not always use these models as part of change management interventions?

As a leader, I ask myself the following questions as I run my company:

  • Do employees know what is expected of them? Do they know our company mission, vision, values, and goals, and the role they will play in fulfilling them?
  • Do employees have the tools, materials, and time to perform at their best?
  • Have we aligned rewards and recognition with the performance we want?
  • Do team members have the knowledge and skills to do their jobs?
  • Do we have people with the right physical and mental capacities in the right chairs?
  • Do people want to be at our company doing their specified roles?

And I do all this before there is a problem!

This is my same go-to mindset when I’m preparing for a change — either within our company or with a client. I again ask myself:

  • Do people know what is expected of them after the change?
  • Do people have the resources they need to perform well in the new situation?
  • Are incentives and consequences aligned to drive the behavior we want in the new environment?
  • Do employees have the knowledge and skills they need to successfully complete critical tasks after we make the change?
  • Do we have people with the necessary capacities in the best roles to operate in this changed world?
  • And finally, do people want to be part of the change?

So, it’s terrific to use Gilbert’s Behavior Engineering Model or Carl Binder’s Six Boxes to identify root causes, but why not “get out in front” and use them as a bit of preventive medicine to set up yourself and those around you up for success?!

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