If you have ever undertaken a major change initiative with your team and led them toward a big goal, you may have experienced some feelings of frustration around people slipping back into old behaviors. The very behaviors you are trying to change to increase performance or drive the new initiate to success.

As you start to see some results in their behavior that wasn’t present before, what could go through your mind is, “When is the real change going to come out? When am I going to see this team change or grow? I thought they would change more quickly.” Well, I think that’s normal for you to be thinking about. Just notice that the behavior that used to be there is less frequent.

Maybe you were dealing with destructive behaviors or underperformance issues several times a day and now it’s only once a day, and then maybe you’ll notice that it isn’t even once a day. It’s maybe once a week.  And where does your mind lean toward, “I know they’re not really changing. It’s going to come back out.”

Guess what? It will. And, of course, when it does come back out, you say to your team, “Hey, that was the old way. No more.” And what you need to do then is just to affirm, again, and pretty soon you’ll find, “I don’t even need to think about this anymore. My team is top performing.” This is the way we all act, and it will be very unusual for us to go backward.

But many of you as coaches and managers, with your evaluative progress reports, and with the way you lead people are telling them what’s wrong with them. You keep reiterating what you observe in them, and you’re hardening it. “Do you see? That’s like us. That’s like you.”

This creates the picture for them that you want to see from them. Without a clear picture the behavior cannot change.

In order to see real change, you must become familiar with catching people in the act of doing things right, when they’re doing something right. Affirm for them. “I’ve been meaning to tell you how proud I am of what you’re doing,” and tell them what’s right with them. Watch them elevate.

It’s all about changing the internal image, and this is the guidance approach.

 

  1. Create for them a new picture of what we WANT to be known for.
  2. Affirm that image with them daily until it becomes their reality.
  3. Catch them doing what you want – coach them forward to correct behavior when they fall back.
  4. Affirm them and watch them elevate.
  5. Wash Rinse Repeat.

What ways have worked with your team when catching them doing something right?

How do you coach your team forward?

Bonus Affirmation:

I consistently have high aspirations for the good of others, as well as myself.