Aubrey Daniels is one of the foremost expects on behavior and performance management. With over 50 years of work in the behavioral science field he has informed our understanding of performance management and how behavior is key to driving performance. He and others in the field have come up with a simple model to explain behavior.
What Happens After the Behavior?
Behavior can be studied as something broken into three distinct stages. The first is cue or activator which is the thing that initiates a behavior, like the beep on your phone telling you a text has arrived. The second is the behavior itself or the action that happens. Staying with the text example, if you are like 90% of the population you will pick up the phone to look at the text. The third phase is the reinforcer or consequence. This is typically either a positive or negative result of the action or behavior. For example, you get some good news from the text or while looking at your phone you walk into a pole.
The Best Predictor of Future Behavior
According to Daniels and many others it is this last piece that is actually key to determining what will happen next time. In a sense once you understand the interrelationship between the three phases of a behavior you will know that the consequence is the best predictor of what will happen the next time. To make my point I want to explore a few examples.
How many of you have received an electric shock or burned your hand on a stove? If you are like me, you only got shocked once, only got burned once. Why? Because the reinforcement or consequence was negative and unpleasant enough to cause you to remember to never do that again. The same holds true for positive consequences.
How many of you can recall your first goal in hockey or soccer or your first round of applause for playing an instrument or performing? Our media is saturated with these kinds of reinforcers. It is the same at work. You get a pat on the back for a good presentation and soon you will be the "king" of presentations. Come in early one day and the boss comes over for a quick chat before everyone gets in and I bet the farm you will make getting there a bit early a habit.
Pokemon Go Go Go!
One of the fastest growing industries in this century is online gaming. Revenues are expected to hit $99.6 Billion for 2016. (Yes with a B!) It is a classic example of the role of consequences driving use. Digital games deliver instant consequences that allow the user to learn and get rewarded. Currently Pokemon Go is generating revenue in the $400K per day range! Whether it is shooting little birds at buildings or crushing candy, feedback (reinforcer/consequence) is immediate and the bucks keep rolling in.
Want to know what happens next? Learn to see and understand the consequences for each behavior happening on your team. They are the best indicator of whether someone is going to repeat a behavior or stop it. How well are you "tuning in" to the consequences that take place on your team? Performance Leadership - Think About It!