As a coach for over ten years, I have been helping leaders in many organisations to reflect on how they behave, to help identify small changes that will have a big impact on their success.
It is still something that does not come easily to many people, as we get caught up in the pace of work and rarely stop to consider if our behaviour was useful to our aims.
Yet we know that it can pay huge rewards. You only have to look at great sporting examples such as the GB Cycling Team to know that this is true. The reflective practice of seeking marginal gains, instilled by their coach Dave Brailsford, makes sure that the team remain the best in the world.
Appraisals and performance reviews were introduced primarily to reflect on past behaviour and to identify individual performance & development goals. The fact that these are called appraisals and reviews tends to direct most of the attention to reflection and the past behaviour, which of course is useful to gain insights.
However, as valuable as this practice is, it is only part of the story. The real treasure is with the ability to be aware of how you are behaving…right now.
Over the past few months, I’ve been working on a great programme with a large organsiation seeking to embed behaviours with their employees. Through a series of cafe conversation type events, they have had the opportunity to share how they do what they do with their colleagues across the business.
Very soon, it became clear that there was a resistance from the participants. This was born from a perception that they had to prove or justify their past behaviour in their performance review.
Even when they explored the question “why is it important to you to have a set of exemplar behaviours?” and came up with some really valuable examples, the participants still held a frame of ‘having to‘ rather than ‘wanting to‘ use the behaviours framework.
This was only reframed once they had been inspired by the idea that each day is important, and if having a set of exemplar behaviours is important too, then why only reflect on them once every six months!
For, if each day is important and the behaviours are too, then they would want to be more aware by keeping them front of mind, by discussing them each day, setting intentions to behave rather than simply reflecting on how they’ve behaved.
If the treasure is in shifting your focus to become more aware of how you are BEHAVING, and to plan how to BEHAVE as new situations come up, how will you make sure you raise your awareness to make your own marginal gains?