By David Bowman
Great organizations are better at understanding the dynamics of human behavior—internally and externally—than their competitors. Yet, developing employee performance predictably and consistently is one of the greatest challenges of building a great organization. It’s not just an art, it’s a science!
The ABCs of Employee Performance
In his book Bringing Out the Best in People: How to Apply the Astonishing Power of Positive Reinforcement, Aubrey C. Daniels discusses the concept of what he refers to as the “ABCs of Performance.” The essence of the concept breaks performance into two influencers: stimulus and response, or antecedents and consequences:
- Antecedents (“A”)—Events, initiatives, and efforts that prepare you to understand and act
- Behavior (“B”)—The intended behavior or expected performance
- Consequences (“C”)—Results of the behavior
Although antecedents are important, they only have a 20% impact on the desired level of performance. The more powerful driver of behavior (“B”) is on the consequence (“C”) side of the equation, which makes up the remaining 80% impact.
It’s healthy to continuously improve antecedents—but not to the extent that it freezes a leader from a more impactful consequence. Yet, when it comes to consequences, not many tools come to mind other than various takeoffs on “carrot-and-stick” approaches. We simply have many more tools on the antecedent side of things than we do on the consequence side. The few consequence-oriented tactics that are used tend to be either terribly blunt or very complex. And each methodology carries unintended consequences.
Daniels says that consequences can be:
- Positive or Negative
- Immediate or Delayed
- Certain or Uncertain
Positive, immediate, and certain (PIC) consequences are more powerful and effective than negative, immediate, and certain (NIC) consequences.
EOS® and Employee Performance
EOS tools are naturally fitted to complement the ABCs model of employee performance. The EOS model drives all three components of performance. EOS:
- Contains a simple definition of performance expectations and successful behaviors—both culturally and professionally
- Provides simple tools as antecedents to prepare people to perform at their best
- Provides a framework of positive and a few negative consequences that help clarify and drive changes in behavior or performance
For example, having a crystal-clear Vision defines performance by painting the picture of what success looks like. The People Component helps ensure that you hire only the right people, and defines immediate and certain consequences—both positive and negative. An organization comprised of people with shared values provides a built-in reward for those who live up to those values through their contribution.
As a PIC consequence, it intrinsically feels good to be viewed as a high performer and to be in sync with the organization—not to mention the extrinsic rewards that often go with high performance. As a NIC consequence, if you don’t live up to the company’s values and expectations, it intrinsically feels bad to be out of step. Extrinsic mechanisms address this through demotions, withholding rewards, or ultimately firing the employee.
The Science of Business
The science of business is really the science of human behavior, and EOS is a tremendously effective, scientifically designed approach for entrepreneurial companies. Its model of simplified tools enable you to effectively address the needs and motivations of customers, vendors, and team members. Just follow the process and the “science of business” is built-in!
Discover how EOS helps you get everything you want from your business. Contact us for a free 90-minute customized overview of your organization’s journey to greatness!