The importance of Behaviours
There are a handful of consistently telling features of extra ordinary organisations: and one of them is the clarity with which they define behaviours expected in the organisation.
What does this mean?
For me it is the manner in which you act, react or respond to others in any given situation. Behaviours are the way people in the organisation show up to your customers, suppliers, other external stakeholders and importantly of course, each other on a day to day basis.
Behaviours can be explicit:
Called out as what we want to see around here, embedded in the reward and recognition structures and tightly linked to what it is that will drive long term value for the organisation – like team work/collaboration, customer closeness or curiosity. They can act as a binding contract (with both customers and internal stakeholders) with clear consequences in place if expectations are not met.
Behaviours can also be implicit:
Unspoken rules, usually role modelled and defined by the leaders about what it takes to fit in or indeed stand out in the culture. This of course is where self awareness comes in: people see your actions rather than your good intent. So consciously making choices about what behaviours really serve the organisation, those which do not and where you as a leadership team are saying one thing but doing another is key. Nothing is likely to lose you trust quicker than a perceived lack of integrity.
Both are fundamental.
Sadly many teams are often much more at home talking about doing. But ignore behaviours at your peril: being seen to tolerate, overlook or at worst condone individual or team behaviours that are at detrimental to the performance of the team or organisation will in the end lose you credibility, cohesion and often your highest performers. Change processes or organisational structures without an eye on the change in behaviour required to accompany it and you will find that post the change program the organisation reverts to running just as it did before.
The bottom line:
It is my experience that explicitly calling out, setting agreements for and focusing on behaviours are transformational for teams and individuals wanting to create fundamental and sustainable change in their efficiency, effectiveness and levels of trust and engagement both internally and externally. If you would like to talk more about what this might mean for you or your organisation then please give me a call.