Changing Behavior: How to Get the Most Bang for Your Buck

Behavior Modification: Then vs. Now

Have you ever heard it takes 21-days to make or break a habit?  This rule of thumb is thought to have originated from “Psycho-Cybernetics” a self-help book from the 70’s (a time when Led Zeppelin, Next ExitThe Who, and Pink Floyd were  the new,  popular bands to put things in perspective). Though things change, they remain the same. The aforementioned bands are still popular today and funny enough, people are still looking to change behavior.  Whether you would like to eat healthier, get more sleep, make more cold calls, book more meetings with prospective clients, or spend more time with loved ones – the common theme is change.

Zooming in on a Specific Behavior

Marshall Goldsmith, executive coach and the founder of the Alliance for Strategic Leadership has learned that focusing on multiple behavioral changes is unsuccessful because of the many goals his executive clients already have (profitability goals, quality goals, health goals, with a never ending list that followed).  Which makes sense to us! This also follows one of the 7 Rules of Gamification to ‘simplify’. He suggests making one behavioral change at a time. The trick is to make it one that really matters. In order to find out if the behavioral change passes the “is it worth it?” litmus test, try his suggested exercise.

The Behavioral Change Litmus Test

  • Have five to eight people seated at a table.
  • Ask everyone to select one behavior to change.
  • The first person starts exercise by stating, “When I get better at [desired behavior], then…” complete the sentence by stating what one benefit will be. For example, “When I get better at making cold calls then I will book more demos.”
  • Then have the next person sitting at the table say “When I get better at [desired behavior], then…”  and mention one specific benefit of changing their desired behavior.
  • This will continue until everyone at the table given one behavior to change and one benefit.
  • Then the first person will give another benefit of changing their desired behavior “When I get better at making cold calls, then I will make start making calls to C-Level decision makers.”
  • Each person at the table will then give an additional benefit of changing their desired behavior.
  • Continue for 6-8 rounds (giving 6-8 benefits of changing their 1 desired behavior).
  • At the end, the group discusses what they have learned and their reactions to this exercise.

What to Expect?

You will begin to see the value of making this change or you will start to feel like you are just making stuff up because you are running out of benefits.  If you find the benefits are minimal, keep searching for the one that gives the biggest bang for the buck.

Now What?

If you start feeling inspired, emotional, or motivated to make the change at the end of stating benefits….  then get after it because it matters to you!

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