It doesn’t really matter that you may think someone else’s behaviour is out of the ordinary, to them it is perfectly valid.
What you are trying to ascertain is what influences a particular behaviour.
Remember that the antecedent sets up the circumstances for some sort of behaviour.
The individual has a choice of responses depending on how he or she views the consequences.
The consequences drive how frequently and at what rate a particular behaviour is carried out.
The consequence is what happens to the person carrying out the behaviour once it is completed.
Antecedent: You hear a knock at the door.
Behaviour: You get up and open it.
Consequence: The postman gives you a parcel.
Clearly, if the consequence was ‘the postman hits you in the nose’ you would be less inclined to open the door a second time. In other words, it would affect your behaviour the second and subsequent times.
Antecedent: You just see something fall from your partners pocket.
Behaviour: You walk over to investigate and find your car keys on the floor.
Consequence: You can still drive your car.
Again, if you decide to ignore it or do not walk over to investigate properly you would have lost your keys to the car.
This would have affected your behaviour so that next time you would go over and find out what had fallen on the floor.
You can analyse any behaviour in this manner.
You would thus record the antecedent (sets the scene), the behaviour (performance) and the consequence (positive or negative re-inforcer or punishment or penalty)
The main idea is to try to ascertain which consequence will drive the desired behaviour. You do have to be a little careful here.
If the person is incapable of carrying out the behaviour it may not be through a lack of desire but from a lack of ability.
That is, is training required?
Have they been trained in the past but are too proud to admit they have forgotten?
When was the last time they carried out this task?
Of course, knowing that the person is competent to carry out the behaviour, whilst observing a poor performance in practice, is almost certainly a motivation issue.
It is generally considered that if the person is unable to carry out the required behaviour under the threat of imminent death then it is a training issue!
However, it is clearly not practical to use this sort of analysis.
We know that if a behaviour is happening it must be being reinforced, either in a:
Positive way: Get something you want, or a Negative way: Avoid something you don’t want
Let us look at the another example. This is looked at from the point of view of the person carrying out the behaviour and how they might think as opposed to how you would react under the same circumstances.
Your car tyres need replacing will you do it or not?
We want the desirable behaviour to be ‘go to a garage and have your tyres replaced’.
Conversely, the behaviour we don’t want is ‘delay replacing the tyres’.
Let’s take the desired behaviour first.
‘Go to a garage and have your tyres replaced.’
The letters in brackets will be explained below.
Let’s take the poor behaviour second.
‘Delay replacing the tyres.’
This simple example indicates that it is logical to make an effort to replace your tyres in order to avoid the possibility of an accident. However, some people would still find circumstances (antecedents) that would encourage them to delay the tyre change.
Again, the presence of the antecedents create a choice which you take based upon you own assessment of the consequences.
The letters in brackets refer to either:
P = positive consequence for the person as they see it (that is, something they want)
N = negative consequence for the person as they see it (that is, something they don’t want)
I = immediate impact
F = future impact
U = uncertain to occur (less probable)
C = certain to occur (greater probability)
A strong part of motivation is trust, which is dealt with in more detail in (see The Complete Leadership package).
If you tell people they will gain in some fashion if they exhibit a particular behaviour and they don’t then your credibility will drop.
Getting people to ‘behave’ in the right manner is not just a matter of communication as too much can confuse and irritate, especially if your communication is not reflected in your actions.
There are many reasons for poor performance:
There will be many more big and small all contributing to poor performance.
All of these can create anxiety and stress.
People will react differently to exactly the same situations.
Where ever you go you will find a mixture of highly motivated individuals and very poorly motivated people.
However, as a manager you can make the situation far better or far worse if you are not aware of your influence on others.
There are many ways in which your actions can influence motivation and improve it.
There will be many more ways discussed here.
Eventually, no matter how hard you try some people will not shift from their current poor behaviour.
Even when you have tried all of the coaching techniques (see Coaching – part 1).
In this case, you could try moving them to another position or getting rid of them.
Some people will go of their own accord if not satisfied with the situation.
If you can convince people that as the organisation improves they will benefit then motivation will naturally increase.