To err is human, to knock it off is divine.
We all have habits that hold us back in the workplace because they make it difficult for colleagues to respect us and to enjoy working with us.
You may already be aware of some of your issues. (Two of mine are avoiding necessary conflict and talking over people.) But you may have no idea how problematic these behaviors are for your colleagues.
Because Behavior Change Groups (BCGs) provide a repeated reality check from people you encounter many times a week, they can benefit everyone in the company in big ways.
By the time Dr. Mark Goulston joined the Ferrazzi Greenlight team early last year, I had made good progress on my habit of running away from conflict.
Mark, who wrote the book Get Out of Your Own Way at Work, immediately delivered a new personal goal for me. In a staff meeting held over dinner at my home in the Hollywood Hills, he explained that, like a lot of founders of small companies, Keith Ferrazzi can be impatient.
When a supervisor or head of a company talks over people inside the firm, it can make them feel frustrated and sometimes devalued — like they're getting run over.
Now I'm a very caring individual. I pride myself on creating a company where employees are excited to wake up and come to work. And I know that if employees pick up on the fact that their CEO considers them precious cargo, they make better decisions.
In the days and months that followed, I became hugely grateful for Mark's insight.
Using score cards, the folks in my BCG recorded my progress as I unlearned the habit of talking over people. In the end, by directly addressing my unhelpful behavior, I grew as a manager and gave others in the company the space they needed to become more self-sufficient.
And, get this: Because of changes in my behavior, I have in one year reduced by one-third the time I need to spend in Ferrazzi Greenlight's consulting and professional development business. And in that same timeframe, that same arm of Ferrazzi Greenlight has landed twice as much business — and the numbers in Ferrazzi Greenlight's employee-satisfaction survey have risen by 35 percent.
CEOs have had accountability-enhancing tools like BCGs in their bag of tricks for years. Ferrazzi Greenlight has brought the process inside client companies, with results that speak for themselves. One large company, which had been losing its top performers, holds the BCG up as the main reason it was able to reduce its employee turnover rate by 33 percent in one year; the owner of a smaller firm says using this methodology allowed him, in five years' time, to cut in half the time he spends at work while bringing in 10 times more business.
To be sure, BCGs identify both personal goals — usually of your own choosing — and business goals.
You too can use BCGs to put the kibosh on bad habits displayed inside your company — and to get proposed strategies out of the binders and into play!
I recommend signing up four or five colleagues to keep tabs on your behavior over at least six months — the time it usually takes to make healthier behavior stick.
A BCG does not require a high-priced therapist; all you need is a system that fosters peer-to-peer accountability, and an example can be found free of charge at my website.