Best · Thought Provoking

Step 3 of 8 – Reinforce Positive Behavior (Building a High-Performing Culture)

This may sound too simple, but it works.  All living things respond to outside stimuli.  We move away from pain.  When that stimuli is positive, it causes us to continue doing whatever it was that caused the positive action.  We see it with our pets.  We see it with our children.  We see it with our spouses.  We see it when we reward anybody for doing a good job.  When building a high-performing culture, one of the main goals is to make the new behaviors triumph over the old, habitual behaviours.  When there is no followup to an initial roll-out of a plan, we have all seen what the results are.  Hospitals (and other organizations) are littered with failed, half-hearted attempts to institute a new model, a different mindset, a modern approach to something.  But most champions of the new-and-improved program do not understand that nothing of value becomes ingrained into our being by a one-hour, or  one-day, or even one-week training session, followed by a bunch of posters and a few slogans.  The messages must be actively reinforced by everyone to each other.

This doesn’t just mean that the champion of the program is the only one walking around leading cheers and checking for understanding and follow through.  It means that all people at every level of the organization (or department) are equally responsible for holding both themselves and each other accountable for adherence to the principles and behaviours of the new, high-performing culture to which we aspire.   It can become like a game, with all team players gently cajoling each other when an old attitude is exposed, or when an opportunity for improvement is missed.  The lowest ranking people are given permission to call out the highest ranking (gently) when culture-related issues are noted.  All of us become the enforcers for every one of us.

Patrick Lynch