Priming for Success: A follow up

Last week I wrote about how there are a number of unconscious “primes” that lead some organizations to behave in less than optimal ways. This was evidenced in the Ultimatum game where the neutral group split the money half the time and those “primed” by the subconscious thought of business only spit the money 33% of the time. This week I am sharing some thoughts on how we can begin to “prime” ourselves and our organizations for success.

One process that is suggested by many, is to take a moment at the beginning of the day to get centered and focused on what you want to get done. There are lots of ways to do this. Simply having everyone put down their device and take a deep breath and then commit to being present, will do a lot. Being present and un-distracted can lead to increased productivity.

Another approach is the team huddle. At the beginning of each shift gather your team for a quick, (I recommend standing) meeting. Get centered and then review:

  1. What happened yesterday (what got done, what got blocked)?
  2. What do you plan to do today?
  3. What might get in your way?
  4. Where do you need help?

This can be 5 – 10 minutes a day and can set the table for the day. Joe Tye also adds the idea of a value review. Today we remember the value of responsibility, or kindness, or commitment (insert your own values).

Building the habit of recognizing good behavior can lead to more good behavior. I have seen firms put together inexpensive peer recognition programs that lead to impressive results. I know one collection agency that has a “High Five” program where collectors can nominate others for a high five.  At the end of the period those with the most “high fives” and or the most impressive high fives are given $5.00 gift cards, an extra ½ hour and so on. By recognizing good behavior we are meeting and reinforcing one of our most basic human needs… the need for recognition.

Changing habits is hard, they are subconscious. And yet by replacing them and consciously creating the habits that serve us and our teams we can “Prime” for success.

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