Behaviour Impact Cycle: Understanding why we behave as we do
What are behavioural drivers for business?
Our behaviour defines us. If we asked you to describe someone’s personality, you may say something like: ‘they are kind, chatty, a bit scatty and disorganised’. The only reason you would be able to say this is because of the things you have either heard or seen the person do, i.e. their behaviour. In business and in every day life, behavioural drivers can be based on results, people, emotions or creativity. Here, we look at optimising your workplace behaviours with the Behaviour Impact Cycle.
How does behaviour impact results?
If you behave a in certain way, you will get one result. Behave in a different way and the result will be different. If you are rude to a friend, they may get upset or angry and that will directly impact the nature of your relationship going forward. If you are kind, there is a fair chance the relationship will be more positive.
No rocket science here.
How can each behaviour serves us?
The bit that you may not be aware of is that each behaviour, even those that have catastrophic results, serves us in some way.
Being rude to a friend may satisfy your need to let them know how stressed and under pressure you are or how much more successful you are than them because you have a big job that makes you so stressed. This is meeting the human need of significance in a negative way.
So, to get a different result, we need to choose a different behaviour and in choosing a different behaviour we need to understand how the current behaviour serves us (remember each and every behaviour makes us feel good in some way). What this allows us to do is ensure that in choosing a new behaviour, we pay attention to meeting the need in a positive way.
How does emotion drive our behaviour?
Another key point that is also less well known is that our behaviour is driven by how we feel. We often think that we have made a logical/rational decision, but this is actually our mind playing tricks on us…we tend to make a decision to behave in a certain way in the emotional part of our brain (the limbic brain) and then apply logic to post-rationalise that behaviour.
As any person with a teenager will tell you, emotions are not that straightforward. You may be outraged by a decision your boss has made, so it would seem obvious that you tell him how you feel and seek to better understand his decision. At the same time, you are fearful of your job and not trusting of the relationship. Combine these two things and you may choose a behaviour that appears on one level to be toeing the line, but on another ‘silently’ letting him know he is wrong. Generally, the impact of this behaviour is not going to be productive.
Can we control how we feel?
Understanding that emotion drives behaviour and behaviour drives results is often where it ends.
People will regularly say: ‘I can’t help what I feel’ or ‘It is not my fault that I feel this way’, but other than in cases of mental illness, that is just not true. We can absolutely control how we feel and, in doing so, directly influence the quality of our lives.
The amazing news is that, if we want to feel different, we can. It takes courage to be honest with ourselves in a way that most haven’t been before and discipline to make the changes. And it means getting to know yourself, the patterns of your inner dialogue and how it influences you every day, to be able to take control. But it is all there for the taking if you are interested in getting a different result.