Category Archives: Motivation Skills

Connecting Values to Behavior in the Interview

“We just had our annual planning meeting,” Kelly explained. “We talked about our core values as a company, and wanted to find a way to integrate that intention into our interview process when we recruit new people into our company. But how do you interview for values? You can’t just ask someone, if they have integrity.”

“You can interview for anything that you can connect to behavior,” I replied. “That goes for any critical role requirement. Connect it to behavior and the questions will follow.”

“Okay, integrity,” Kelly challenged.

“Here’s the magic question. How does a person, who has integrity behave? Then ask about a circumstance where you might see that behavior?

  • Tell me about a time when (my favorite lead in) you were working on a project, where something happened, that wasn’t supposed to happen, and you were the only one who knew about it.?
  • Tell me about a time when, you found out that someone took a shortcut on a project that had an impact on quality, but you were the only one who knew about it?
  • Tell me about a time when, you were working on a project, and someone confided in you about a quality standard or safety standard that everyone else had overlooked, and now, the two of you were the only ones who knew about it?
  • Tell me about a time when, you were in charge of quality control on a project, and in the final audit, you discovered something wrong, and it took significant re-work and expense to fix.

“Once the candidate has identified a possible circumstance, then ask about the behaviors connected with integrity.

  • What was the project?
  • How long was the project?
  • Who was on the project team?
  • What was your role on the project?
  • What went wrong on the project?
  • How did you discover it?
  • How were you the only one who knew about it?
  • What impact did the hidden problem have on the project?
  • What did you do? Who did you talk to? What did you say?
  • How was the problem resolved?
  • What was the impact of the re-work required in costs, materials and time?
  • Tell me about another time when you discovered something wrong and you were the only one who knew about it?

“Would it be okay to ask about personal dilemmas, secrets and betrayals?” Kelly asked.

“Everybody has personal drama. I prefer to stick with work examples. It’s all about the work.”

More examples in my book, Hiring Talent. Hiring guru, Barry Shamis also discusses in his book Hiring 3.0.

But, I Give Them Feedback?

“But, I give them feedback,” protested Tyler. “They know how to do it right. Why won’t they just do it the way they are supposed to?”

“You want your team members to work the line in a specific sequence in a specific way?” I replied. “You are looking for very specific behaviors?” Tyler nodded his head in agreement.

“When they do it wrong, do you pay attention to them?” I asked.

“Of course. I am usually right on it,” Tyler replied.

“And when they do it right, are you right on it?”

“Well, when they do it right, they just do it right. When they do it right, I don’t yell at them.”

“Tyler, to get desired behaviors, you have to reinforce those behaviors in a positive way. Yelling at people for doing something wrong doesn’t teach them to do it right. Yelling just creates avoidance from doing it wrong. That avoidance behavior can by very erratic and unpredictable. They don’t know whether to scream or eat a banana.

“On the other hand, if you positively reinforce desired behavior, it becomes repeated and predictable.

“So, Tyler, you tell me. What has more value, erratic avoidance behavior or positively reinforced predictable behavior?”
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Orientation for our online program Hiring Talent kicked off last Friday. There is still time to join. Registration is now open. Follow this link for more information. Hiring Talent – 2013.

Understanding Value for the Work

“I understand that it would be helpful to know about Julio’s value system,” Nelson pushed back. “But what am I supposed to ask him. Are you honest? Do you have integrity?

“My guess is that he would say, yes. Yes and no questions seldom give us much information that’s really useful. And remember, this would be most helpful if it’s about the work he is doing.”

Nelson was still puzzled. “I am supposed to ask him how he values the work?”

“He won’t understand the question if you ask it that way. Try these questions.

  • Before we ship this product to the customer, what is the most important thing we have to remember?
  • When the customer receives this product, what is the most important thing they look for?
  • When we show up at the customer’s location, what do you think the customer expects from us?
  • Before we leave a customer location, what is the most important thing we have to remember?
  • When you look around at your team mates, thinking about their work, what do you find most helpful to you?
  • What do you look for in a new person joining the team?

“All these questions will give you insight into Julio’s value system related to the work.”

Fear and Hesitation

“When we finish the project, the new territory should be ours,” Lucy started. “The competitors will think twice about ignoring our expertise. The client should have a new-found respect for us.”

“Not bad, for starters,” I responded. “Try something different. Pretend the project is already finished. Close your eyes and visualize that we are one day beyond the closing date. Now open your eyes and describe it again.”

It took Lucy a moment to sink in. I could see her eyes blink hard as she moved into the future. “We have finished the project and the new territory is ours. The competitors cannot ignore our expertise in this marketplace. The client has a new-found respect for us.”

“What is different when you talk like that?”

“When I put myself in the future, all the problems that get in the way and slow us down are gone. All of the hurdles have vanished.”

The power of visualization, to a real time in the future, works to conquer more than problems. It conquers the fear and hesitation of moving forward.

Still Accountable for the Result

“You’ve talked about this before, but I want to make sure I understand it. We need to get 30 units out of this team every day, 15 in the morning and 15 in the afternoon. Right now, if they don’t make it, as their Manager, I get pissed. If it happens two days in a row, double-pissed,” Vicki stated flatly.

“And if that’s the way you see it, then, your system will create behaviors that don’t help,” I replied. “Thirty units a day is your goal. You are responsible for the results from your team. If I hold your team accountable for doing their best and I hold you, as their Manager, accountable for the results, what changes?”

“But what if they show up late for work, or take too many breaks, or slow walk the line? That’s not my fault. If they do that and I don’t reach my goal, how is that my fault?”

“You are still fighting it,” I responded. “If I hold you, as the Manager, accountable for the results of your team, what changes?”

Vicki was stumped. She drew a deep breath. “If you are going to hold me accountable, then I have to make sure my team all shows up for work. I have eight people and with all the cutbacks, it takes full effort to reach my goal.”

“And, what if, one day, your most valuable team member is out sick, truly sick, and I hold you accountable for the results from your team?”

“But if someone gets sick, it’s not my fault!”

“It is not your fault that someone got sick, but I will still hold you accountable for the results from the team. What has to change?”

It’s the Manager, It’s Always the Manager

“They know I will be upset and I will want to know why they failed to produce the desired result, I guess,” Vicki winced. “If I don’t find out about an order that’s late, I can’t get angry. At least until the customer calls. That’s when emotions flare up.”

“And how many of your customers don’t call when you are late?” I asked. “If you are using your customer as your QC system, is that where you really want to be?”

“I know, I know,” Vicki replied.

“So when you hold your team accountable for your result, as a system, it creates behavior that is not ideal. You don’t truly find out about production pacing until there is a visible breakdown. What can you shift to make that change?”

“You are suggesting that I am the one accountable for the team’s results?”

“I think I am making more than a suggestion.”

Violating the Contract

“I know I have heard that before,” Vicki replied. “As the manager, it’s not my job to motivate, I am supposed to create an environment. So, what does that mean? We have work to do here.”

“This is all about work,” I replied. “And by work, I mean making decisions and solving problems.”

“But my people know what they have to do, and there aren’t that many decisions to make.”

“Look again,” I encouraged. “Your team is making decisions all the time, if you let them. Most of their decisions fall into two categories, quality and pace.”

Vicki looked puzzled, “What do you mean?”

“How many units are supposed to come off the line by lunch time?” I asked.

“Fifteen,” she replied.

“And so, as the morning goes on, your team is making decisions about how quickly they should go without compromising quality? And if there is a quality issue, they have to solve the problem and make up the pace to reach the goal by noon?”

“Yes.”

“And, what happens if they discover that they can maintain the quality standards, and produce 20 units by noon?” I smiled.

“Well, they would probably knock off at 15, or slow the pace down because the goal was 15.”

“But that would violate the contract,” I prompted.

“The contract?” Vicki repeated.

“The contract to do their best. Part of the contract means if they can complete more than the goal using their assigned resources in the allotted time, they are supposed to tell you, as the manager.

“See,” I continued. “That is why 15 is your goal, not their goal. It is the manager who is responsible for the result. And that is the first thing to understand about creating this environment.”

Not Your Job to Motivate

“It gets back to the contract you have with your team,” I said. “Each team member is responsible for doing their best. That’s it. People have a deep need to do their best, a deep need to contribute, a deep need to work.”

“Then, why do I feel like I spend most of my time trying to motivate my team?” Vicki pondered.

“I don’t know, what do you think?” I replied. “Keep in mind, people behave in accordance with the systems we place them in. It is not your job to motivate. It is your job to create the environment where all the motivation hype is not necessary.”

Bringing Out the Best in People

I trust each of you ate too much turkey over the holiday. Back to work. Today kicks off our last Subject Area of 2010 in our Working Leadership program. Bringing Out the Best in People is based on the book by Aubrey Daniels where he explores the role of positive reinforcement. What gets reinforced gets repeated. In this Subject Area, we will explore the concepts in Aubrey’s book and work through a Field Work assignment to apply those principles. If you would like an Introductory Membership to Working Leadership, follow this link.

Free Introductory Membership to Working Leadership

Interest, Passion and Value

Donna was quiet. “You talk about necessity. It was a volunteer team, so the necessity had to be something inside each of us. To create a new team on my new project, I have to find people who find that same necessity, inside.”

“Okay,” I nodded. “What do you look for?”

“To be on this team, you have to be interested in the work. You have to have a passion for the work,” she replied.

“And what work do we have interest in, as individuals? As a manager, how will you identify the passion we might have for the project?”

Donna was searching. Her eyes moved up and to the left. “I know I have an interest, or passion, for work in which I place a high value. If I don’t place a high value on the work, I will not be interested. I mean, I may show up and slug my way through it, but I will not pursue it, with enthusiasm.”

“Value?” I asked.

“Value. If I see high value, you have my attention.”

“As a manager, how will you see that in another person?”