Before senior executives try to spread best practices, they should use seven techniques to clear out the negative behavior that stands in the way.
February 2014 | byHuggy Rao and Robert I. Sutton
Very, very insightful article and a great read!
Efforts to scale up excellence stall when bad behavior crowds out good. Scaling is one of the toughest challenges that senior leaders face. Executives can always point to places where a company is doing a great job. What drives them, keeps them up at night, and devours their workdays is the difficulty of spreading excellence to more people and more places. This “problem of more” is tough to crack. Scaling requires pressing each person, team, group, division, or organization to change what they believe, feel, or do.
Eliminating destructive behavior and beliefs clears the way for excellence to spread—particularly when these impediments clash with the mind-set that propels your organization’s performance. When it comes to mind-sets, however, one size does not fit all; what is good for another company may be bad for yours.
…Negative actions and beliefs also come in different flavors. Whatever their exact characteristics, bad behavior undermines scaling efforts by introducing confusion, destructive conflict, distrust, and dead ends. To spread and sustain something good, you’ve first got to take out the bad. Seven methods can help leaders who are bent on:“breaking bad.”
Nip it in the bud
Plumbing before poetry Getting people to focus on small, mundane, and gritty details is effective for eliminating negativity
Adequacy before excellence
Use the ‘cool kids’ (and adults) to define and squelch bad behavior: The people you recruit for a scaling effort have a big impact on its success.
Kill the thrill (of bad behavior)
Try time shifting: From current to future selves You can sometimes break bad patterns by getting people to think about who they hope to be, not just who they are
Focus on the best times, the worst times, and the end no matter how good or bad an experience is or how long it lasts, judgments about it are shaped most strongly by the best and worst moments and by how it ended