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Meaningful Engagement : Behavior Matters

Trust me - this post is about engagement - stay with me for a minute!

Let me start by saying that I hope you read my post from 8/30/17 - Meaningful Engagement.  If not, I want to invite you to do so by clicking here.

I intentionally subtitled it "focusing on what matters" as I believe too often educators, leaders, and others charged with similar responsibilities for "people care" focus on variety of topics that simply do not matter.

Further, I also believe those same folks make many of their important and/or critical decisions based on metrics or measurements instead of addressing focusing on "what" creates those metrics.

Please do not hear me say that metrics are not important.  In my mind, metrics are "a thing" and not necessarily "the thing."

Please note the diagram below:

This diagram is representative of research conducted by H.W. Heinrich.  The pyramid is structured - from top to bottom - with numbers of 1 - 30 - 300 - 3000.  Heinrich contended that for every (1) critical and measurable failure, there were 30 near misses of that same type, and 300 minor and uncorrected - or - ignored failures.  Further, research told him that at the base of the 1 - 30 - 300 - there were 3000 behaviors that either fostered or led to the the 300 that led to the 30 that allowed the 1 critical and measurable failure to occur.

At the onset, this make sense.  Most, if not all seasoned professionals might agree with his findings. This then begs the question;  With this understanding, on "what" does leadership focus?

My experience is that leadership - in most any organization - focuses on the top of the pyramid.  The focus seems to most always be on the single most critical and measurable failure.  This is true in business as much as it is in education.

I contend - as did Heinrich - that the focus - at the most basic level - needs to be on the 3000 behaviors at the bottom of the pyramid as those 3000 behaviors drive to either success or failure.

Conceptually, if 1) organizational behaviors that generate success are the baseline - and - are non negotiable - organizational expectations for all organizational participants and 2) those expected behaviors are well researched and well thought out, and 3) participants are guided to create success within those expected behaviors,  then the frequency of failure will diminish thus increasing the frequency of success.

So - what is my point?

In my mind "what" matters is behavior.  

Emotionally and physically safe behavior creates engagement.

Engagement drives success!

Lack of engagement drives failure.

Engagement is a result of behavior.

Applicability: This understanding can be applied to a first grade classroom, a front line employee, a middle manager or the CEO of a fortune 500 company.

The key is behavior - because - behavior drives engagement.

The entire focus - by any organization or individual - solely on metrics - without the realization that engagement is created by behavior - and the results of behavior creates metrics - is a fallacy of leadership.

In business - a credit card does not swipe itself - it requires the human behaviors of choice, value assignment, and action. (ENGAGEMENT).

Yes, metrics matter, and, so does engagement.

As always – if you would like to learn more about this topic or book me to speak or with your organization, operators are standing by!

#DocentUS #Engagement #Path2Excellence #Reach2Teach #CategoryCreators


Unknown said…
Ron, I'm enjoying this blog. I have been doing presentations on maximizing student engagement in fine arts, and we think alike in so many ways. But your blog is especially helpful at many levels, including the parallels with education and the corporate world. I'm borrowing some of your analogies (with credit given) for future sessions. I especially like the What, Why, Who aspects of your analysis. I'm also a Simon Sinek and Growth Mindset fan! Keep up the good work. Maybe we can get together for a conversation soon.
morrrgm said…
Thank you! I appreciate the credit. I would love to help you - I am pretty good with fine arts!

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